Christian Apologetics

 

Christian Apologetics

Last Updated: 03/17/2009 04:43 PM

 

3 Key Scriptures attesting to our need to make a defense concerning our faith:

 

Jude 1:3 Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.

 

1 Peter 3:15  "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer* to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,"

 

2 Timothy 2:15,16 [15] Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. [16] Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.

 

2 Peter 3:16-18   [16] He (Paul) writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. [17] Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. [18] But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

 

*apologia, (ap-ol-og-ee'-ah); from the same as a plea ("apology"):–answer (for self), clearing of self, defense. apologeomai, (ap-ol-og-eh'-om-ahee):  to give an account (legal plea) of oneself, i.e. exculpate (self):–answer (for self), make defense, excuse (self), speak for self, to give a reason.

 

The basic question we are trying to answer, either for the agnostic, atheist, or unrepentant Christian, is twofold:

 

Why Should I Believe in God and abide in His Word, the Bible?

 

I – Philosophy

A- Apologetics covers:

1-       Philosophical reasoning and argumentation

2-       Theological correctness

3-       Scientific falsified truths

4-       Historical factual proofs

B- Within these there are Christian Evidences we can consider to support our proposition.

    1- Each field of apologetics examines how to best gather evidence within that field

    2- Each field has a unique line of reasoning; an approach to finding truth.

                a- Philosophy uses Critical and logical thinking to escape from assumptions and

                      fallacy.

                b- Theology uses hermeneutics and critical thinking to determine truth from the Bible.

                c- Science uses the scientific method to falsify hypotheses.

                d- History uses archaeology and the acid test to corroborate historical data and findings.

C- Proposition to defend: If it is true that Christianity is the only way our Creator has chosen to restore our relationship to Him as revealed in the Bible, then we must give our whole lives to Him. If it is false, then we are left to existentialism, which means that every man is left to determine what is right for himself.

D- General facts about the Bible

    1- Written in 1600 years by 40 men from all walks of life.

    2- 66 books that agree with each other on every aspect of God's personality, eternal

        consequences, history, science, geography, astronomy, prophecy, and godly thinking.

    3- The only book that speaks authoritatively about Heaven, Hell, God, Jesus and

        the Church.

    4- It is a historical and factual book, not promoting itself or coming across as

        mythology or fantasy.

 

II- Science and the Bible

            A- The Limits of Science

                    1- It is limited to the five senses.

                    2- The Scientific method can only apply to experiments able to be reproduced in a lab.

                    3- Science does not create, it discovers, i.e., it perceives what is already there.

            B- Critical and logical thinking

                    1- Scientism:

                            a- When philosophy overcomes reason and logic.

                                *- Truth becomes dictated by the majority.

                            b- Scientists are human too!

                                *- Fraud, like the Piltdown man and ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny show

                                                that scientists can fall prey to biased opinions.

                                *- They look toward science to establish moral and ethical convictions.

                                *- Social Darwinism has become the excuse to personal accountability.

                            c- True science and true Bible go hand in hand.

                    2- Science is limited to proving what can be perceived with the senses.

                    3- Humans do not have the capacity to create, but to reason, analyze and synthesize

                            the information that is already there.

                            a- Our inventions are but reflections of our capacity to reason from what we see in our

                                environment.

                            b- There is nothing new under the sun.  Ecclesiastes 1:9,10.

            C- The Law of Causality (cause and effect).

                    1- It leads us to reason that if we are here (effect), there must have been someone who made

                                all of this happen (effect). Hebrews 3:4  "For every house is built by someone, but

                                God is the builder of everything."

                    2- This leads us to the argument of design in everything that we see in nature. Ex.-The camera

                            was designed after the design in the human eye.

            D- Scientific evidences in the Bible

                    1- How to determine scientific evidence from the Scriptures.

                    2- The Biblical writers catalog a list of concepts and principles yet unknown to the mind of

                            man at that time.

                    3- As we have delved into the process of the uncovering of our world generated by the Age of

                            Reason, man has gained some minute insight into his physical world.

            E- Examples of Scientific Evidences in the Bible

                    1- II Law of Thermodynamics (Romans 8:20-22)  "Bondage to decay…"

                    2- Law of Biogenesis (Genesis 1:21-24)  kind is Hebrew: miyn  (meen): a sort, species.

                    3- Oceanography (Psalm 18:15) speaks of the valleys of the sea.

                    4- Dinosaurs (fossils) (Job 40:15-22) Behemoth is Hebrew for a large aquatic quadruped.

                    5- Spherical shape of the Earth (Isaiah 40:22)  khug is Hebrew for sphere or circle.

                    6- Medical Facts of circumcision in Leviticus 12:3, shows that circumcision was done in the

                            eighth day because on that day the newborn shows an exponential increase in the clotting

                            factor prothrombin, due to mass productions of vitamin K in the body.

                    7- Genesis supports the cataclysmic model that systematically explains the 17 major

                            topographical and geological features our planet has due to Noah’s flood.

 

III- Prophecy

            A- Important discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls prove the prophecies written before their      

                    fulfillment.

            B- Dates earliest manuscript to 90 A.D. (fragments of the Gospel of John.)

            C- Very detailed prophecies about the Messiah and God's Kingdom hundreds of years before

                    fulfillment

            D- About 1300 prophecies, all fulfilled except one: the return of our Lord Jesus.

            E- Isaiah 41:22-24 [22] "Bring in your idols to tell us what is going to happen. Tell us what the former things were, so that we may consider them and know their final outcome. Or declare to us the things to come, [23] tell us what the future holds, so we may know that you are gods. Do something, whether good or bad, so that we will be dismayed and filled with fear. [24] But you are less than nothing and your works are utterly worthless; he who chooses you is detestable.”

      F- The Resurrection of Jesus is by far the single largest proof that He is God and that His Word is true: 1 Co. 15:13-15  [13] If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. [14] And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. [15] More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised.

 

IV- Historical Evidences

            A- The Bible passes the acid test of history with flying colors.  This test is the fact that the people

                    who were around to denounce the things written in the New Testament were still alive when

                    numerous copies of these documents were in circulation.

            B- Witnesses

                    1- Hostile

                            a- Jewish– Flavius Josephus, Talmud

                            b- Ancient Pagan– Tacitus, Pliny

                            c- Modern Atheists– Will Durant, H.G. Wells

                            d- Hostile witnesses offer excellent proof for Jesus and His miracles & resurrection.

                    2- Christian Witnesses

                            a- 1st century Christians multiplied the writings, they didn't discard them

                            b- Apostolic Writings were all in accord with each other about factual events.

                            c- The Apostolic Fathers (disciples who sat at the Apostle's feet) writings were also in

                                accord.

            C- Manuscript Evidences

                    1- Transmission of the Greek New Testament

                    2- Canonization of the New Testament and Translation Issues

                    3- Dead Sea Scrolls support the accuracy of the Bible we have today.

                    4- 1400 New Testament Manuscripts indicating accuracy and content of source material.

                    5- The Kabbalah and the Jewish Pseudepigrapha offer hostile witness.

                    6- The Talmud also offers hostile witness.

 

V- Jesus

            A- Lord? Liar? Lunatic?

            B- Miracles are presented in historical perspective, not mythical.

            C- History clarifies the pain and death of Jesus upon His crucifixion.

            D- Jesus' Resurrection also treated as a historical fact.

                    1- Empty tomb indicates bodily disappearance, not stolen body.

                    2- Recorded appearances of Him and other resurrected people indicate witness to resurrection.

                    3- Some of the people involved in His crucifixion were converted, having witnessed His death

                            first.

                    4- Roman government wanted his death certified and went to great lengths to keep Christianity

                            dead.

 

VI-The Gospel-God's Love for You

            A- The mission of Jesus was to reconcile man to God. John 3:16

            B- Sin , evil and disorder proves the existence of Goodness, righteousness and order.

            C- The Resurrection shows the existence of eternity and the finiteness of physical life.

            D- Jesus came to educate us about the existence of our soul, our eternal destiny and our need for God's Spirit and sustenance.

            E- The Gospel (good news): 1 Co 15:1-5

                    1- Man, because of sin, is destined to eternal punishment.  Romans 3:9-18; 6:23

                    2- Jesus, through His death, burial and resurrection, paid the price for us to be set free.

                    3- We must obey the gospel to have eternal life.  1 Peter 4:17; 2 Thess. 1:8

                    4- How do you obey the gospel (i.e. Jesus' death, burial and resurrection)? Romans 6:1-9

 

VII- Making Jesus our Lord

            A- What does it take to be a disciple?

                    1- Abiding in His Word  John 8:30,31

                    2- Having the BE attitudes  Matthew 5, 6 & 7

                            a- Noble and good heart  1 Timothy 1:5

                            b- Good soil Luke 8:15

                    3- Perseverance  1 Timothy 4:16; Hebrews 10:36; James 1:12

            B- Listening to the Lord  Matthew 7:21-27

                    1- The deceitful heart and the entangling sin  Jeremiah 17:9,10

                    2- Godly fulfillment of God-given desires  John 9:31; Titus 2:11,12

            C- The hope of living forever in our Heavenly Home.  John 14:2-4

                    1- The sacrifice of Jesus shows us the significance of our spiritual existence

                    2- Only a willingness to commit to His true expression of love can bring us comprehensive

                            fulfillment to our every need.

                    3- His truth truly sets us free!  John 8:31,32

            D- Spreading the Good News!

                    1- Shining our lights without hindrance.  Matthew 5:14-16

                            a-Convicting or convincing by loving

                            b-Actions speak louder than words

                    2- Learning to be refreshed by first refreshing others.

                    3- Being a servant in our own homes first!

                    4- The Great Commission begins at home  Matthew 28:19-20

                            a- We can't live double lives  James 1:6-8; James 4:8

                            b- Effective witnessing comes by being compelled by love  2 Co 5:14-21

                            c- When we lift up Jesus in our life (lift up the cross) He will draw people unto himself.

                                *- God will draw people to Him. (His light will shine when we let the Spirit lead us)

                                *-We won't get in His way. (By denying ourselves, dying to self and exalting Him)

                                *- We will focus on helping, not condemning (We surrender ourselves)

                                                Bear their wounds so they may be healed.

 

Equip Yourself!!

 

For the Apologetics Press Catalogs and Reason & Revelation subscription call (800) 234-8558

 

Roger E. Dickson’s Fall of Unbelief or Dawn of Belief  is by far the most complete resource for Christian Apologetics that I have found.

 

Josh McDowell’s Evidence That Demands a Verdict is also a good alternative or supplement.

 

To order a special book on evidences or any topic in this outline not found in the Apologetics Press catalog try Sunset Bookstore in Lubbock, TX (800) 221-9065

 

If you are looking for a book or document and are not able to locate it, or for further help on the matter contact Bob Carr, Roger Wine or Pedro Gelabert.

 

May God bless you in your preparation for relaying the message!