8 Ways You’re Doing Apologetics Wrong

From Caleb,

As I look around, I have come to realize a number of things Christians need to stop doing when it comes to apologetics. I am not perfect and boy-oh-boy do I mess these up, but my hope is that by the end of the article all of us will have realized an area we can improve our apologetic and ultimately our walk with Christ.

1.) You’re ONLY Doing Apologetics

Apologetics is great, but without sharing the Gospel it is useless.

The only productive thing that can be accomplished is debating if you’re well versed in apologetics but not sharing your faith. The apologetic information of the Christian has the power that it does because of the message of Jesus Christ. It has nothing to do with building strong, awesome arguments, but it has everything to do with the love of Jesus and his atonement for our sins on the cross.

2.) You Don’t Love the People You’re Talking To

Like #1 said, apologetics has everything to do with the love of Christ. Sometimes, utilizing apologetics can hurt, confuse, or offend the person that you’re talking to. As Christians, we know that what we are telling them is true, but if there is no love in the message, we will fail to communicate effectively. All love without truth is hypocrisy, and all truth with no love is brutality. The people you are talking to will sense this, and it will immediately become a turn-off that will turn their listening ears off and could potentially harden their hearts.

3.) You Use It to Boost Your Pride

This is a major no-go from God in everything, not just apologetics. In reality, using apologetics and sharing the Gospel is all about laying your pride aside and sharing the truth in love no matter what the cost is to you whether that’s losing your job, friends, possessions, or status. Plain and simple.

4.) You Don’t Use It to Share the Gospel

Using apologetics is great. Paul himself used as he said he reasoned in the Temple with the elders; however, Paul wasn’t reasoning with them simply for the sake of doing so or passing the time. He did it so that he could share the Gospel and communicate the Gospel more effectively with those around him. That is the purpose of apologetics; it was meant to go hand-in-hand with evangelism.

5.) You Don’t Use It

This should be impossible. I almost shy away from saying apologetics because to me it simply means you understand and have good reason to believe what you do. If you don’t have good reason to believe something, why on earth even bother believing it? It is impossible to not use apologetics in this day and age when sharing the Gospel because they should just blend together.

6.) You Don’t Think It’s For You

Allow me to blunt, so strap on you big boy/girl pants: If you do not think that apologetics is “for you” then you’re clearly not sharing the Gospel with people or interacting with unsaved people at all. If you are interacted with unsaved people and you’ve never had to use some sort of apologetics tactics or knowledge, you’re probably not taking your conversations with them past “Hi, how are ya?” These days you cannot avoid it, and if you are, this should raise serious concerns about how you’re practicing evangelism to the rest of the world around you.

7.) You Think It’s An Argument

If you’re in a conversation and are using apologetics, but you think it’s a argument, then you’re probably doing #1 incorrect as well. Using apologetics in a conversation is not something that you win or lose at; it’s just incorporating it into your conversations. We should not be aiming to beat another person down or to “win”; our aim should be sharing the Good News with them! If your aim is off, that means you’re striking out on #1 and #4.

8.) You Don’t Practice Conversation

Having all that information floating around in your head is like having an open fire hydrant: water is flowing with no direction. Without practicing these conversations in your mind, it’s impossible to direct, channel, and refine the information we are using in our conversations. Practicing using the information through imaginary conversations in your mind is like putting a fire hose on the fire hydrant: it allows you to pin point precisely how you want and would use the information you know in a real life conversation.

Why Christian Doctrine and Evolution Conflict

As scientific research continues to grow and technology gets more advanced, the more Christianity is validated. This is found in the extreme complexity and fine tuning of life in the universe. With this being the case, is it possible that someday the theory of evolution and Christianity will merge together because of overwhelming scientific research? No, it won’t.

I want to start by making a clarification. There are two kinds of evolution: micro- and macro-. In micro-evolution, slight adjustments are made to a species that enhance its ability to survive in a given environment. These are also called adaptations. Macro-evolution, on the other hand, is when changes in a species lead it entirely change species. Micro-evolution occurs for certain, this is easily observable in nature. Examples of micro-evolution include, bacteria becoming resistant to a drug and Darwin’sĀ Finches. There is poor evidence (none) for macro-evolution in nature, for more on this check out my podcast with Sean McDowell; however, in this blog, that’s not where I want to focus. I want to focus on why the theory can be harmful to the doctrine of people following God if they chose to believe it.

Reality is the word theory has become thrown around. Both evolution and gravity are theories; however, there is clearly not as much evidence to support the first as there is gravity. Also, if (macro-)evolution was true, why do so many people doubt evolutionary theory unlike gravity. There is clearly difference in the significance of the term theory among the scientific community. Just food for thought.

Could God have used Evolution?

People have proposed the thought, “Why must they be separate? Couldn’t God have made all creatures through that process?” Why yes, he very possibly could have. He’s God; he can do it however he wants. Although, I’ll tell you why I have strong reason to believe that he didn’t.

The fossil record shows that the population of animals on the earth looks more like an inverted pyramid: starting at the top there is a high population, and it decreases as you move down the pyramid. However, other people propose that there was one single organism and then all other organisms came from that. This is not what the fossil record shows. With the evidence that there were many more species and then it got smaller, it supports God creating all the animals on the earth like it’s said in Genesis.

This is another reason I think that God didn’t use evolution. Evolution steals glory right away from God; it diminishes the creativity of God. It doesn’t make sense as to why Christ would use a scientific process to create life, when he could further display his glory by individually crafting each unique animal. This appears to be counter intuitive of how Christ does things throughout the course of the Bible. God is not random, and he does nothing blind; however, evolution is blind. On top of that, unlike the rest of creation, mankind was created in the image of God and we have souls: we are different from all other creatures in this regard.

If we were to hold true to the theory, we would be considered no different than all other animals on the planet. There would be nothing unique about us, nothing worth saving. This directly conflicts with basic doctrine from the Bible.

Do Denominations Invalidate Christianity?

I could wish that no definitions had ever been felt to be necessary; and, still more, that none had been allowed to make divisions between churches.

~ C.S. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer

From Caleb,

First, I want to clear something up. It has too long been an issue among Christians about which denomination you follow. Too many people think they go to “the best” denomination church, and sorry to be blunt, but I am sick and tired of it. Whether you attend a church that is Presbyterian, Lutheran, Baptist, Nazarene, Catholic, or any other, you’re not anymore of a Christian than the next guy that goes to a different denomination church.

What is important is what you think about who Jesus is and the things that he did. There is no one “right” or “better” denomination. We are THE CHURCH; we are all followers of Christ. Reality is, no matter which kind of church you attend, there are people who go every single Sunday that could be dying and going to hell.

There are people who go to Lutheran churches that aren’t actually saved.
There are people who go to Presbyterian churches that aren’t actually saved.
There are people who go to Nazarene churches that aren’t actually saved. There are people who go to Baptist churches that aren’t actually saved.
There are people who go to Catholic churches that aren’t actually saved.

Attending a specific denomination of church doesn’t save you, following Christ wholeheartedly and trusting in his sacrifice does. When these divides go up based on “denomination,” the Church as a whole is being weakened. From the outside looking in, this conflict within God’s people makes us look foolish to non-believers.

Parents and older believers, listen up! We must stop indirectly creating this mindset in the minds of young believers through how we speak about other churches. Making stereotypical jokes, speaking bad of another church, or simply vocalizing assumptions we have about a particular church based on their denomination further encourages this mindset among other believers. It must be stopped for the sake of uniting the church in the future.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, the answer is no: Christianity cannot be invalidated simply because there are many different denominations. The truth is The Church is all of the people that love Christ and believe that they have received salvation by grace through faith and because of that, repent and turn from their sins. Furthermore, the Early Church differences in many denominations are what I would like to call “Nonessential pieces of Doctrine”, these are things that even though they are slightly doctrinally different, they are not a deterrent to the truth of the Church. Ultimately they have no bearing when it comes to trusting in salvation from Jesus by grace and through faith.

How “Creed II” and Philippians 3:8 Connect

“He’s got nothing to lose! As a fighter, when you got nothing to lose you’re dangerous!”

~ Rocky Balboa, Creed 2

From Caleb,

I want to take a second not to answer a question, but rather to share something that has been on my heart recently. I hope this challenges you, spurs you on in your faith, and encourages you to share about the goodness of faith in Jesus Christ and make more disciples.

In the movie Creed II, Adonis Creed is the son of former fighter Apollo Creed, whom Ivan Drago killed in Rocky IV. Ivan Drago’s son, Victor Drago, comes to America from Russia to fight Adonis. This was such a big deal because Victor’s father had killed Apollo Creed in a fight years ago.

Rocky, former fighter and trainer to Adonis Creed, knew that in his young ambitious ways, Adonis will jump on the fight, even though Rocky knew it wasn’t the wisest decision. Rocky warned Adonis by reminding him that Victor had nothing to lose, and because of that he was a dangerous fighter. Adonis was angered by Rocky telling him this, because he implied that Adonis wasn’t a dangerous fighter. This scene in a way rocked me.

As followers of Christ we must identify ENTIRELY with Christ; He IS our identity.

It really got me thinking: it’s the same way with Christians and following Christ. Jesus called anyone who wanted to be a one of his followers to give away all that he had and follow him (Luke 18:22). We need to be ready to sacrifice everything we have because this life we live isn’t ours. As followers of Christ we must identify ENTIRELY with Christ; He IS our identity.

We Should Fear Nothing

Christ is our identity; when we allow that to fuel us, we will fear nothing. When he is our complete identity, we have all that we need and ever will need. Accepting this, cherishing this, and making this your identity is the exact thing Christ calls us to do. We are his, and just as Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

When we accept and live in this true identity as Christ followers, we are “dangerous” to the world around us, because then we will have nothing to lose; we have all that we need. Then, we will truly able to make an impact and be effective in evangelism. This is how Christ designed it to be; however, sometimes we get distracted and manipulated by the world into thinking that we have something to lose.

The world wants you to think that you have so much to lose: your family, your friends, your possessions, your money, your job, or even your life. God tells that all the world has to offer is worthless compared to knowing Christ and serving in his mission (Philippians 3:7-8). But again, the world wants to convince us otherwise. When we accept the truth that when we find our true identity in Christ we have nothing to lose, we are dangerous to the Kingdom of Darkness. But what happens when we start to believe we have something to lose?

What’s the result of thinking we have something to lose?

When Christians think they have something to lose, we end up losing sight of Christ’s mission. We lose our heart for lost people and for the mission of reaching the nations. To those around us we appear as just an ordinary Joe-shmoe; we lose the fire that obviously marks us as a follower of Christ.

To be dangerous for the Kingdom of God we must remember we have nothing to lose; this world has nothing to offer us. Stay focused, having eternity in mind, so that we can always be ready to share about the goodness of Christ.

Miracles: How do we know Jesus Performed Them?

The Virgin Birth, the Resurrection, the raising of Lazarus, even the Old Testament miracles, all are freely used for religious propaganda, and they are very effective with an audience of unsophisticated and children

~ Richard Dawkins

From Caleb,

Miracles are what make the Gospels not only extraordinary but also cause for rejection by many people. If the Gospels didn’t contain miracles, people have no problem accepting Jesus as a crazy Jewish rabbi with wacked-out teachings. Historians and archaeologists support/validate that Jesus of Nazareth was a real man that walked the earth.

Josephus, who was 1st century Jewish Historian, was one of many historians to validate the life of Jesus. Many times in his writings he mentions Jesus. While there is record of a man named Jesus, people may suggest the fact that it could have simply bee another man that went by the same name; however, this possibility it ruled out when we see how these historians specified the characteristics of Jesus and those who followed him. In these historical documents, most writers consistently talk about Jesus as “The King of the Jews”, or they mention how he gained a great crowd of Jewish followers.

From these sources and evidence within, it can be understood that these historians were writing about the same Jesus from the New Testament in the Bible. Although, despite having these external pieces of evidence, many people will deny the entirety of the Gospels because of the accounts of Jesus performing miracles.

How Do We Defend It

How might you defend the fact that Jesus performed miracles? Often, People won’t deny the fact that he lived, but people will deny the things he did while he lived on earth. Josephus wrote not only about the life of Jesus but also the things that he did. Some speculate that Josephus had his writing edited and changed by a Christian writer after his death, which makes them unreliable; however, his writings have been sifted through by scholars and this is how they have determined the original copy of his writings were reliable. In his original Antiquities of the Jews, Book 18, Chapter 3, Section 3, Josephus wrote this about Jesus:

“a wise man. He was a doer of startling deeds, a teacher of people who receive the truth with pleasure. And he gained a following among many Jews and among many of Greek origin.”

These startling deeds are deeds far beyond what would seem in the natural realm of possibility; this greatly supports the claims of Jesus’s miraculous actions in the New Testament.

Some question the reliability of Josephus’s writings. But another piece of evidence is from the Talmud. It is a collection of Jewish teachings, which briefly documents the nature of Jesus’s actions. The Talmud describes Jesus as a sorcerer who used the magic arts he learned in Egypt. All of these are great pieces of evidence for Jesus performing miracles.

Practical Application

How do you use this knowledge to share the Gospel with people? If someone directly objects, it is easy to simply answer the question with evidence. Although, when in a conversation about things that are doubtful, it is easy to transition and start talking about this topic. You could talk about how incredible it is that the miracles of Jesus seem so far fetched, yet there are even people that back it up. Then behold! The conversation has just begun!