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.

How Does Someone Get Saved?

“You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.”

James 2:19

From Alex,

How does someone get to heaven? What is the requirement for admission into the Streets of Gold? What has to happen in order to bridge the gap between a human and God? Many religions claim to know. Many religions (particularly Islam, Judaism, and Christianity) claim that the relationship between humanity and God has been severed and needs to be reset, but what do they say must take place in order for that to be completed?

See, almost all religion can be summed up in one sentence: humans, through grit, inner-strength, and self-righteousness attempt to earn their way or prove themselves to god (or to gods). This statement, however, stands in shady contrast to the method of salvation found within the Christian Scriptures. Shown numerous times throughout both the Old and New Testament, the way someone goes about mending their relationship with God isn’t by stirring their inner-good-person to follow the rules. The situation described by the Bible is one where all people, everywhere, are absolutely incapable of “earning” anything in the sight of God. Hence, “When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). There are many calls to obey and submit, yes, but is submission and obedience the same as “following the rules” and “sticking to the books”? Not according to the text. The Word describes all people as in a helpless position, in the sense that, no matter how hard someone tries, they cannot do anything to make God love them more or do anything that makes God indebted to them.

Read more

Running To Restoration, Not Away From Fear

“Courage isn’t the absence of fear, it’s just deciding that fear isn’t calling the shots anymore”

~ Bob Goff

From Carly,

Fear.

I realize it’s hard to talk about this topic since most people are afraid of being vulnerable. Maybe they’re afraid of saying something they shouldn’t, something that would make them look broken inside or just different.

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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.

What About Those Who Have Never Heard The Gospel?

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

~ Romans 1:18-20

From Caleb,

Would God really send those who have never heard the Gospel to hell? Let’s talk about it, because this a question that believers and non-believers share alike!

Let’s look at an example…

Hunter: “Do all people really go to hell if they don’t confess Jesus Christ as their Savior?”

Alice: “God makes it pretty clear throughout scripture that all have fallen short of glory and that the wages of sin is death. I would recommend taking a close look at the book of Romans.”

Hunter: “Yeah. I get that. I know all that stuff. But let’s just say, for example, there was a guy on a remote island, and no one knew he was there, so no one could share the Gospel with him. This guy, when he died, would he go to hell?”

Alice: “Sadly, yes. But let me explain why…”

“But let me explain why…”

I’m sure that our friend Alice would answer somewhat along these lines: The truth is yes, and God makes it clear through the apostle Paul why in Romans chapter 1. 

From Romans, we are shown that these people, even though they have never heard about God, have already had the truth and knowledge of God revealed to them through creation by God himself. Because he has so obviously demonstrated himself through everything that exists, God tells us that these people are “without excuse”. 

“For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). This means everyone, no matter the circumstance, is separated from God, and without trusting in Christ to save us from our sins, we will spend eternity separated from him. This even includes the person on the island that has never had the opportunity to hear about Christ.

“Some may think that this is simply a hypothetical situation, its normal, but it’s not, this is real life for 3.14 billion people.”

Some may think that this is simply a hypothetical situation, its normal, but it’s not, this is real life for 3.14 billion people. There are 3.14 billion people that haven’t even heard the name of Jesus, so you need to keep that in mind when answering this question. Most people, when they ask this question are waiting for you to say that they will go to hell, that way they can, essentially, roast you by saying “See! God is an angry, unjust God! How could he call himself good and loving when he does stuff like that!”

Be prepared to answer that response. My reply to that would then simply be that by God doing this, he is able to call himself just and holy. He is just because he puts in place consequences for sin. He is holy because sin cannot exist in his presence. Sin cannot exist in his presence because he is perfect and without fault. He is light, and in him and around him there can be no darkness. However, he has made a way for us to be made right with him. Based on this, you can say that he is both just and good. 

Not only has he made a way for us to be restored back to him, but he has also made it abundantly clear through creation. Because he has made it clear through things such as creation, Paul says these people have no excuse for the sin in their hearts. These people are still guilty of sin, and God cannot be in the presence of sin. As Christians, this knowledge should break our hearts. This should motivate us in our walk to share the Gospel unconditionally with people in our nation and abroad. This is Christ’s grand design!