to Learn Evidences
There are many reasons to learn evidences for Christianity:
The knowledge gives you confidence in the truth of Christianity. Just like knowing 2+2=4, when you are faced with challenges to your belief, you can be confident that there are answers to those challenges and you won’t find yourself questioning if your beliefs are true or not. You may not have an answer for every challenge or question you may be asked, but you can have confidence that answers exist.
This confidence has an impact on your Christian life. You will be more dedicated toward living as a Christian because you will have confidence that it is true. You will have a stronger prayer life because you have confidence that God will hear you. When you know the truths of God and the Bible you will have a greater desire to share these truths with others, and you will have greater confidence in sharing.
Solid reasons help you to face challenges from professors in college and others. As we have seen, there are some professors who openly try to destroy the confidence Christian students have in the Bible and the existence of God. You will also have confidence when challenged by friends and other people you talk with.
Apologetics effectively answers the bad arguments of others and their denials of the truths of Christianity. Good arguments may not convert the person raising the objections but it may bring them one step closer to honestly considering Christianity, and possibly an eventual decision for Christ. This is similar to Greg Koukl’s reference of “putting a stone in their shoe”. You will see some of these arguments later in this guide.
Good apologetic arguments change the perspectives non-Christians have about Christians and Christianity. You will be seen as a very rational clear thinking Christian, which is not the picture most people seem to have of Christians. Atheist Philosopher Thomas Nagle said, “I want atheism to be true and I am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers." Some Christians have said things like, "You just need to have faith". This makes Christians look like they have no valid reasons to believe what they do, like a person thinking that they can accomplish something if they simply "have enough faith, if they only believe enough". To illustrate the problem with this idea, could Shaquille O’Neil ever be a successful professional horse jockey just by having enough faith? It also makes Christianity look weak. After all, if “Just having enough faith” is the best reason we can give a person to consider Christianity, then we must not have much reason at all.
Apologetics contributes to the common good of society. You are able to demonstrate that abortion, homosexuality, embryonic stem cell research, and other cultural issues, are not just a person’s preference. Apologetics can show others how these things negatively impact our society.
It may save someone’s life and possibly their eternity. I wrote earlier about my friend who almost committed suicide. His co-workers shared evidences for the truth of Christianity and the reliability of the Bible. This not only saved his life but changed his eternal destination.
Because God commands it: Let’s look at 1Peter 3:15 again: “Always being prepared to make a defense”. This is not an option. God wants us to not only be confident in what we believe, He also wants us to be able to provide others with reasons to be able to believe what we believe when we are asked or challenged.
"Ricochet Witnessing": This is what Lee Strobel called it in an audio recording I heard. Lee said that when you are giving a person reasons for what you believe, others may be listening but not saying anything and not giving you any indication that they are listening. Lee indicates that you might have an impact on these other people without even knowing it. A great example of this is in the classroom or an area with a number of people. In the classroom, not only can this have an impact on other non-Christian students but also other Christian students who aren’t familiar with the evidences. The information you share may encourage them to investigate what now has been presented as a reasonable belief.
Every person we see, meet, or know will spend an eternity in Heaven or Hell: Probably the most important reason to learn evidences becomes evident after you have developed sufficient confidence in what you believe as a Christian. If what Christianity teaches is true, which I believe is proven beyond a reasonable doubt in this guide, then every person living will pass into an eternity spent in either Heaven or Hell. Do we care more about others and their eternal destination than we care about what others might think of us or our possibly being embarrassed, to share this eternity changing information? Think about your family and friends. Think about them saying to you that it was because of you that they decided to become a Christian.
Remember earlier the quote from CS Lewis on answering bad philosophy?Here is the full quote:
“If all the world were Christian, it might not matter if all the world were uneducated. But, as it is, a cultural life will exist outside the Church whether it exists inside or not. To be ignorant and simple now — not to be able to meet the enemies on their own ground — would be to throw down our weapons, and to betray our uneducated brethren who have, under God, no defense but us against the intellectual attacks of the heathen. Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered.”
And seeing the full quote, the following could be added,
“Good Christian Apologists must exist, if for no other reason, then because far too many anti-Christian people exist who have convincing sounding arguments, and far too many Christians know far too few evidences for why Christianity is true, and are thus unable to share confidently evidences for Christianity or defend it.”
When it comes to being a witness for Christ we don't really have a choice.
Isaiah 43:10 states “You are my witnesses”.
This verse shows that we will be witnesses for Christ. The only thing we get to decide is whether we will be good witnesses or bad witnesses for Him.
What about our character in communicating the truths of Christianity? How do we represent Christ to others? As witnesses for Christ, does the integrity and character of our lives help others to accept Christianity, or does it cause them to reject Christianity? How would you feel if you found out that you were the reason someone rejected Christianity? Are there things about your life which if found out by others might cause them to reject considering Christianity? I mentioned about the few students in the Christian Club of one of the local high schools who were questionable in their character causing another person to comment that everyone in the Christian Club would burn in hell. How would you like that on your conscience?
And remember Gandhi’s comments
“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ”,
“If Christians would really live according to the teachings of Christ, as found in the Bible, all of India would be Christian today.”
What a condemnation of the way many Christians live, and the negative impression they have given non-Christians.
When someone who doesn't have much or any knowledge about Christ finds out that we represent Him, they look at our lives to see what Christ is like. It has been said of the followers of Christ that,
“We may be the only Christ that someone may ever see”
“We may be the only Bible that someone may ever read”
A teacher in a class I took asked a great question, which we all should ask ourselves regularly. The question is:
“Who’s likeness do people see when they look at me?”
Charles Spurgeon said,
“A Christian should be a striking likeness of Christ.”
Charles Spurgeon’s full quote:
You may be the only Jesus someone sees
You May Be the Only Jesus Some People Ever See
What does the Bible say about Christian character?
Christian Character Traits
How God Develops Christian Character
Lastly, there are some Christians who argue against Apologetics – against presenting evidences - because they believe that Apologetics makes faith unnecessary. They see Apologetics eliminating the need for faith since Apologetics answers the challenges to Christianity.
I believe an expression that demonstrates their idea of faith is, ”I believe it; that settles it!” ,communicating that the only thing necessary to justify believing something is the belief it is so. But is this accurate to the Bible’s presentation of faith? Isn’t a phrase like this essentially the same as the phrase we looked at earlier, “You just have to have faith”? It’s as though having faith is what makes the difference, and not what you have that faith in.
Remember the quotes about real 'Faith':
"Faith is a step in the direction the evidence already points."
“Faith is trust in what we have reason to believe”
The proper understanding of faith is not a matter of how much faith you have in something but what you have placed your faith in. It is not faith by itself but the object of that faith. When I think of my wife, I have faith and confidence that she loves me. Do I have this faith because I have convinced myself after 25 years of marriage that she loves me or do I have this faith because I have the evidences of all of the things she has done in 25 years proving that she loves me, even during those times when I didn't deserve her love? Is it only my faith or that she has proven her love for me?
The following is a simple but effective illustration I’ve heard to show the Biblical concept of faith. Suppose you saw a performer pushing a wheelbarrow across a tight-rope above Niagara Falls. You watched the performer repeatedly perform the feat, day after day, never faltering even once. If someone were to ask you if you believed the performer could do it again what would you say? Probably “Yes”, correct?
Now, what if the performer asked you to get into the wheelbarrow and they would push the wheelbarrow with you in it across the tightrope to the other side. Would you do it? If you say "no", you only have a belief that they can do it. You don’t have faith or confidence that they can do it. It is only when you place your full reliance on a person that you have truly put your faith and confidence in their ability to accomplish what they've demonstrated they can do. Remember, it is not your faith that makes the person’s claims possible, it’s what they have proven they can do.
Faith in Jesus Christ is like this. It is not because I've decided to believe in Christ nor how much I believe in Him that justifies my acceptance of him. It is that He has proven himself capable and faithful to do what he has promised. We can have confidence in who He is and what He has claimed because He has proven He is God. How has he done this? By predicting He would die and rise from the dead, then being put to death on the cross and actually rising from the dead three days later. What proves He is God and gives substance and credibility to our faith in Him is that He has actually done what He has claimed.
When we look at the Bible, what example do we see? Did Paul ask people to just have faith in his message or did he use reasons to convince them?
Acts 17:2 And according to Paul's custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures.
Acts 18:4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and tried to persuade Jews and Greeks.
Acts 18:19 And they came to Ephesus, and he left them there, but he himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews.
As these verses and others show, it was the practice of Paul to reason with others, to give them evidences and reasons to persuade them to consider the message of Christ. You won’t find one verse showing Paul recommending others to just have enough faith.
Paul’s Mars Hill Appeal
In the following Truth is Not Ice Cream audio, Greg Koukl shows that the definition of Faith has changed from the original meaning and is now thought of by many as a kind of wishful thinking. Some look at the idea of Faith as believing something that you have no reason to believe or even believing something that you know isn't true. Two quotes by Mark Twain illustrate this,
"Faith is believing something you know ain't true"
"'In God We Trust.' I don't believe it would sound any better if it were true"
Because of the way the word Faith is misunderstood today, Greg Koukl suggests using different words or phrases instead of the word Faith. He recommends the words Trust, Commitment, Conviction; or the phrase Active Trust. These capture the true biblical meaning we want to convey to others when we talk about our beliefs and convictions. Using these terms instead of the word Faith will allow others to understand us more accurately, and reduce misunderstandings some might have by us using the term Faith.
Greg Koukl - Trust or Faith?
Faith and Facts
Faith Isn’t a Way of Knowing; It’s a Way of Trusting
What is Faith?
Can you give a good definition of biblical faith? How does it relate to science?
In this last link Greg indicates the logical progression of Biblical Faith being Evidence – Knowledge – Action.
Evidence - is adequate to give confident Knowledge.
Knowledge - is the thing that people act with trust regarding.
Action - is what is taken based upon the knowledge one receives.
One example of this progression which we use every day, would be sitting in a chair that you haven’t sat in before:
Evidence is what you have of the chair:
Knowing whether or not someone else has sat in the chair and their experience.
Having yourself sat in another chair of the same design.
Seeing the chair being built and knowing the joint design.
Others giving you information about the chair.
Knowledge of the evidences gives you the confidence to make a decision as to sitting in the chair.
Action is what you now take based upon the knowledge you now have.
Moral Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Midair
Relativism: The Loss of Truth
ARE THERE ANY TRUE MORAL RELATIVISTS?
WHAT ARE THE FLAWS OF MORAL RELATIVISM?
So, what kind of witness will you choose to be?
Even if your witness did not convert a committed non-Christian, wouldn’t you like to create the same reaction in those you communicate with as that of Atheist Thomas Nagel? Remember his comment?
”I want atheism to be true and I am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers.”
Again, what kind of witness for Christ will you choose to be?
How Do You Best Respond When Kids Question Their Faith?
Stop Teaching Young Christians About Their Faith
Teaching Apologetics to the Next Generation
3 Reasons To Integrate Apologetics Into Youth Ministry
Why Apologetics is Critical for Campus Evangelism
Apologetics for Youth Resources
The Importance of Apologetics for Every Believer and Every Church
We Live at the Mercy of Our Ideas
Ideas Have Consequences
Ambassadors for Christ - Greg Koukl
** Very important presentation showing how our character can affect the impression others have of Christ)
http://vimeo.com/13049510 (video - shorter)
This audio is Free, but must be downloaded to listen
How To Be Ambassadors for Christ with Greg Koukl
From True Belief to Confident Knowledge
What Is Apologetics: Arguing Evangelism
What is Apologetics and Why?
What Is Apologetics—and Why Do It?
Do Apologetics Matter Anymore?
Why Apologetics Matters
Why Apologetics? - 121 Quotes on Why We Need Apologetics
Think For A Minute
A great short video (2-3 minutes) series introduction of apologetics.
Survey of Christian Apologetics
12 part video presentation by the Clear Thinking Christianity YouTube channel
This is a great overview of apologetics and will give you a solid foundation. In the audio of the second video the presenter indicates that the video series is based upon the book I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist.
First Apologetic Class
45 part video presentation by the same speaker. Each video is 8-9 minutes.
No Need For Apologetics? Postmodernism’s Effect on Christian Apologetics
Being a Winsome Apologist - John Lennox
Conversational Apologetics - Michael Ramsden
Same presentation on another date, and text of presentation
Apologetics Without Bruises
What an Apologist’s Job is NOT - Melissa Cain Travis
Regarding Apologetics, an Apology
Why Apologetics Has a Bad Name - Sean McDowell
Why We Must Teach Apologetics Unapologetically
We Need Knowledge, Not Just Belief
Is Faith Blind? – Greg Koukl
A CALL TO AN INTELLECTUAL FAITH
The Reasonable, Evidential Nature of Christian Faith – J Warner Wallace
Ten Bad Arguments - Greg Koukl
Bad Arguments Against Religion – Greg Koukl
Why Should I Defend My Faith? (Video)
Faith & Wishing
The Essence of Apologetics - Os Guinness
The Vision of Literary Apologetics
Apologetics for a New Generation
Book by Sean and Josh McDowell
https://books.google.com/books?id=miyoCkxd9EMC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Apologetics+for+a+New+Generation&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi49a-d9b_fAhWQEHwKHR_-D9oQuwUIKTAA#v=onepage&q=Apologetics%20for%20a%20New%20Generation&f=false - Preview of Book
Apologetics for a New Generation - Video - Sean McDowell
5 Reasons To Rethink Apologetics
God and Cosmology Videos
How to Get Apologetics in Your Church
Answering Common Objections to Christianity from Skeptics
How to Respond When They Say . . .
How Can I Be Prepared To Defend My Faith?
Why Apologetics Has a Bad Name
Apologetics resources for kids
14 Ways I Teach Apologetics to My 5-Year-Olds
Apologetic Resources for Small Groups
Apologetics Basics Flashcards
CASE (Christian Apologetics Search Engine) –
A place to search for apologetic and theological terms
Presuppositional Apologetics: A Summary
Unbelievable Conference - videos
A Wallet, A Dollar, the Existence of God
Page listing a number of great links:
Next Page: Evidences For Christianity