Thursday, March 10, 2016

Defending the faith

How many people in your church could defend their faith if challenged by a non-theist? A large number of Christians really do not know what they believe, and of those who do few could explain why they believe it.

As an example, non-theists like to challenge Christians with the problem of evil in the world. Their question goes something like this. You believe that your God is all-loving. You believe your God is all-powerful. Then why would an all-loving, all-powerful God allow such evil to exist in the world? Why do innocent children die of cancer? Why do wars occur that take the lives of thousands of people? The questions go on and on highlighting the evils that plague mankind. They often conclude with the final challenge that our God is either not all-loving or He couldn't allow such things to exist, or He is not all-powerful since He seems unable to stop evil. In either case, the unbeliever says, he or she would not be interested in such a God.

It is the fear of such questions that probably keeps many people from attempting to share their faith with another person. They are afraid they will be asked questions for which they have no answers.

In recent years I have been reading more in the area of apologetics. J. P. Moreland defines apologetics as "a ministry designed to help unbelievers to overcome intellectual obstacles to conversion and believers to remove doubts that hinder spiritual growth." This is as good a definition as I've seen.

Apologetics enables us to defend our faith by giving reasonable answers based upon the rules of logic and in line with biblical teachings. People have a right to ask the hard questions about faith, and we need not be afraid of those questions.

The church needs to be teaching apologetics. We need to help our people to begin thinking about why they believe the way they do. Such teachings can occur from the pulpit, in Sunday school classes, and in small groups.

Church leaders, both pastoral and lay, need to begin to read more in the area of apologetics. Some of my favorite apologists are William Lane Craig, Ravi Zacharias, J. P. Moreland, and Norman Geisler. I try to read 2-3 books a year by one or more of these writers plus I often listen to Craig's podcasts.

We live in a time where the Christian faith is under constant attack. Our values, our doctrines, and everything that is Christian is being challenged as never before in the US. Christianity is no longer the dominant worldview. Let us be ready to give an answer for the hope that lies within us.

No comments: