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Apologetics Made Easy
This article is intended to explain apologetics and share a small part of my testimony. I believe they work together, because each of our own testimonies are our best apologetic. Apologetics is simply an explanation of why you believe in God. That is almost impossible without a testimony attached. I will go deeper into my testimony in other articles for the sake of saving you time reading this article. I will get into a better definition of apologetics in this article so that when you hear the word, you will at a minimum, know what people are talking about. There are countless big words used in Christian culture, and most of them are very easy to understand, so don’t be intimidated by big words, like I was. It doesn’t make you any more or less of a Christian. We will learn their meaning one-by-one along the way. In doing so, you will also read some of my testimony, and maybe a reader or two out there will be able to relate.
What is Apologetics?
I had to look up the definition to apologetics when I saw that it was a core required course for my degree. I was excited about taking the course, but I was nervous. I didn’t have a very religious background and I was in Bible college. I felt like I should already know these words. Isn’t it funny how we think we should already know something before doing it, and then feel inadequate when we don’t? That is a lie from the enemy, whispered in your ear to prevent you from pursuing what God has placed on your heart. I had no idea what the class would be about, had no preconceived notions of apologetics, and after reading the definition I still had very little idea of what apologetics entailed. That is exactly why I was excited about the course. I want to know God more. I want to be able to verbalize why I believe what I believe and what it is that I believe. I turned away from God for many years. God has continually revealed who He is and how He has been by my side even when I didn’t acknowledge Him. God knows, as I learned, that there is nothing we as humans can do to find God. Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart,” (NASB). This doesn’t mean that you can seek Him out and find Him. It means when He knows your heart is ready to accept Him, and you are trying to seek Him out, then He will reveal Himself to you, and thus “finding” Him. He is waiting on you to be ready. There is no seeking Him, because He is literally right in front of you waiting for you to be willing to see beyond what is visible. Once I was at the point God wanted me, then He revealed Himself to me and everything changed.
That brings me to Apologetics. What is apologetics? Apologetics is a branch of theology devoted to the defense of the divine origin and authority of Christianity (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apologetics). There is your official definition from Merriam-Webster. I like that definition, mostly because it does not use the word “argue”. Apologetics is the defense of Christ. In no way is it meant to be used to argue with someone. How many arguments have you had that ended positive? I don’t mean where the other conceded and you won. I mean where both of you felt equally respected and understood. That doesn’t happen in arguments. It is not their nature. That is what does happen in apologetics, however. I took an entire semester class on apologetics, so understand that we cannot unravel this term in one article. My desire is that you don’t pull back when you hear this word used because you have some idea of what it is. Second, I want you to see how simple Christianity is, and all of its parts. Apologetics are carried out on the ground level. Meaning, apologetics happen within relationships. You came to a relationship with Christ. Your son, daughter, mother, father, brother, sister, or friend asked you about it. Apologetics began when they asked what happened. You told your story, then they had questions. You tried to answer the questions as best you could by using your personal experience, and your understanding of who the person was in front of you. That is all it is. You were by definition, an apologist at that moment. Don’t overthink it. Don’t argue with the person. Direct all of their questions to the Bible. Most importantly, remember that the person in front of you is loved by Jesus just as much as you, but they don’t know it yet. Treat them with Jesus-size love.
Jesus was Waiting on Me
When I first gave my life to Christ I kept quiet because I didn’t know anything about this God that loves me so much. Now, however, I am no longer able to keep quiet. This love, this life, this relationship with our Creator is something far too great to keep to myself. I was afraid to speak up, because if someone asked me a question I didn’t know then I felt like I would have let God down, made me look dumb, and actually pushed people away from Jesus. I’ve got news for you, and it is the same news God punched me in the face with to snap me out of this mentality. God is too big for you to be the one single person to bring everything down. The faith of Christianity, Jesus, and everything to do with God has endured far worse than you forgetting a verse, or not being able to explain some obscure question. The other thing is that it is not your job. You are not capable of knowing the answers to every question. We would be worshipping you then, right? You only know what you know, and this is where your testimony comes in. You share your experience. You tell people how Jesus has changed your life. You won’t have to remember it, and no one can argue it. It is what it is. You tell them about Jesus. If you don’t know, then refer them to the Bible. Isn’t that where we all get our answers from anyway? This was a huge revelation for me. It hurt. It stung. When the smoke cleared though, I had a huge weight lifted from me and I had more confidence in being able to share Jesus. Now, I know I will be able to defend my faith and prayfully open up an opportunity for the Holy Spirit to move in someone’s life.
Religion Seems so Complex
My belief system prior to giving my life to Christ was basically that religion had to be simpler than what others were making it out to be and that someone has to be right. I attempted to buy into the idea of COEXIST, where all religions believe in the same God but they are just going different paths that eventually meet. Something about this never sat well with me. As Timothy Keller stated in, The Reasoning for God, Buddhist do not have a personal God, and Christianity believes Jesus is God (the trinity), whereas Judaism and Islam do not accept Jesus as God (Keller, 8). This completely debunked the COEXIST model for me. As far as religion being simpler than what I have been hearing all my life, it is. There is one thing you must do for salvation. “That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved,” Rom 10:9 (NASB) That is pretty simple. As Habermas stated in his video, Doubt, we first must have a baseline of agreement on the death and resurrection of Christ and then we can work out the details from there (Habermas, 2016).
Christianity is simple. Don’t be afraid to tell your testimony to others. Don’t be afraid to defend what you believe. Don’t worry about questions you cannot answer. Tell them what you know about Jesus and direct them to the Bible. Be bold as you go out into the world. Your father is with you. His Spirit dwells within you. If you don’t know what to say or do in a moment, ask for the Holy Spirit to guide you. God is in control, and you can’t derail His plans. The defense of Christianity has been, is and will be ongoing. There is nothing new under the sun, and that makes it simpler but not necessarily easier. Love God and Love people. The rest will take care of itself. Thank you and God bless you all.
Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism (New York, NY: The Penguin Group, 2008), 8.
Gary Habermas, Presentation; Doubt. Retrieved 24 May 2017, www.RZIM.org. Liberty University, 2016.