Common Sense Apologetics

Common Sense Apologetics

What is apologetics, anyway?

The American Heritage Dictionary defines it as:

The branch of theology that deals with the defense and proof of Christianity.

Countless books have been written in attempts to defend and prove Christianity. Despite this massive avalanche of writing, recent research by the Pew Research Center is cited as follows (as of May 12th, 2015):

The Christian share of the U.S. population is declining, while the number of U.S. adults who do not identify with any organized religion is growing, according to an extensive new survey by the Pew Research Center.
To be sure, the United States remains home to more Christians than any other country in the world, and a large majority of Americans – roughly seven-in-ten – continue to identify with some branch of the Christian faith. But the major new survey of more than 35,000 Americans by the Pew Research Center finds that the percentage of adults (ages 18 and older) who describe themselves as Christians has dropped by nearly eight percentage points in just seven years, from 78.4% in an equally massive Pew Research survey in 2007 to 70.6% in 2014.

To this date (May 17th, 2015), on this blog, I have published 100 posts aimed at a goal of proving and defending Christianity. Thousands of writers far more gifted than I will ever dream of being have consumed entire careers on proving and defending Christianity. Yet, the number of people in the United States who describe themselves as Christians is dropping, for the lack of a better term, relentlessly. I have come to a conclusion:

You will never win anyone who is not a Christian to Christianity by argument.

Believe me, I have tried on many occasions to do this, and I have never… on any of those occasions… been able to do so.

Christians have a mandate… the “Great Commission” (italic emphasis mine):

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

How can those who are Christian do this, especially in an era when Christianity is becoming, to more and more people, irrelevant?

There is a way. I call it Common Sense Apologetics.

1) Live your Christianity.

If you are a Christian believer, then live like you are a Christian believer. This is nothing more than garden-variety common sense: if a person who is not a Christian observes you not living like a Christian, why would that person believe anything that you told them about Christianity? Your life is the best (or worst) apologetic that there is.

2) Tell people what Christ has done for you, not what Christ can do for them.

Story-telling has been an integral part of the human experience, and people, generally speaking, love a good story. If you are a Christian believer, humble yourself and tell your story.

3) Serve others rather than your own interests.

Humble people that serve others are noticed, because service in humility to others is 100% at odds with the world that we live in. Generally speaking, people will relate very well to someone who serves them, and who has a genuine interest in them.

4) Love God and love others.

At the time of Jesus, the Hebrew Law consisted of literally hundreds of directives that pious Jews had to rigorously observe to be ‘right’ with God. Jesus reduced all of them to 2:

Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

If a Christian’s life is not characterized by love, that person is not a Christian. Love is the distinguishing hallmark of a true Christian believer.

5) Let go and let God.

Many Christians are consumed with ‘being effective’ in their faith. What it is critical to understand is that Christians are not called to be effective: they are called to be faithful. If there is an increase of any kind to be realized, God will effect that increase through the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said (italic emphasis mine):

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)

6) Be firm and gentle.
If you are a Christian believer, do not back away from your faith. Stand your ground, rooted in the One that God has sent, and stand on the testimony of the Word of God:

“Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven. (Matthew 10:32-33)

Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. (Romans 14:16)

You have an amazing story to tell! Tell it humbly (italic emphasis mine):

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. (1 Peter 3:15-16)

7) Wait on the Holy Spirit.

Do not rush headlong into any situation. When a person is emotionally in turmoil (for example, has lost a child or a spouse, is terminally ill, etc.), possibly the worst thing you can do is to throw out a “blanket” Holy Scripture like: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28); it will likely be viewed by the person as very insensitive, and you will have done nothing more than give the person a warped view of your Christian faith.

First, remember that Christians have one (or more) spiritual gifts from the Holy Spirit, so that they may be of service to God’s people (italic emphases mine): We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. (Romans 12:6-8). Encouraging people in emotional distress, and showing people mercy, are precious gifts from God that will demonstrate to all that you are a true child of your Father in heaven.

Second, remember something critically important: But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort. (1 Corinthians 14:3). Before you would say anything to an emotionally devastated person, wait on the prompting of the Holy Spirit… you will be given the words that God wants the person to hear, and God will be glorified, because it will not be you speaking, but God Himself speaking through the Holy Spirit. There are times when just being there for the person, letting them know without words that you care for them and love them, will be enough.

8) Pray.

Prayer is essential to the Christian believer’s life. Great faith can be placed in prayer, as Jesus says (italic emphasis mine):

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. (Matthew 6:6-8)

How precious is the time invested in prayer! The Christian believer knows, with deep, quiet, thoroughly assured faith, that God knows everything on his/her heart before it is even expressed.

Apologetics for Christianity does not have to be something that only trained theologians can understand! Yet, is what I have written too much, somehow, to keep track of and remember? Is there an even simpler apologetic for the Christian believer? YES… there surely is! Our precious King and Lord Jesus Christ reduced the entire Hebrew Law, and every Christian law and commandment that would follow from it, to this (italic emphasis mine):

Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

Oh, the blessed assurance of the Christian believer’s life! God is for us, so who can be against us? Is there any more telling and significant testimony that can be offered for the Christian faith than a Christian believer who exhibits joy and a peace that surpasses all understanding, no matter what the circumstances of his or her life might be, good or bad?

Christian believers can not only rest in the promises of the Christian faith, but extend those same promises to others, because…

The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it. (1 Thessalonians 5:24)

About On A Journey

It's About Jesus!!
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