A few years back J. Warner Wallace and I spoke with a dozen pastors who were skeptical about the importance of apologetics. I followed Jim—which is not an easy task—and gave four quick points on why making the case for our convictions is crucial.
“Other than Scripture commands it,” I said, “and other than Jesus and the apostles did it,” I added, “and other than that apologetics work, being able to defend our Christian convictions will help us answer the toughest critic we will ever face.”
My “other than” phrasing was purposeful. Any one of the first three reasons should be adequate to convince any Christian, especially pastors. The last one, though, was critical, taking them into territory most have never considered. Here’s what I said . . .
First, the Bible commands it. Peter says, famously, that Christians should always be prepared “to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” (1 Pet. 3:15). No ambiguity here. People are going to challenge our views, Peter presumes. Be ready, then, to respond intelligently and graciously. Simple.
Second, Jesus used evidence and arguments to verify his claims, and the disciples followed his example—all the time. Jesus miraculously healed a lame man to demonstrate his authority to forgive sins (Mk. 2:10–12). Jesus said that the “sign” verifying his messianic office would be his resurrection (Jn. 2:18ff; Matt. 12:38ff).
Third, apologetics work. People are, in fact, persuaded by them—in Luke’s words. God actually takes evidence and arguments, uses them to convince people the gospel is true, and they’re converted. It happens all the time.
On Pentecost, three thousand responded to Peter’s evidence-filled sermon (Acts 2:41). On Mars Hill, after Paul cited Jesus’ resurrection as “proof” of his points, some “joined him and believed” (Acts 17:30–34).
My three “other thans” were all good points, but they were building to my main takeaway, my biggest concern at this point for Christians in our culture—the final and most important reason we should take apologetics seriously.
Fourth, apologetics will help you face the toughest critic you will ever encounter: yourself. Everybody has doubts—including pastors and apologists—even under the best of conditions. That’s why, in the tough times we’re in now, my biggest concern is not for the world. It’s for you, to protect you from the lies in the world and from the lies of the wolves in our midst.
I know that when apologetics give you confidence that Christianity is actually true—true the way gravity is true—you’ll have the courage to stand when the challenges come your way. And they will come.
Giving you rock-solid certainty that Christianity is true and training you to skillfully answer objections with knowledge, wisdom, and character is STR’s “secret sauce.” It’s what we do . . . and you make it possible.
Because of you, STR shares training and resources that equip so many with the answers, evidence, tactics, and tools we all need to stand strong . . . to engage a hostile culture with grace, clarity, and courage.
But to keep on equipping savvy and effective Christian Ambassadors, I need your help now. Will you prayerfully consider a generous gift today to equip you and others to stand strong for Jesus?
Your generosity now will make a real difference . . . and bring Christ’s light to a dark culture
Thank you for your valued friendship—for partnering with STR to help you and others stand confidently in our Christian faith!
Standing firm with you,
Greg Koukl • Stand to Reason