Prejudice against the Word
Very soon we will enter into a new millennium. This should be a time of hope, progress, greater openness to truth and to change. And yet Christians at the end of the 20th century oftentimes find themselves forced to breathe in the stale air of prejudice. An atmosphere of hostility towards the Bible and biblical religion surrounds most of us. Many governments discourage or forbid Bible study and evangelism outright, while others severely restrict the practice of religion in public. The media mocks God and his Word, educational institutions deride absolute truth, and the younger generation craves what is "cool." Yet "what's cool" is the broad road, not the narrow path of God's commands. It feels as though Christianity is "on trial," and the Bible especially is open to jests, gibes, and undeserved ridicule.
So loved and yet so hated!
Why? Why is it that the Bible is so loved by a few and scorned (or worse, ignored) by so many? Because no other book, no other scriptures, so challenge the hearts of men and women (John 3:19-21). It is certainly not enough to tell people, Just believe! We need to attract them to the light so that they will try it for themselves (John 7:17). How effective are you at persuading unbelievers and at answering their questions about the Scriptures? This series, The Bible on Trial, is designed to encourage disciples as they defend the faith. It will cover many areas of Christian evidences (or "apologetics") supporting the Bible, from prophecy to science to history and beyond.
"But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated, but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you
yet do it with gentleness and reverence. Keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame" (1 Peter 3:14-17, NAS).
The Greek New Testament uses the word apologia (meaning not an apology, but a defense, or speech in defense of something) where Peter urges disciples living amid a culture of opposition to be prepared to explain and defend their faith. Yet this defense must be made with the right attitude: not "defensively," but humbly, and for the purpose not of proving oneself to be right, but out of love, for the purpose of winning over the unbeliever.
Biblical evidences are crucial in our increasingly secular culture, for they pave the way for the emotional impact of the gospel by dealing with the intellectual issues that may stand in the way. Furthermore, because the Bible was originally not written in your language, it has been suspected of mistranslation, mis-transmission, or other forms of manipulation.
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