March 2019 Newsletter - "Apologetics for Apologists" by Brian Lollock
As Christians, how many of us could say when going to church, there was a time or maybe now, we’ve struggled to believe what was preached or taught about Jesus? I mean, not just doubting the sermons and the Bible, but doubting God all together? This really comes down to not knowing what we believe, better yet, Who we believe.
In helping believers be more familiar in the faith and defending the Gospel, Apologetics has become a well know tool and technique among Christian communities in more recent years. Apologetics means, “reasoned arguments or writings in justification of something, typically a theory or religious doctrine.” Typically, apologists refer to 2 Timothy 2:15, “study to show yourself approved” and 1 Peter 3:15, “be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks,” to support the perspective of using biblical and non-biblical sources, by knowing and defending the faith. Perhaps Ravi Zacharias, William Lang Craig, and C.S. Lewis are the most influential men in their apologetic works. These men answer complex questions about God from a philosophical and logical standpoint in the hopes the person or people asking would eventually come to knowing of God and believing in Him. An example of questions might be: What evidence is there for creation and God’s existence? Why does God allow evil in the world? How do we know Christianity is correct? Most of what we see in Apologetics today is about showing someone how God is real and true, using logical reasoning. However, Apologetics is much more than we may think.
A good question to now ask ourselves is: Is believing God is real sufficient for our souls, and is it the same as having a relationship with God? Let’s take a look at James 2:19, which states, “You believe there is one God. Good! Even demons believe and tremble.” Cleary we wouldn’t qualify those demons saved, despite their belief in Jesus.
How does God want us to defend His Word?
The Apostle Paul tells us, “I am appointed for the defense of the gospel,” – Philippians 1:17. The word “defense” in this verse, is the Greek word, Apologia, where we get the word, Apologetics. Now let’s take a closer look at what Paul means by “defense of the Gospel.” The word Apologia, is two Greek words together, Apo and Logos.
Apo means to remove or to separate. Logos means the outer shell or covering of a seed (Luke 8:11). We can conclude that apologia is the separation of the outer shell of the seed or Word of God. When the outer shell of the Word is removed, you see the living Word, also known as the Rhema of the Word of God. This means true Apologetics or an Apologist is someone who can take the logos Word of God and open up the Rhema to reveal the mysteries of Christ! The Apostles are the ones who first reveal the mysteries of Christ (Ephesians 3:4-5).
Jesus/Yeshua uses apologetics on Satan, as He came out of the wilderness and stated, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word (rhema) that proceeds out if the mouth of God,” – Matthew 4:4. When Satan would quote scripture, they could only give the logos of the word. Jesus would use apologetics to give Satan the rhema of the word to make him flee.
So, what can learn from Jesus? Apologetics means to break open the rhema word of God when the enemy comes to give only the logos of the word or the “letter that kills,” (2 Corinthians 3:6). This goes beyond having a belief in God. Through the rhema/revealed Word, the mysteries of Christ, the enemy must go, and healing from sin takes place in the believer.
True Apologetics is the revelation of God being manifested to you. Through the revealed truth, those struggles of doubt leave and is replaced by the “engrafted word, that saves our souls,” – James 1:21.
With sincere consideration and prayer, the hopes of understanding Apologetics brings edification to each person in the body of Christ that you may not argue but “bless those who curse you.”