Many Christians will find their beliefs challenged at some point in their lives.
Still, some may find it difficult to offer evidence of God’s existence — they might carry doubts about their ability to persuade others.
This is why it can be helpful for Christians to, at least, learn the basics of apologetics, a practice that involves studying religious doctrines in defense of a specific faith.
Not only can it help people of faith craft a well-articulated defense of their beliefs, but it can also enable them to fulfill their Christian commission and play a small role in the salvation of their fellow man.
The Purpose of Apologetics
In an interview with The Western Journal last week, Christian author Lee Strobel said that he believes apologetics serves two purposes. Not only does it enable believers to respond effectively to atheistic objections, but it can also “deepen” a Christian’s faith and “confidence” in biblical truths about Jesus.
“And both are legitimate functions,” Strobel said. “Both are important functions.”
Speaking the truth to nonbelievers with gentleness and bringing them closer to God is a crucial Christian duty, one that is highlighted in both 1 Peter 3:15 and Ephesians 4:15. Helping loved ones resolve doubts about God’s existence, however, does not necessarily mean Christians should feel compelled to have a sophisticated answer to every objection.
“But we can help them find an answer to the question,” Strobel said.
“Because if we don’t have a pretty good understanding of what the evidence is, we shrink back from conversations, because I’m afraid you’re going to ask me a question and I’m not going to know the answer to it.”
With apologetics, Strobel noted, Christians can be equipped with the necessary confidence to share the “good news of the gospel of Jesus.”
Despite the potential advantages of taking the time to understand the faith’s foundations, Christians should be careful not to place too much focus on winning the argument over winning the people.
Doubts about Christian theology must be addressed with “gentleness and respect,” as the Bible instructs.
“I think we need to understand where people are coming from,” Strobel said.
“We don’t have to know every nuance of their belief system, but it helps to be able to connect and to respect people, the Bible says.”
While the author did not list any names, he noted that many apologists who value the debate more than the people they’re attempting to reach “end up hurting the cause more than helping it.”
“When we’re gentle and respectful, people are willing to listen,” he added.
Irrefutable Evidence of Christ’s Resurrective Power
Christians subscribe, first and foremost, to a single objective truth: There is only one God, who came to earth in the human form of Jesus Christ to die for humanity’s sins — and three days later, he rose from the dead.
But a society eager to affirm every individual’s perception as a valid “truth” has left itself prone to relativism.
For example, a common counterargument that many Christians will hear concerns religious relativism — the belief that all religions are equally valid.
The diverse belief systems of each religion, however, render it impossible for them to “coexist.”
Was Jesus indeed crucified and later resurrected? This particular testimony is a crucial tenant of the Christian faith. But not all religions require their followers to believe in the miracle of Christ’s resurrection.
As Strobel pointed out, the Quran teaches in Surah 4:157 that Jesus was not crucified, and the book posits that God does not even have a son. The “fundamental conflicts” between Islam and Christianity are just one example of why there can only be one true religion, not two or more.
“Maybe one of them is true or maybe neither is true, but they can’t both be true,” Strobel said. “And my friend Nabeel [Qureshi] spent a lot of time as a Muslim, investigating the evidence and coming to the conclusion.”
Qureshi grew up studying Islamic apologetics, but a debate with Christian apologist David Wood about the historical claims of Islam and Christianity set him on a journey toward embracing Christ. His 2014 book, “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus,” details the story of how he eventually came to accept Jesus as his savior.
While the author and international speaker passed away from stomach cancer in 2017, Qureshi’s conversion is a reminder that anyone, regardless of their background, can come to see the truth of God.
“The evidence for Christianity is powerful and persuasive in coming to faith,” Strobel said.
By demonstrating to others what it means to be grounded in biblical values, Christians can help them embrace the Gospel truth and claim their eternal place with God.
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