At first glance a gun looks like a simple thing to use. You pull the trigger and out comes a bullet traveling on average at about 1000 FPS (assuming it is a handgun, your average handgun). Did you know though, that in order to fire the gun correctly, you must first load it with bullets? You must then place the clip loaded with bullets into the handle of the gun; depending on the gun you might have to pull back the hammer, pull back the slide, or in some cases pull back the bolt, after which the bullet is loaded and you're ready to fire, or are you? What are you shooting at? Why are you shooting? And the big question, should you even be shooting in the first place? Not so simple any more is it.
It is a heavy responsibility to own a gun and as simplistic as it is, there is more to shooting a gun than just pulling a trigger. There is a lot to consider before you make the decision to fire. The same can be said with Apologetics. I'll start by saying this, Apologetics does not give anyone the right to argue. The second you argue, you run the risk of losing not the argument necessarily, but more importantly, the person.
Proverbs 18:19 " A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city, and contentions are like the bars of a castle"
You're not out to upset people with your opinion. The only offense you should have is the offense of the cross. Offense of the cross? Well yeah, the only thing that should offend someone is the message of Jesus Christ and not the attitude or tone of the person speaking. It goes hand in hand with what John the Baptist said when he stated: "I must decrease, He must increase" In order for the message of the gospel to be powerful, we must always remember to remove our opinion, our pride, our anger, ourselves really. If you're going to offend someone, be sure it is through the cross. Some offenses of the cross include the following: they will be offended because you are telling them they are sinners, or showing them the gruesome death on the cross, or showing them that they alone cannot effect their salvation. People don't like hearing these things, however, the cross is the only offense, not my opinion. It is all about love. If you upset someone because of you, you lost them; upset them because of the cross, then the holy spirit has something to work with and isn't denied because of the "bars" of your offense.
I think I beat this one into the floor at this point. Let's check out what the Chief Apologist does to oust those who bring contentions to the gospel and the bible. Matt 15:1-9 and Matt 22:41-46 to me are some of the best example of Apologetics straight from Jesus. Notice in both cases how Christ worked. He first allowed his contenders to bring to Him their issue. He then repeated to them what they were saying and through the use of their own beliefs showed them the self-contradiction or self-defeat embedded in their statements. Jesus knew what they knew and He knew it well, better than they did. I especially love the response in Matt 22, they had nothing to say in response, and they let Him be from then on, talk about getting owned.
You might say that Jesus here is offending them directly from His pride, however, go back to Matt 15 and check out verses 10-14, Jesus explains to the disciples that while yes they were offended, they were offended because of their blindness to the truth and their pride to adhere to their beliefs and not for a second consider what Christ was saying. He was merely speaking truth, however, because they had created their own truth within their minds, they as a result of THE truth were offended, not by how Christ was saying it, but by what Christ was saying. Huge difference. We know from Matt 3 that John warned the pharisees of their need to repent and we know that throughout the gospels, Christ made it clear to them the folly of their ways and their desperate need to repent and be TRUE whole-hearted followers of Christ and not priests like those of Malachi.
Jesus time and time again shows the pharisees the folly in their ways by using their own laws and teaching them the true meaning of what they believed. To do this, one must really know well that which he is up against in order that he can be ready to answer (1 Peter 3:15, 2 Tim 4:2). One of the verses God gave me in my prayers asking Him if I should pursue Apologetics was Proverbs 15:28. I had never read it prior to a few weeks ago and later I come to find that it is one of the core verses that apologists stand by (it was totally God! Gotta love Him). "The heart of the righteous studies how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil" Studies here is the hebrew word 'hagah' which is to muse, ponder, utter, roar. God is basically calling all who call themselves righteous to think before they speak and know of what they speak so that they might roar it in the face of opposition and speak with authority. As saints and followers of Christ, we are given power to bind and loosen (Matt 18) and are commanded to defend our faith (Jude 3).
Like I previously stated, this isn't about being the smartest guy in the room. It is about spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ and being ready to give an answer (1 Peter 3:15, greek word apologia, hence apologetics) to those who ask us from where we get our joy. The questions will be many. Never argue, never offend by opinion, only defend and stand firm (Isaiah 7:9) and offend by His grace, love, mercy, and salvation. Christ came to bring a sword (Matt 10) which is to say not everyone will agree with us and not everyone will be willing to listen, but we must always be willing to speak and be ready. Never for a second count anyone out, even the driest bones can be brought to life (Eze 37). Faith, prayer, preparation and a heavy dose of love. You never know what your words might do (1 Cor 3:5-10), so be wise is saying them and never count anyone beyond God's grace.
I promise this is the last post on preaching Apologetics. If you're willing to continue, then lets rock on. I'll be posting once or twice a week (if I can) some apologetics topics. If you guys have any ideas, comments, suggestions, or question, please send them my way and I'll be sure to post the questions and take into consideration all the godly counsel possible.
Just to give you an idea of stuff I'll be jumping on:
1. How can evil and God both exist? Did God create Evil?
2. Can we trust the over translated bible?
3. How can a loving God send people to hell?
4. Is the trinity a reality?
It'll be fun :-)