Pastor Mike Spaulding – Four Reasons Every Believer Should Study Apologetics

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The number of Christians who know virtually nothing about apologetics still amazes me. When discussing this topic even with pastors I often receive a blank stare that suggests they’ve never considered apologetics to be of much importance. Clearly this needs to change. Here are four reasons why.

Reason #1 – Skepticism is at an all-time high and that breeds confusion. In fact you could say that there is also an inverse relationship between confusion and skepticism. Skepticism in the culture breeds confusion in the church but it is also true that skepticism about the adequacy of the Christian faith within the church breeds confusion in the culture. If Christians won’t affirm what it is they believe why should the culture listen to anything they say?

The American religious landscape is in a state of flux. I’ve written about this elsewhere previously. New category entrants include the “nones” and the “dones.” The nones claim no religious affiliation and the dones have abandoned religious affiliation. The dones will most assuredly transition into the nones if they are not reached with reasons to believe the Gospel. The church is ill-equipped to do this when their foundation is skepticism and confusion.

Reason #2 – Young people are leaving the church for several reasons. Some fall prey to the predators on our college campuses masquerading as professors and teachers. Don’t be deceived friends. There are myriad stories of college professors who are forthright in their intentions to destroy the Christian faith of their freshman students so that they can be free of the intellectual shackles of Christianity.  Parents, do you really intend to turn your children over to the wolves without a fight?

Pastors do you not see that it is your responsibility to adequately train the flock of God in reasons why the Gospel is true and reliable? It is not enough to preach a good sermon every week. People need opportunities within the church to learn by question and answer, by digging and discovering, by being challenged and learning to give an intellectually satisfying answer to objections to the Christian faith.

Reason #3 – Apologetics strengthens the faith of believers. Let’s be perfectly clear about something friends. It is a known fact among Christians that a vast majority is downright fearful of friends, co-workers, even family members challenging them on why they believe what they believe. Most Christians are not prepared to give a simple answer to a simple question. Being unprepared breeds fear and fear causes believers to shy away from situations that will require them to defend their faith. Understanding that there is a vast depository of historical data that forms the basis for reasonable answers to every objection raised up against the Christian faith strengthens the faith of believers.

Reason #4 – Apologetics is integral to evangelism. I was speaking with my friend Lenny Esposito, President of Come Reason Ministries recently and we discussed this often overlooked truth.  Apologetics is not incidental to evangelism; it forms the very heart of evangelism. Although the idea of apologetics being a necessary part of one’s faith is met with surprise today, this was not the case in the early church. Giants of the faith such as Justin Martyr, Irenaeus of Lyons, and Tertullian wrote extensively about cultural issues of their day and provided robust and intelligent responses that pointed people to Jesus Christ.

CS Lewis once remarked, “One must keep on pointing out that Christianity is a statement which, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The one thing it cannot be is moderately important.”

Friends I encourage you today to take up the responsibility for your discipleship and study to show yourself ready to be a witness for the Lord Jesus Christ. When you do you will experience a transformation in your faith.

Find more of Pastor Mike’s work here.

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4 thoughts on “Pastor Mike Spaulding – Four Reasons Every Believer Should Study Apologetics

  1. ​There can be no evidence for God; a being which transcends reality, that which evidence is.

    There can be no evidence for God; a being which is imminent in reality, ordinary and indistinguishable from it.

    There are no absolutes aside from logical absolutes, which are all trivial; axioms, tautology, truism. All else are propositions which are labeled true, not via any means of assurity in knowing, but through warrant and justification; deliberation.

    Logic doesn’t entail truth in itself. Its predicate is reasonableness and it isn’t something about logic itself that leads us to accept any premise, relations of premises, flow of premises to conclusions. Logic also doesn’t prove anything in reality. It represents how people think, not how reality is.

    Sound arguments for and against the existence of God are easily had. Given their acceptance is not based on evidence, not based on logic, there is only a basis of abduction. In other words, what makes the most sense to say, given one’s experiences and impressions of the world.

    So, God and any debates about God are merely in all cases, assertions that “My impression is better than yours.”

    A Theist and an Atheist are best made distinct from one another by the single fact that one has an impression the other lacks.

    At the end of the pursuit of folks debating, there isn’t some truth discovered. What is owned is that God is a metaphysical proposition, and then by definition, neither true nor false (though there is a case after all, if one is not an Ignostic), but instead, only an idea that is meaningful or meaningless, worth something or worthless.

    What matters about these senseless debates, and the only thing that can, is that one leaves them having said something worth hearing.

    Sadly, few times is this ever the case.

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    1. Equivocal God-talk leaves us in total ignorance about God. At best, one can only feel, intuit, or sense God in some experiential way, but no human expressions can describe what it is that is being experienced … [As for univocal] Our understanding and expressions are finite, and God’s are infinite, and there is an infinite gulf between finite and infinite. As transcendent, God is not only beyond our limited understanding, but He is also beyond our finite expressions.

      (Norman Geisler, ‘Systematic Theology, Vol. 1’, Bethany House Publishers, 2002, pg. 615)

      … when we speak of God by using the word ‘God’, we do not understand what we mean, we have no concept of God; what governs our use of the word ‘God’ is not an understanding of what God is but the validity of a question about the world [Why anything at all?] … What goes for our rules for the use of ‘God’ does not go for the God we try to name with the word. (And a corollary of this, incidentally, is why a famous argument for the existence of God called the ontological argument does not work.)

      (Fr. Herbert McCabe, ‘God Matters’, Continuum, 2005, pg. 6)

      For if the existence of such a god were probable, then the proposition that he existed would be an empirical hypothesis. And in that case it would be possible to deduce from it, and other empirical hypotheses, certain experiential propositions which were not deducible from those other hypotheses alone. But in fact this is not possible. It is sometimes claimed, indeed, that the existence of a certain sort of regularity in nature constitutes sufficient evidence for the existence of a god. But if the sentence “God exists” entails to more than that certain types of phenomena occur in certain sequences, then to assert the existence of a god will be simply equivalent to asserting that there is the requisite regularity in nature; and no religious man would admit that this was all he intended to assert in asserting the existence of a god. He would say that in talking about God, he was talking about a transcendent being who might be known through certain empirical manifestations, but certainly could not be defined in terms of those manifestations. But in that case the term “god” is a metaphysical term. And if “god” is a metaphysical term, then it cannot be even probable that a god exists. For to say that “God exists” is to make a metaphysical utterance which cannot be either true or false. And by the same criterion, no sentence which purports to describe the nature of a transcendent god can possess any literal significance.

      (A. J. Ayer, “Language, Truth, And Logic”, Dover, Second Edition, 1952, pg. 117)

      To exist beyond the sphere of natural law means to exist beyond the scope of human knowledge; epistemological transcendence is a corollary of ‘supernaturalness’. If a god is a natural being, if his actions can be explained in terms of normal causal relationships, then he is a knowable creature. Conversely, if god can be known, he cannot be supernatural. Without mystery, without some element of the incomprehensible, a being cannot be supernatural – and to designate a being as supernatural is to imply that this being transcends human knowledge. Epistemological transcendence is perhaps the only common denominator among all usages of the term “god,” including those of Tillich, Robinson and other modern theologians. While some “theists” reject the notion of a supernatural being in a metaphysical sense, it seems that every self-proclaimed theist – regardless of his particular use of the term “god” – agrees that a god is mysterious, unfathomable or in someway beyond man’s comprehension. The idea of the “unknowable” is the universal element linking together the various concepts of god, which suggests that this is the most critical aspect of theistic belief. The belief in an unknowable being is the central tenet of theism, and it constitutes the major point of controversy between theism and critical atheism.

      (George Smith, ‘Atheism: The Case Against God’, 1973)

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    2. consider, there are two identical universes that only differ in that one has a god and the other doesn’t. if no distinction can be made between the two universes, then we can’t tell which sort of universe we live in. more, there is no feature of the universe to which we can appeal to suggest this is the one with god or the one without. it doesn’t matter the feature or phenomenon nor how long the odds or queer either, for all of these are actual and all that is then dubious is the existence of deity.

      this either leaves apologetics a practice of empty wordsmithing, or an activity that leaves believers literal sacraments of christ because christ, after all, is what is preached and that, through our lives.

      people leave the church these days because it isn’t relevant and nothing good comes from it … actually get out in the world and listen to those who have left.

      do good. that matters. yapping about the virtues of sentences that have no referent is likewise irrelevant.

      just a thought.

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