Why it's important to defend your faith

why it's important to defend your faith
[The laws of logic] were placed in our minds by the Creator during the act of creation. We speak because God has spoken. God is not the author of confusion, irrationality, or the absurd. Furthermore, his words are meant to be understood by his creatures, and a necessary condition for his creature’s understanding of those words is that they are intelligible and not irrational.
— R.C. Sproul

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Defending Your Faith, by R.C. Sproul, is a book I recently read.  It’s an introduction to apologetics, something I wish I had read years ago (and why I included it in my recent booklist for teens).   A simple definition of apologetics that it's a defense of the Christian faith.  The book struck a chord with me because it approached the subject academically, with solid logic.  This blog is all about faith and trusting in God, and I like to explore why God is trustworthy.  I have written often about the work of the Holy Spirit, in speaking to our hearts and revealing his truths- and about how this work is essential to knowing God.  But that is not to say that we should ignore logic or dismiss the task of defending the faith in a way that breaks down the barriers between those of us who believe and those who do not.

At its core, Christianity is rational.  The task of apologetics is to provide an intellectual defense of the truth claims of the Christian faith.  Since this is only a short blog post, I can’t possibly present a whole defense of the Christian faith right here, but I can encourage you to do some study on your own.  I recommend Defending Your Faith, but there are also many other great resources available. 

1 Peter 3:14-16 says,

“Have no fear of them (those who would harm you), nor be troubles, but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame (emphasis added). “

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I hope I have convinced you why the study of apologetics is important for anyone who follows Christ.  I also want to give you a sample of how apologetics works. For instance, one of the first tasks is to ask some questions,

What principles are necessary for knowledge to be possible? What assumptions or presuppositions are involved to make intelligible discourse possible?
— R.C. Sproul

There are four essential principles of knowledge: 

(1) the Law of Noncontradiction,

(2)the Law of Casuality

(3)the basic reliability of sense perception,

(4) the analogical use of language.

 Most attempts to destroy the case for God include a rejection of one or more of these four foundational laws for obtaining knowledge.  If you can prove the validity of these laws, then any attempt to disprove the existence of God falls into irrationality. 

For example:  the Law of Noncontradiction, first defined by Aristotle, and in his own words, “it is impossible that contrary attributes should belong at the same time to the same subject.” 

Now take a popular framework of thinking like relativism, which says that truth is relative.  This is where you often hear people claiming, “Everyone has their own truth.”  The Law of Noncontradiction makes relativism indefensible.  To argue for it would not be logical.  

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If truth is relative, then the truth of God is not truth at all but a lie, for the Word of God contends that there is a Truth that transcends the universe, a Truth that is the norm and foundation of all truth
— R.C. Sproul

The study of apologetics is fascinating.  I have given you some reasons why you apologetics is something worth studying and I have given you a sample what how it works.   In closing, I want to point out that apologetics is not about winning an argument, it’s about loving others- and because of that- wanting them to come to salvation through Christ Jesus.  Proving an argument can help an unbeliever hear the truth of Christ, but it is different from persuasion.

Proof is objective and persuasion is subjective. People who are hostile to certain ideas may have those ideas proven to them, but in their bias they refuse to be persuaded- even by the soundest of arguments.
— R.C. Sproul

Apologetics help us to explore commonalities with unbelievers, and they are a wonderful starting point.  But in the end, it is ultimately the Holy Spirit who does the saving work of bringing an unbeliever into a relationship with God.

Have you read any great books on apologetics?  If your are a Christian, do you remember what persuaded you to put your trust in God?

*All R.C. Sproul quotes in this post are from Defending Your Faith, 2003

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faithDawn Klinge6 Comments