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making the connection | October 13, 2019

October 15, 2019

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect… (1 Peter 3:15)

That ‘to give the reason’ is the Greek word apologia (ἀπολογία). In 1 Peter 3:15, it means ‘the act of making a defense, defense – generally of eagerness to defend oneself.’ (A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature) ἀπολογία is where we get the modern word apologetics. Which is: a systematic argumentative discourse in defense (as of a doctrine); a branch of theology devoted to the defense of the divine origin and authority of Christianity. (Merriam-Webster)

If Denny’s message on Sunday about the reasons we can trust the Bible sparked your interest and curiosity, you should take some time to look into apologetics. There are hundreds of books on the subject. But here are a few to get you started:

The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel

Retracing his own spiritual journey from atheism to faith, Lee Strobel, former legal editor of the Chicago Tribune, cross-examines a dozen experts with doctorates from schools like Cambridge, Princeton, and Brandeis who are recognized authorities in their own fields. Strobel challenges them with questions like:

  • How reliable is the New Testament?
  • Does evidence for Jesus exist outside the Bible?
  • What documentation is there concerning the life and teachings of Jesus, and how reliable is it?
  • Does archaeology substantiate the historical accounts?

Strobel’s tough, point-blank questions make this book read like a captivating, fast-paced novel. But it’s not fiction. It’s a riveting quest for the truth about history’s most compelling figure.

Letters from a Skeptic: A Son Wrestles with His Father’s Questions about Christianity by Gregory Boyd & Edward Boyd

In Letters from a Skeptic Dr. Gregory Boyd and his father Edward Boyd “debate” many objections to Christianity, the church, and the Bible, including:

  • Why is the world so full of suffering?
  • Does God know the future?
  • How can you believe that a man rose from the dead?
  • Why do you think the Bible is inspired?

Greg Boyd initiated this correspondence with his father in the hope that his father would eventually come to know Christ. After three years, 30 letters, and numerous phone calls, Edward Boyd did just that.

Letters from a Skeptic will help you wrestle with the rational foundation of your own faith. It will also help you know how to share that faith with the skeptics you love.

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

In 1941 England, when all hope was threatened by the inhumanity of war, C. S. Lewis was invited to give a series of radio lectures addressing the central issues of Christianity. More than half a century later, these talks continue to retain their poignancy. First heard as informal radio broadcasts on the BBC, the lectures were published as three books and subsequently combined as Mere Christianity. C. S. Lewis proves that “at the center of each there is something, or a Someone, who against all divergences of belief, all differences of temperament, all memories of mutual persecution, speaks with the same voice,” rejecting the boundaries that divide Christianity’s many denominations. This twentieth century masterpiece provides an unequaled opportunity for believers and nonbelievers alike to hear a powerful, rational case for the Christian faith.

The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism by Timothy Keller

For years, Tim Keller has compiled a list of the most frequently voiced “doubts” skeptics bring to his Manhattan church. And in The Reason for God, he single-handedly dismantles each of them. Written with atheists, agnostics, and skeptics in mind, Keller also provides an intelligent platform on which true believers can stand their ground when bombarded by the backlash. The Reason for God challenges such ideology at its core and points to the true path and purpose of Christianity. In this book, Tim Keller uses literature, philosophy, real-life conversations and reasoning, and even pop culture to explain how faith in a Christian God is a soundly rational belief, held by thoughtful people of intellectual integrity with a deep compassion for those who truly want to know the truth.

But there’s something that needs to be remembered when talking about or studying apologetics: it should never be the primary focus. It’s easy to fall into traps of making the wrong things the main things. But your relationship with God, your love of Him and your neighbors, and your appreciation for His Word should be your main things. Not crafting arguments and collecting proof to shove at unbelieving friends. Jesus didn’t say the greatest commandment was proving He existed and that the Bible can be believed. Rather, you are to “‘love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40) – Sarah Neel

Praise Set:

All the Earth (© 2014 Word Music, LLC (a div. of Word Music Group, Inc.), HBC Worship Music (Admin. by Sony/ATV Music Publishing), Not Just Another Song Publishing (Admin. by Sony/ATV Music Publishing), Open Hands , performed by Vertical Church Band, written by Andi Rozier, Jason Ingram, Jonathan Smith, and Meredith Andrews, CCLI #7035179)

O What a Friend (© Capitol CMG Paragon (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing), Michael Neale Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing), and Remaining portion is unaffiliated, performed by New Collective, written by Ashley White, Michael Neale, Michael Rossback, Scott Dyer, and Toby Bensco, CCLI #7127554)

Goodness of God (© 2018 Alletrop Music (Admin. by Music Services, Inc.) and Remaining portion is unaffiliated, performed by Bethel Music, written by Ed Cash and Jenn Johnson, CCLI #7117726)

Yes I Will (© All Essential Music (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC), Be Essential Songs (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC), HBC Worship Music (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC), Hickory Bill Doc (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC), Jingram Music Publishing (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC), So Essential Tunes (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC), and Upside Down Under (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC), performed by Vertical Worship, written by Eddie Hoagland, Jonathan Smith, and Mia Fieldes, CCLI #7105442)

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