Does The Bible Call Christians To Defend The Faith / Argue For The Faith?

Source: gotquestions.org

The classic verse promoting apologetics (the defense of the Christian faith) is 1 Peter 3:15, which basically says that believers are to make a defense “for the hope that you have.” The only way to do this effectively is to study the reasons for why we believe what we believe. This will prepare us to “demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ,” as Paul said we should (2 Corinthians 10:5). Paul practiced what he preached; in fact, doing apologetics was his regular activity (Philippians 1:7). He refers to apologetics as an aspect of his mission in the same passage (v.16). He also made apologetics a requirement for church leadership in Titus 1:9. Jude, an apostle of Jesus, wrote that “although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (v.3).

Where did the apostles get these ideas? From the Master Himself. Jesus was His own apologetic as He stated time and again that we should believe in Him because of the evidence He provided for what He taught (John 2:23; 10:25; 10:38; 14:29). In fact, the whole Bible is full of miracles specifically being done by God to confirm what He wanted us to believe (Exodus 4:1-8; 1Kings 18:36-39; Acts 2:22-43; Hebrews 2:3-4; 2 Corinthians 12:12). People rightly refuse to believe something without evidence. Since God created humans as rational beings, we should not be surprised when He expects us to live rationally. As Norman Geisler says, “This does not mean there is no room for faith. But God wants us to take a step of faith in the light of evidence, rather than to leap in the dark.”

Those who oppose these clear biblical teachings and examples may say things like “the Word of God does not need to be defended!” But which of the world’s writings are the word of God? As soon as someone answers that, he is doing apologetics. (How well he does it might be another story!) Some claim that human reason cannot tell us anything about God—but isn’t that a “reasonable” statement about God? If not, then there is no reason to believe it, and if so, then they have contradicted themselves. A favorite saying is, “If someone can talk you into Christianity, then someone else can talk you out.” Why is this a problem? Did not Paul himself give a criterion by which Christianity should be accepted or rejected in 1 Corinthians 15? It is only misplaced piety that answers in the negative.

Now, none of this is to say that bare apologetics, free from the influence of the Holy Spirit, can bring someone to saving faith. This creates a false dilemma in the minds of many. But it does not have to be “Spirit vs. Logic.” Why not both? We must not confuse the fact that the Holy Spirit is required to move one into a position of belief with how He accomplishes this feat. With some people God uses trials; in others it is an emotional experience; in others it is through reason. God can use whatever means He wants. We, however, are commanded to use apologetics in as many or more places as we are told to preach the gospel. How is it then that all churches affirm the latter but so many ignore the former?


Source: gotquestions.org

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10 responses to “Does The Bible Call Christians To Defend The Faith / Argue For The Faith?

  1. Sir, I appreciate the opportunity to write on your forum. I’m really hoping you will allow this post. Since you don’t know me, you may not. I understand.

    I have been searching around your website trying to find the proper post to place my comment. I’m not sure this is it, but it seems better here than where I’ve been posting.

    I understand that you do not believe what the Catholic Church teaches. Well, I understand you take an even stronger stance than that. But I have found some places where you say that the Catholic Church teaches something, and it just is not true. I don’t take exception to what you say that is true, but for what you say that is absolutely false, I do.

    It seems that the Catholic Church is being blamed for the mysticism that is coming into your church. From what little I’ve read, it seems more like a new age influence than a Catholic influence. Just because there’s some borrowing, or even a lot of borrowing, from the Catholic Church, doesn’t make it Catholic. In order for it to be Catholic, I would say that the guidelines for contemplative prayer from the Catechism would have to be adhered to (it does not appear that they are) and the teachings and warnings from the Catholic mystical writers would also have to be taught (I don’t see any of that either).

  2. I have to agree with you Simone. I believe that by far the most influence has been mainly from New Age teachings and also teachings from eastern religions, Buddhism, etc.

    Thanks for pointing that out. I actually don’t have a big argument with the Catholic church regarding Catholic practices being now introduced into the Nazarene church; these practices are being borrowed from the RCC, as opposed to the RCC doing some kind of overt movement to bring them in.
    Am I making sense? It’s late and I got tired quickly tonight, but I wanted to respond to your comment.

    Oh, and if there is anything that I have misspoken about RCC teachings, please feel free to comment and point that out. I do not claim to be an expert on Roman Catholic teachings.
    Manny

  3. Hooray! Yes, you make sense. Going back and reading again, I see where I thought you had said something when actually you didn’t.

    I’m not an expert on Roman Catholic teaching either. I do hope that I know what I believe well enough to defend it. Thank you for giving me the chance.

    It will take me some time, but I will address some things. And thanks again!

  4. I want to thank you again for listening to me. I wanted to clear some things up. I’ll list a few specifically.

    1. The Catholic Church does not teach the worship Mary or any of the saints. I’ve found that often Protestants think so because we part ways on intercession. I’m sorry that we do, but asking someone to pray for us does not mean worship. I’m not sure why you think that Catholics worship Mary so it is difficult for me to address that misconception.

    When I go to Mass it is crystal clear to me who we are worshipping. In our Creed, we say “we worship one God.” We begin our prayers with “In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” I don’t know of any, but if there are Catholics who are confused over who they worship, I feel badly for them, but it is not the Catholic Church’s fault.

    2. So many non-Catholics have told me that as a Catholic I am not allowed to read the Holy Bible. Yet, Vatican II stated clearly, “ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” As a Catholic, I often hear that I am to live the Gospel. How could I try to do that if I didn’t know what the Gospels say? I frequently read my Bible. Each Sunday I listen to several readings from the Bible. As a Protestant growing up and attending Sunday services, I never heard that much of the Bible.

    3. In one of your recent posts you quoted the Catechism and placed that quote within justification. Absolutely incorrect. The quote you referenced is under “the necessity of Baptism,” not justification. Why leave out the ellipses where a very part of the sentence is dropped: {God}himself is not bound by {the sacrament of Baptism}?

    4. Lectio divina is not the same as contemplative prayer. Perhaps it could lead to contemplative prayer. It is referenced twice in the Catechism, but not under the section on contemplative prayer.

    Thanks for hearing me out. As to the Catholic Church providing a broad path, oh dear, not for someone who is sincerely trying to follow Christ, it is not. I know I won’t change your mind. I just don’t want anybody believing things that are not true.

  5. Simone, thanks for the info, I will definitely check these things out. I do consider myself an open minded person and willing to listen to someone’s opinions. As I said, I don’t claim to be an expert on the RCC. I’ll research that some more and get back to you.

    If something is not true, and I have mistakenly understood it to be true, I will be the first to correct any error.

    Blessings
    Manny

  6. I don’t say this in haste, but the RCC has rituals which are questionable and should not be followed. Now, some of these rituals are being introduced into Protestant denominations and our Nazarene universities. What I know from my years of having Catholic co-workers and discussing our different beliefs is listed below. I have one co-worker go so far as to tell me that I’m part of a false religion and that Catholics have the only true Bible. (i.e the KJV is a false Bbile according to this person)

    Doctrine of the Mass denies the all-sufficiency of the sacrifice of Christ and His finished work on the Cross, the Atonement, which is totally opposite of what the Scriptures teach. The Eucharist is celebrated as a sacrifice that is performed over and over, in which the true elements of Communion that was instituted by Jesus as a remembrance of His atonement, are distorted and treated as a Transubstantiation of Christ’s body and blood. This is heresy and belief in this doctrine can only condemn a soul as it waters down Christ’s atonement for our sin and is cause for such confusion when Jesus says things like “I am the bread of life”. (John 6:35, 48) Does this mean He is a literal loaf of bread from heaven?! I should think not! No more than He is literally a vine. But this is the confusion that is the result of Transubstantiation doctrine. Catholic doctrine and the Eucharist imply that Christ’s atonement was not sufficient and that other “works” are needed. A Catholic follower has no assurance of his or her salvation, and so the doctrine of purgatory is a man-made, corrupt invention as a “place” to send Catholic souls after death and with which the Catholic Church has profited tremendously. The Mass tells of Christ’s sacrifice to the extreme but nothing about His resurrection. This is a huge defect, because 1 Cor. 15:17 says, “If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.” Catholics are indoctrinated to put the Eucharist in place of Christ, which is wrong. The Eucharist as a ritual cannot possibly save. Romans 6:10 says, “For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.” Therefore, a man-made ritual like the Eucharist that emphasizes the sacrifice over and over through the doctrine of transubstantiation violates and adulterates the atonement of Christ, which was declared as “finished” when Jesus breathed his last breath, three days before He was resurrected. (John 19:30) It is therefore unbiblical and should have no place in the Christian’s worship.

  7. I can’t really say anything about your co-workers since I wasn’t there and I don’t know them. I don’t know what was said or how well they know their faith.

    There is really a lot to address, especially in your second paragraph.

    I don’t know where you are coming from on what you are saying. Each time I go to Mass, I repeat with everyone else, “Christ has died, Christ is Risen, Christ will come again.” I’m not sure what you mean where you said Catholics deny Christ’s Resurrection.

    At no point do I see where you have given a real teaching of the Catholic Church. True, Catholics are taught about certain words you are using, but they aren’t taught what you are saying they are taught. If anyone were to attempt to indoctrinate me with what you are saying, I’d run away like the wind. I suppose it works when dealing with people who don’t know anything about the Catholic Church, but why do that? Why give people misinformation?

    Maybe I am mistaken, but honestly it seems like you are trying to scare me. Please know that I have faced many frightening things in my life. I do know a lot about fear. Now that I’m older, I still sometimes can be scared out of my boots. A few months ago I opened a shed outside and right there was a rattler coiled up. I admit it, it scared the liver out of me. But I never ever have been someone to be scared out of my shield of faith. I am a Christian and a Catholic. I am sorry if you think that means I should be scared, but I’m not.

  8. Simone,

    In no means do I attempt to scare you with what I add as my contribution to this website article. My effort is to bring to light the situation that is currently unfolding within the Nazarene denomination and other denominations that believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. My hope and prayers are to bring the lost to the truth of the saving power of Jesus through the sharing of the Gospel.

    I do a lot of research before I write anything to assure that I’ve done my best to contribute accurate and up to date information.

    I’ve cut a portion of a previous contribution I added just recently on a different article posted by Manny Silva.

    It is listed below:

    The Roman Catholic Church, which claims infallibility in its Councils and theological teachings, clearly and emphatically denies the biblical gospel. The Council of Trent declares:
    6th Session, Canon 9: If anyone says that the sinner is justified by faith alone, meaning that nothing else is required to cooperate in order to obtain the grace of justification…let him be anathema.
    6th Session, Canon 12: If anyone shall say that justifying faith is nothing else than confidence in the divine mercy which remits sins for Christ’s sake, or that it is this confidence alone by which we are justified: let him be anathema.
    6th Session, Canon 30: If anyone says that after the reception of the grace of justification the guilt is so remitted and the debt of eternal punishment so blotted out to every repentant sinner, that no debt of temporal punishment remains to be discharged either in this world or in purgatory before the gates of heaven can be opened, let him be anathema.
    7th Session, Canon 4: If anyone says that the sacraments of the New Law [canons and decrees of the Church] are not necessary for salvation but…without them…men obtain from God through faith alone the grace of justification…let him be anathema.

    “Anathema,” in these decrees (which are still in force), condemns anyone who rejects the Roman Catholic Church’s false gospel of works.

    Starting with the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, where only superficial changes were made (because infallible dogmas cannot be changed!), Rome launched an ecumenical program aimed at seducing Protestants worldwide and, specifically, evangelicals in the United States. The goal was and is to bring all of Christendom under the rule of the Roman Catholic Church with the pope as its spiritual head. Predictable progress has been made in Europe and the U.S. among liberal denominations that have long abandoned the Scriptures. Astonishing, however, is the success the scheme has had among American evangelicals. Now, we have the RCC moving into conservative/fundamental Evangelical denominations.

    I have read many articles on individuals who have left the Cathlolic Church because of these teachings once they realized the truth about the true Gospel of Jesus vs. what the RCC claims as its gospel.

    Acts 17:11 (KJV) …in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

    I want to make one thing clear Simone and that is I am not saying you are not a Christian because you are Catholic. What I’m doing is sharing what is true about the RCC as a religious organization.

    Brad

  9. I understand what you are saying about what is happening within your church. Are you saying there is a conspiracy by the Roman Catholic Church? It would be impossible for anybody to make your church into a Catholic one. I understand that perhaps some people may be trying to make it look Catholic, but I can assure you that Rome is not going to approve of a church that “wears a Catholic costume.”

    There is no secret movement where the Catholic Church is trying to “move into” what evangelicals are doing. I would need some more clear and convincing evidence than just your allegation.

    If you really want to step back to the 1500s and re-argue what was going on back then, I’m not sure I’m up to it, but it would be a learning experience, so why not? I don’t find it easy to access documents from this time period, could you give me a reference document for the quote you provided?

    I checked the King James Version and found anathema there so the word is not one the Roman Catholic Church pulled out of thin air. We laypeople don’t really even use that word anymore. I think long ago it was used to mean “to place aside.” In modern times, I think excommunication would be used. As a non-Catholic, you could not be excommunicated (I’m assuming you have not been). I understand that as Paul was using the word, he meant “let him be cursed.” Unless you can offer some evidence to the contrary, I’m saying the Council of Trent and the Council of Nicea meant “to place aside,” or excommunicate, rather than “let him be cursed.”

    I do take exception to what you are saying about the Catholic Church giving a false gospel based on works. Unless I am not reading correctly, I cannot see anywhere in the quote you gave from the Council of Trent a statement regarding works. There was a lot the Catholic Church was dealing with back then. Living in modern times, I check the Catechism 1997 edition. I’m just not finding this gospel of works you’re talking about that I have to accept as a Catholic or I will be “anathema.”

    Vatican II also occurred a while ago. Again, since you are not Catholic, I can’t see where anything from Vatican II applies to you. I can’t make a claim to know so very much about Vatican II, but I have never heard of the agenda you claiming. Could you tell me some more about how the goal of Vatican II was to “seduce” Protestants?

    Are you sure you understand the Catholic Church’s teaching about infallibility? Since the Catechism of the Catholic Church is where the teachings of the Church are, perhaps we could look up infallibility and really get a handle on it? As I remember it is restrictive, not some wide-sweeping web as you present it to be.

    I know what you are saying about Catholics leaving the Church and becoming Protestants. On the other hand, there are many former Protestants entering my Church. They too have written articles and books. For myself after reading them, I do not conclude that Protestant Churches are bad, or have some wicked agenda. But I reckon Act 17:11 applies to those former Protestants as well.

    I do not see where you have stated any truth about the Catholic Church. I’m not trying to fuel your fire. I just don’t see where you have done that.

  10. Mr White, I am sorry about your technical difficulties. Those can be frustrating, I know. It is not necessary that you reply. I was just defending my faith by pointing out things that weren’t true.

    The Roman Catholic Church is not your enemy. Our enemy is the same. I know, not popular to discuss, but a fact.

    Our beliefs are not the same and only one of us is right, but our goal is a common one. That is to serve the Kingdom, to serve Jesus Christ by doing what He asked us to do. To save souls.

    Peace,
    Simone

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