Do We Really Need Apologetics?

I felt it quite worth the mention to bring up the sometimes-controversial topic of apologetics. For some, apologetics is unnecessary – regarded as being a contradiction of faith. For others, maybe apologetics is all about winning arguments. However, regardless of the many presuppositions of apologetics, it is important to first consider all the arguments before committing to opinion. So, I’ve taken the liberty to list FIVE arguments that I think are worth considering before formulating an opinion about the necessity of apologetics.  


1. It’s a biblical mandate to gain an understanding in apologetics.

The term “apologetics” is derived from the Greek apologia, which means to ‘make a reasonable defense.’ The often-cited verse for this claim is 1 Peter 3:15, which says “but in your hearts honor 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.” Thus, we know it is a biblical command, a command from God, to make a defense to anyone who asks for a reason for the hope that is in us.

However, please note that this verse also prescribes the condition in which the defense is being given. 1 Peter 3:15 says that we are to make a defense to anyone who asks. This is an important distinction to be made. Don’t believe that apologetics is to be used in an ostensibly offensive manner, for that is contrary to the meaning of apologia. Apologia is to “make a defense.” And all the while, we are to “honor Christ the Lord as holy” and give our defense “with gentleness and respect.” Apologetics is not about winning arguments, it’s about responding to the questions of a skeptic with reason and respect.

2. Apologetics is necessary for evangelism.

Evangelism, deriving from the Greek euangelion, meaning “the good news”, is another biblical command. Evangelism is the work that is fulfilled from obeying the biblical command to go and to share the “good news,” which is the gospel message. This command is given to us in many places in Scripture, to name just a few: Mark 16:15, Matthew 28:18-20, and Matthew 9:37-38.

The command to evangelize only gives more credence to the need for apologetics, because apologetics is often a necessary step before presenting the gospel. Not only is it often a necessary step, it’s the perfect intro to present the gospel with – to present it as a clear and reasonable discussion! If someone were to ever ask you why it is that you’ve decided to be a Christian, it means they’re curious (or potentially seeking to be argumentative, but nevertheless it’s an opportunity to present your answer). Therefore, it is necessary to grasp a good understanding of apologetics, so you can answer the questions that are to come. Just think of it as ‘pre-evangelism’; a necessary step before evangelism.

3. Studying apologetics strengthens your personal conviction.

For far too long surveys have been revealing the large number of youths that leave the church after high school. Most surveys report numbers higher than 75%. Why is this so? Maybe it’s because “college professors are five times more likely to be atheists than the general public.” [1] Is that why? Perhaps, but probably not. College professors can hold the ability to promote a secular or naturalistic worldview if they wish, but that influence is only going to leave an impact on the mind of a student who doesn’t have a strong conviction behind their own belief system. So, “it’s not so much that Christian minds are lost at college – it’s that Christian minds rarely get to college.” [1]

Apologetics is necessary because many Christians lack an understanding of the origin of their own Christian world view. True? I think so. Many Christians never even discover apologetics until after their profession of faith, they “simply responded to the proclamation of the gospel.” [2] In other words, a lot of proclamations of faith are simply the consequence of an experiential “God-moment.” There is nothing wrong with this, for that is the power of the gospel, but this kind of conviction can often be explained away by someone whose goal it is to do so. This is where apologetics helps to increase personal conviction. Apologetics gives us the ability to defend our own conviction by providing us with the cosmological, biblical, historical, archaeological, and moral evidence that points us towards Christ’s existence.

4. Studying apologetics will increase your ability to articulate your personal conviction effectively.

This is a big one, and a bit of a follow-up on the last-mentioned point. Gaining an understanding of apologetics allows you to not only amplify our own personal conviction, but in the pursuit of doing so you will begin to acquire a proclivity towards articulating why it is that you believe. In other words, an increase in the knowledge of apologetics will produce the ability to speak about things that are related to apologetics, quite naturally (and perhaps a bit too obvious, but still worth noting).

To stress this point a bit further, I feel it’s necessary to mention the harsh actuality that Christians are not commonly thought of as individuals who are capable of presenting a reasonable defense for why they believe in the Christ. This observation, I will admit, is rather conjectural and only based on anecdotal evidence but I believe it’s true. And it’s not a fact that I am elated to propose, nevertheless I’m proposing it because I believe it’s ostensibly (and unfortunately) true. The bottom line is that Christians shouldn’t just be advised to study apologetics, we should feel obligated as Evangelicals to have the ability to speak eloquently when it comes to the topic of our faith and our conviction thereof. Afterall, there exists the command to “Walk in wisdom towards outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” (Col. 4:5-6).

5. Studying apologetics grants discernment towards false teaching and prevents apostasy.

Apologetics goes deeper than merely defending the faith against the questions of skeptics. Since apologetics deals with defending the faith, it’s breadth of learning goes far beyond making cases for creationism or objective morality. Again, apologetics is concerned with “defending the faith.” This means that there will be moments when you should be “prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you”, and there will be times when you should be able to make a defense to anyone who seeks to undermine the gospel and propose false teachings. This distinction could be referred to as external vs. internal apologetics.

It should be mentioned that every book within the New Testament except Philemon gives warning against false teaching and apostasy. [3] In Jude we are told that false teachers have “crept in [the church] unnoticed” and therefore we must “contend for the faith.” This word “contend” leaves us with no room to believe that this is a command for passivity. This is a command to all believers, and it is the command to contend, fight, maintain, and struggle for the faith. The command is given because false teachers will always be a threat to the church. Therefore, it is every Christian’s directive to be biblically-educated and to remain watchful over the flock. It is those who are biblically illiterate and lacking in theological discernment, those who are unable to make a defense that remain susceptible to being swept away by false teaching.


Noteworthy quotes about apologetics

“The charge of the Christian is not to withdraw from the world and lead an insular life. Rather, we are to be engaged in the culture, to be salt and light. The solution to this problem is for believers to become informed in doctrine, the history of their faith, philosophy, logic, and other disciplines as they relate to Christianity. They need to know the facts, arguments and theology and understand how to employ them in a way that will effectively engage the culture. In short, the answer is Christian apologetics.”Doug Powell

“If Christians continue to rely on emotion and ignore evidence, they will continue to lose their children to secularism. As Ravi Zacharias points out, a tepid Christianity cannot withstand a rabid secularism. And make no mistake – secularism is rabid. The world isn’t neutral out there. Today’s culture is becoming increasingly anti-Christian. Every day the media and academia pound out an incessant drumbeat against the Christian faith, some to the point of mockery. They depict Christianity as completely unreasonable.”Frank Turek

“For me, apologetics proved to be the turning point of my life and eternity.  I’m thankful for the scholars who so passionately and effectively defend the truth of Christianity – and today my life’s goal is to do my part in helping others get answers to the questions that are blocking them in their spiritual journey toward Christ.”Lee Strobel

“Moreover, Christians must be pastoral in their apologetic practices. We must care deeply for the lost, not simply desire to defeat their arguments. The stakes are too high for apologetic one-upmanship.”Douglas Groothius  

“This, then, is the ultimate apologetic. For the ultimate apologetic is: your life.”William Lane Craig

I am appointed for the defense of the gospel.”Paul, Philippians 1:6b


[1] Turek, Frank. Stealing from God: Why Atheists Need God to Make Their Case. (Nashville, TN.: NavPress, 2014), xxvi.

[2] Powell, Doug. Holman QuickSource Guide to Christian Apologetics. (Nashville, TN.: B&H Publishing Group, 2009), 7.

[3] https://www.gotquestions.org/apostasy.html

Does the Bible Really Say That…? (Marriage, Hell, & Homosexuality)

Anyone who has read Scripture knows there are several laws that exist within Christianity. In fact, there are over 600 commandments that are given throughout the entirety of Scripture. Whereas not all of these apply to Christians, who are under the new covenant law, there still remains plenty of laws we are to follow. We are to love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind (Mt. 22:37) We are not to commit murder, theft, idolatry, or bear false witness (Mk. 10:19). And we are to love our neighbor as ourselves (Mt. 22:38). These are laws that we’re all generally aware of, and are rather easy to assent to. However, there are a variety of hard pills to swallow that Christianity also prescribes.

There can be moments when we read Scripture and are challenged with one of God’s mandates, and we find ourselves asking “Does the Bible really say that?”

This questioning is often the result of a cultural “truth” being confronted with one of God’s truths.

There are many things that our culture claims to be acceptable or normal, and there are many things that God has declared to be unacceptable and immoral. It’s no wonder we have so many questions about the Bible…

Therefore, I am going to address a few questions that I think are commonly questioned by individuals within the American culture. I will address the following:

  1. Does the Bible really say you can’t have sex before marriage?
  2. Does the Bible really say that homosexuality is a sin?
  3. Does the Bible really say that non-Christians go to hell?

Does the Bible really say you can’t have sex before marriage?

This question is a common one because it is the perfect example of a cultural “truth” coming face-to-face with God’s truth. I believe people often raise this question, not due to confusion, but because they don’t want it to be true. Nevertheless, it is an important topic that needs to be addressed.

To be straight forward, you will not find a “Hebrew or Greek word used in the Bible that precisely refers to sex before marriage.”[1] However, in 1 Corinthians 7:2 were alluded to the condemnation of sex before marriage: “But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband.”

In this passage, Paul is prescribing marriage to be the solution to sexual immorality, and he is equating sexual immorality to ‘sex before marriage.’ Additionally, the evident “each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband,” is also stated. 

Aside from this passage, the meaning and purpose of marriage can be found at the beginning of Scripture; the beginning of creation.

Genesis 2:24 says “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” Again, Mark 10:8 says, “‘and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh.”

It is of more than passing significance that God declares the unison of marriage to be the bonding of two people into “one flesh.”

God created sex to be experienced, exclusively, within the covenant of marriage.

This is a hard pill to swallow because our culture incessantly promotes promiscuity.

Hollywood Romcoms, the music industry, and reality television are all espousing sex to be a casual encounter that should be enjoyed by all. However, it has to be understood that our culture has moved from being a once Christian nation to a post-Christian nation.

Therefore, nothing that our culture proposes to be normal should ever be taken at face value. The things that our culture advocates should always be compared to God’s Word.

God has spoken richly on this topic and has deemed pre-marital sex to be sinful. In Hebrews 13:4, marriage is held to a high standard and is not to be defiled by casual encounters: “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” God has declared judgment on pre-marital sex.

His judgment is not only received in the life after this, it is received during this life as well. It’s not curious that casual sex is evidently detrimental to the health of the human body. Chlamydia, herpes, syphilis, and HIV (the list goes on) are the result of the normalization of casual sex. Not to mention the contemporary issues of divorce and the egregious reality of abortion, that are almost always associated with premarital sex. Despite your beliefs, even “Mother Nature” is telling us that premarital sex is unnatural.


Does the Bible really say that homosexuality is a sin?

Many people are apprehensive to accept the condemnation of homosexuality because as the common argument goes: “How can homosexuality be a sin if it is rooted in love?”

This is a tough question to answer for that reason exactly. It’s a tough question because it stirs up doubt about the reality of God’s love. We say things like: “If God is so loving, then why would he condemn a relationship between two individuals who love each other?” or “Why would God disapprove of homosexuality if people are born gay?”

This topic is a controversial one indeed. I will do my best to answer it biblically. So, let’s go to Scripture.

To be upfront, God’s word has spoken about homosexuality on more than a few occasions, and always speaks towards homosexual behavior as being sinful. (Lev. 18:22; 20:13, Rom. 1:26-27, 1 Cor. 6:9-10, 1 Tim. 1:8-10)

I realize that I’ve mentioned laws from the Old Testament that regard homosexuality to be sin, and that not all Old Testament laws are still applicable. Therefore, we can cast these aside for the sake of argument.

However, in regard to the other three times that Scripture mentions homosexuality in the New Testament, the context is never positive and regards homosexuality to be sinful.

Romans 1:26-27

A read through this passage will tell you that God has explicitly stated that homosexuality is “unnatural,” “shameful,” and deserving of “due penalty.” This passage in Scripture also reveals that the causation behind homosexual behavior is the result of people denying God’s existence. To deny God is to deny his precepts, his truth, and his very nature. And when people continue in their sin and disbelief, God “gives them over” to their desires. Click here to read more on this commentary.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10

It is worth noting that this passage lists sexual immorality and homosexuality as being sinful. The distinction between the two is used in order to create clarity. Homosexuality is listed in this passage as being sinful, and that those who practice homosexuality “will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

1 Timothy 1:8-10

This passage also differentiates between sexual immorality and homosexuality (this distinction should be noted due the possible argument that would propose homosexuality to not be regarded as sexually immoral). The context of this passage is making an argument for the purpose of the law. It’s stated that the law is made for the lawbreakers, so that they may know the laws in which they are breaking. This passage declares a list of different crimes, to include murder, lying, and homosexuality. Homosexuality is listed among the long list of crimes that are committed by “lawbreakers.” And to break a law of God’s is to commit sin.

This is a hard pill to swallow because our culture incessantly promotes sexual fluidity.

God has deemed from the beginning of creation that man and woman were made, exclusively, for each other.  The Bible says, “at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife (Mk. 10:6-7).”

God has left us with no room for confusion on the topic of homosexuality.


Does the Bible really say that non-Christians go to hell?

Yes.

Jesus says in John 14:6 “I am the way, and the truth, and the light. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

This is one of the keystone verses in the Bible. It is by these words that the entirety of Scripture is held together in cohesion and purpose.

By definition, a Christian is a follower of Christ. A Christian is one who understands that it is never by their own merit or achievement that they will enter through the gates of heaven, thus they have chosen to believe in, trust, and follow Jesus Christ, the way, the truth, and the light.

Scripture tells us in Isaiah 64:6 that “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.” It is not by anything that we can accomplish that we will pass through the gates of heaven. We have all “sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).

We have all sinned and are unworthy of inheriting the Kingdom of God. However, it is by God’s love for us that he has changed our destiny.

God does not focus his attention on condemnation, he focuses it on forgiveness. John 3:16-17 says “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

God is not a tyrant who sits in heaven and rejoices over the damnation of his lost children. He mourns over them. God went so far as to take upon the flesh and suffer the punishment of the cross just so that he could be with us. 1 Timothy 2:4 says that God “desires all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.”

Jesus desires for all of us to be saved. Thus, he has paved the way to an eternity with him. By his own blood he has secured our salvation.

He is “the way.” He is not just a way. He is the only way. Therefore, to deny Christ is to deny heaven. A non-Christian cannot inherit the Kingdom of God.

This is a hard pill to swallow because our culture incessantly promotes absolute tolerance and cultural inclusivity.

This is not a xenophobic statement.

The truth is, there can be only one truth. To miss the truth is to be deceived, and to be deceived in this life is to spend the next life in hell. There can only be one religion that is true, and it’s Christianity.

A Christian should never condemn someone for believing in a religion other than Christianity, but that person will be mourned for if they die believing in anyone other than Christ Jesus.

We are all equal in one regard: we have all sinned, and we are all worthy of hell. It is by Christ and Christ alone that we will spend eternity in heaven. He is the only way, and the only truth, and the only light.


[1] https://www.gotquestions.org/sex-before-marriage.html

Why Does God Allow Evil?

When I look at the world around me, I find that I don’t have to look very far to see all sorts of evil and unnecessary suffering, and often it has driven me to ask “Why would God allow any of this?

The first thing that needs to be addressed when we attempt to answer a painful question like this is the assumption that is driving the question. When we see evil, are we wondering whether God created it, whether He allows it, or whether He even has the power to stop it? So, in order to answer this question accurately we must first ask ourselves what it is that we are assuming about the reality of evil and how it relates to God’s sovereignty.

Often the inquiry about the existence of evil is this: If God is so good and sovereign, then why is it that He would allow so much evil to exist in the first place?

This inquiry is often motivated by a familiar assumption, one that even St. Augustine was puzzled by. It goes something like this:

“God created all things.

Evil is a thing.

Therefore, God created evil.”[1]

The logic of this thought sequence makes perfect sense, however the assumption itself is false. It’s false because it posits that ‘evil is something.’ I would argue that evil cannot be something, because it’s too preoccupied with being nothing at all. You see, evil is not something that was created, but instead it is the deprivation of something else: good. I’m not denying that evil exists, I am claiming that evil cannot exist by itself. Good exists, and it is from God. Evil exists, and it is the lack of good.


The Tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil

To explain why it is that evil exists, it is necessary to go back to the beginning of creation, in the first chapters of Genesis. In Genesis 2 we are given a more in depth view of the sixth day of creation – the day God created mankind. On the day God created mankind He also gave the first commandment in Scripture: “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;  but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die (Gen. 2:16-17).”

I know what you’re thinking: “Why would God put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden if eating from it would result in death?” However, if we’re going to ask this question then it is equally fair to propose another question: “What would have happened if God had not created the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?” I’ll first answer the latter.

If God would not have created the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, then He would not have been able to create mankind with the nature to have free will. Had God created the garden of Eden exactly as it was, without the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, then Adam and Eve would have had no other option than to strictly obey all that God would ask of them – they would have been slaves. Where is the love in that?

To love someone is to give them free will. God could not force Adam and Eve to love Him in the same way that we cannot force anyone to love us, or that anyone can force us to love them. It has to be a choice – it has to come from free will. This is what the tree symbolizes, and this is why God put it in the garden. He wanted them to have free will and to be able to willingly choose rather to love and obey Him or to turn and disobey. He did it out of love.

So, to answer the former question, God placed the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden because He had to give mankind free will. Without free will God would have made Himself a tyrant, but God is not a tyrant. God loves us and He desires for us to love Him back, thus He has given us free will.


The Fall

When God granted Adam and Eve free will He also gave them the ability of contrary choice, that is, the ability to choose what is contrary to God’s will. His will was for them to obey, however Adam and Eve were free to disobey.

In Genesis 3 we are introduced to what is commonly referred to as “The Fall.” The Fall is the point in time in which evil entered into the world.

Before this point in time, the Garden of Eden was pure paradise. For when God was finished with creation He said that “it was very good (Gen 1:31).” The Garden of Eden didn’t have any harmful plants; there were no “thorns or thistles,” there were no natural disasters, there were no predatory animals, for they all lived in harmony with Adam and Eve. There was no evil to be found. Adam and Eve were so innocent and void of corruption that they could not even perceive their own nakedness.

However, at the moment that Adam and Eve chose what was contrary to God’s will, and eat from the one tree that He had commanded them not to eat from, sin was made known. Sin was made known and evil entered into the world. The ground became cursed, harmful plants were made manifest, the ability to experience pain was introduced, and now we live in a fallen world where death exists.

As I’ve said earlier, evil was not created, but instead it entered into the world after the completion of creation, due to mankind’s sin.

So, “Why does God allow evil?”

God allows evil because mankind has chose to bring it into this world. The fallen world we know is the result of Adam and Eve’s decision to choose what was contrary to God’s will. God created paradise, whereas mankind summoned chaos.

However, despite our wickedness God has paved the way back to Him. He has sent Christ Jesus into the world to rescue, redeem, and restore what was broken in the fall of Adam and Eve: our relationship with Him. No one is without sin except the perfect Son of God, our Savior Jesus Christ. He has come down from heaven, taken on the flesh, and has sacrificed Himself to atone for our sins. It is only through Him that we can ever expect to find the paradise that we are all in search of. Jesus is “ the way and the truth and the life,” and no one can come to the Father except through Him.


[1]  Geisler, Norman and Frank Turek. I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist. (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2004), 177.

Are We Here by Accident?

How many times do you think you would have to accidentally spill paint on a canvas in order to create the Mona Lisa?

We of course know it was no mere accident. But how many times do you think that would have to occur before, by pure accident, this famous masterpiece was created? A hundred-thousand? A million? A hundred-million? A billion? A trillion? Who really knows?

We would never even suppose that it were an accident. We look at that painting and we presume that it was created by a clearly talented painter.

Then why is it that when we perceive a two-dimensional object comprised of paint and canvas, it’s easy to assume intelligent design? But yet when we look at the infinite expanse of the cosmos and the infinitesimal infinite; atoms, quarks, neutrinos, etc., and all that’s in between: the vast diversity of plant and animal life, mankind, and how it all fits together – like a pocket watch, with all of its interdependent, coexisting parts working properly – we assume an accident?

And not to mention, in regards to the creation of the Mona Lisa, you would still have to explain how the paint and canvas got there, and who painted it.

If I haven’t yet made it clear, the answer is yes. I undoubtedly believe that the universe was created by a Creator. I do not believe that the universe and all of its concomitants are just the by-product of some sort of accidental, cosmic explosion. When I cast my presuppositions aside, I find that it is impossible to escape the fact that the creation was created with intelligent, precise design and purpose. The universe was, without a doubt, created through intent. But who created it?

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

Genesis 1:1