Apologetics

Apologetics and Your Kids: Part 2 - Authenticity & Worldview

Read Part 1.

I have begun this series with this three-part introduction, trying to bring attention to the matter of Truth and the authenticity of our allegiance to it as Christian parents. My concern is that Christians nowadays do not prize Truth for what it is—an attribute of God—but rather treat it as something they can use a bit of when they think it needful. Francis Schaeffer used to say that the Church should live out what he termed “true truth” before the world. But the Church has forgotten the importance of Truth, and its role as the witness to the Truth in this dark and deceitful age. Truth must come first. Our preferences are not that important.

I realize that in putting matters this way I am not going to make many friends. But I am not concerned with making friends so much as with telling it as it is. And the fact is young people raised in Christian homes and attending evangelical churches are leaving those churches in droves.

According to a Barna poll 66% of these kids are deserting their Christian upbringing. And the figure may be even higher. A survey conducted by the SBC asserts that 88% of young people walk away from the faith never to return. And there is no sign of any abatement. Something is badly amiss, and Christian parents especially need to stop pretending everything’s okay so long as their kid or teenager has a good time at church.

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Apologetics and Your Kids: Part 1 - The Price of Truth

We have all read the statistics of young people who flee the Faith in which they have been reared soon after hitting college. There is more than one reason for this defection. The first and most obvious issue is probably the state of the heart. Is this individual actually saved? I’m not asking, “did they think they were saved?” I’m asking “were they saved?”

Now, before someone calls me on stating the obvious, or what is worse, on relying on the easy explanation, let me make a personal observation. This shall also act as my baseline:

In my experience most churches and most Christian parents do not teach the Christian Faith in a way that supports Godward faith in the world we are called to live in. And the major reason for this is a general disinterest in or else fear of doing apologetics.

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Millennial Dawn: A Counterfeit of Christianity

(About this series)

CHAPTER VIII MILLENNIAL DAWN A COUNTERFEIT OF CHRISTIANITY

BY PROFESSOR WILLIAM G. MOOREHEAD, D. D., UNITED PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, XENIA, OHIO

Six rather bulky volumes, comprising in all some 2,000 pages, are published by the “Watch Tower and Tract Society” of Brooklyn, N. Y. The author of this work is Mr. Charles T. Russell. Formerly his publications issued from “Zion’s Watch Tower”, Pittsburgh, Pa. They then bore the somewhat ostentatious title, “Millennial Dawn,” (1886). The volumes now bear the more modest inscription, “Studies in the Scriptures”, (1911). Why the change in the title is made can only be conjectured. Some rather severe criticism and strictures of the views advocated in these books have brought Millennial Dawn into disrepute in the minds of many people, and accordingly we think the former title has been dropped and the later and less objectional one substituted for it. Some color is given to this conjecture by the fact that certain evangelical terms are applied to the movement of which Mr. Russell is the head, as, e. g., “People’s Pulpit of Brooklyn”, “International Bible Students’ League”, “Brooklyn Tabernacle”, “Bible House and Tract Society”, (Our Hope, Feb., 1911). The later title and the various names now freely used tend to allay suspicion and to commend the propaganda of Mr. Russell and his followers to the Christian public.

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Defending the Faith - The Problem of Human Nature

From Voice, Jan/Feb 2015. Used by permission. (Read Part 1.)

Believers best defend the faith by turning the Bible loose through careful, accurate and patient teaching. Ultimately this becomes an issue of biblical anthropology: how do you view man? Is he able to fully comprehend and judge facts as if The Fall (Genesis 3) had no affect upon him?

Biblical view of man

Here’s what I mean. God created everything in the universe and His imprint is seen everywhere in creation because everything came from His hand. But Romans 1:18-23 teaches that man’s problem is not a lack of evidence.

Man’s problem instead is the cognitive, moral deficiency to correctly interpret what he sees. Romans 1:18-23 says that man suppresses the truth displayed in creation/natural revelation and he rejects its message of God’s “eternal power and divine nature” (Romans 1:20) so that all men “are without excuse” (Romans 1:20). Unbelieving humans reject what creation reveals to them.

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Defending the Faith - Turn the Bible Loose

From Voice, Jan/Feb 2015. Used by permission.

I have always found it compelling that in the letter designed to instruct Timothy in how to be a pastor of a local church, the first and last words had to do with defending the faith. At the epistle’s beginning, Paul instructed Timothy to guard the truth in opposition to false teachers (1 Timothy 1:3), and at the epistle’s ending, Paul commanded Timothy to guard the truth that was committed to his trust (1 Timothy 6:20).

In his exhortation to the Ephesian elders, Paul urged them to guard the flock of God from false teachers (Acts 20:28-30). Peter warned against false teachers who would secretly bring in destructive heresies (2 Peter 2:1-3) and who would mock God’s promises (2 Peter 3:3-4); he cautioned his readers to beware and not fall into the error of the wicked (2 Peter 3:17). Jude commanded us to contend earnestly for the faith against false teachers who would attempt to creep into our churches unnoticed (Jude 3-4). And the Lord Jesus taught about the nature of our Adversary who would seek to destroy God’s work in the lives of people (Matthew 13:19) and to deceive everyone possible through his implanted agents (Matthew 13:36-43).

Defending the faith is an essential part of the ministry of pastors and churches!

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Books of Note - Can I Really Trust the Bible? (Questions Christians Ask)

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Trust is a high commodity among people today but it something that is not given as easily as it was a few generations ago. Almost gone are the days where a gentlemen’s agreement was all that was needed between two people. It was possible because people had more trust in one another. Now, trust among people is harder to acquire. This natural reaction to distrust others has affected how people view the Bible. In our post-Christian world people don’t just naturally trust the Bible as reliable, let alone as the Word of God.

Now, more than ever, people want reasons to trust things and they often put a higher demand on religious texts like the Bible. They want to be reassured that there are good reasons to trust the Bible and that it comes from God. In his recent book, Can I Really Trust the Bible?: And Other Questions About Scripture, Truth and How God Speaks, Barry Cooper answer these questions and more. This book is a mini-introduction and apologetic to the doctrine of Scripture for the believer and non-believer alike.

The book is divided into five chapters. The first two chapters answer the question, “Does the Bible claim to be God’s word?” as in both from God Himself (the ‘word’) and revealing God through Christ (THE Word). Cooper does a great job showing the relationship between Scripture as God’s revelation of both His words to man and of Himself to man in Christ. Cooper states:

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Books of Note - How Can I Be Sure? (Questions Christians Ask)

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Doubt. For some it is the seedbed for growth and for others it is a miserable, dark and depressing pit. Everyone has doubts about things. For instance, I doubt I will ever climb Mount Everest, go to the moon or live to see the Detroit Lions have a winning season (sorry Lions fans). But while these are doubts that have little to no impact on my life, what about doubts that hit closer to home? What about doubts that strike at the heart of our personal beliefs which shape our decisions and everyday lives? What about doubts that center around our deepest held religious beliefs? What if I doubt the genuineness of my own faith in Jesus Christ as my Savior?

Doubt is a normal part of the Christian life and seeking to address this issue, John Stevens has written How Can I Be Sure? And Other Questions About Doubt, Assurance and the Bible as part of the Questions Christians Ask series from The Good Book Company. In this short and accessible book, Stevens scratches the surface on the problem of doubt in the Christian life and how to handle it with Biblical counsel.

Many Christians have false ideas and impressions about the nature of doubt and its place in the Christian life. Perhaps it is these false ideas about doubt that cause too many Christians to struggle with it as mush as they do and for as long as they do. After all, if a doubting Christian were looked down upon by his or her peers would they be more likely to tell someone about them?

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