I recently received a comment on one of my blogs from a sincere and deeply committed Christian who stated that she saw some uses for apologetics, but said she thinks it’s “highly overrated.” She based her opinion on the understanding that Christianity is not reasonable to fallen man, since spiritual truths are spiritually discerned, and “the man of the flesh (an unredeemed person) cannot know the things of the spirit.” She also said that she doesn’t “believe faith has any more to do with the intellect than with the emotions.” This is true for some people with a tendency to be feelings-oriented. Other people, however, are not feelings-oriented. Some folks are more logical while others are more emotional. We must remember that we were all seekers once, starting out with different tendencies. God doesn’t favor one over the other.
Spiritual truths can be known in two ways: a posteriori, truth known by experience, and a priori, truth known by reason. Like many believers, I came to know God by experience: “a posteriori.” Experiences with God were what I based my faith upon, but soon questions came from skeptics that I couldn’t answer. Wasn’t there more to my faith than just my experiences? I ‘reasoned’ there must be! So, I began to study Christian apologetics. I’ve learned that there are many evidences to the Christian faith, and it is comforting to know them. Many wrestle with the intellectual aspects of the Christian claims before they are open to faith in Christ. Knowing apologetics just may be the seed of faith that we can plant in a seeker’s soul.Knowing apologetics just may be the seed of faith that we can plant in a seeker’s soul. Click To Tweet
We are called to be Ambassadors for Christ on Earth, sharing the Gospel. In a country like the United States, this requires greater use of the intellect because, like other western societies, many people have become cynical and distrust authority. Learning apologetics helps to answer tough questions that challenge the Christian, and/or attempt to undermine the Christian faith. Jesus has invited us to proclaim the Kingdom of God, sharing the good news, which often requires removing intellectual and/or emotional stumbling blocks to faith. Ultimately, only God can save a person, but we’re called to do our part.
How, then, do we best share the Good News? The best place to start is by looking at how the Gospel writers shared their faith. They shared their testimonies, but notice something particular in what these testimonies included: “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life…” (1 John 1:1). John testifies to the truth by what he heard, saw, and touched. All of this was empirical evidence of the Risen Lord. Empirical evidence is what scientists base their discoveries on; it’s what you can test with the five senses. This kind of evidence is easy to believe because it’s tangible.
So, why did the disciples repeatedly share the good news of Christ by telling everyone they could about what they had seen and what they had touched? Coming to faith is sometimes the effect of evidence. For example, many people need the extra assurance that the statements in the Bible about Christ are based upon evidence. We must remember that not everyone is wired the same. Some are blessed with the gift of simple faith, and they have no need of empirical evidence: they just believe. Others struggle with faith and need more concrete evidence. Therefore, it is good to know that our faith is not based upon feelings or “blind faith” alone. Peter, Paul, John, and the other disciples repeatedly spoke about what they had seen. They shared their eye-witness testimonies. These accounts given by the disciples were verifiable by their contemporaries, and they may continue to act as a catalyst for the faith of Christians today.
Divine thought: Some people need verifiable facts to place their faith in Christ.