Friday, August 29, 2008

I'm convinced that Apologetics--though it is many-faceted--is pretty simple and straightforward. Here are six principles I'm giving in an upcoming Bible study that must be included when you want to share your faith with someone:

1. You must know Christ Yourself (2 Cor 13:5)

Hear Richard Baxter (16th century puritan) speak to this issue [to pastors, but indirectly, this applies to all Christians]: “See that the work of saving grace be thoroughly wrought in your own souls. Take heed to yourselves, lest you be void of that saving grace of God which you offer to others, and be strangers to the effectual working of that Gospel which you preach; and lest, while you proclaim to the world the necessity of a Savior, your own hearts should neglect him, and you should miss of an interest in him and his saving benefits” (Reformed Pastor, 53).

2. You must believe in the Sovereignty of God (Isa 46:8-10)

You cannot save anyone.
Your words cannot save anyone.
Your skillful presentation cannot save anyone.
Only God can save someone.

It is as Greg Bahnsen states: "A successful apologetic, being given according to Christ’s Word and Spirit, is a function of the grace of God, not human cleverness and wisdom" (Bahnsen, Always Ready, 85).

3. You must live a life Distinctly Different than the World (James 4:4)

4. You must actively seek to Initiate the Conversation (Luke 10:1-5; 2 Tim 4:2; Matt 28:18-20).

Ezekiel had to do this. He was called to proclaim God's message to a hard-hearted and stubborn people:

Ezekiel 2:4-5 4 "And I am sending you to them who are stubborn and
obstinate children; and you shall say to them, 'Thus says the Lord God.' 5
"As for them, whether they listen or not-- for they are a rebellious house--
they will know that a prophet has been among them.
5. You must believe that--in their heart--they Already Believe and Know that God Exists (Rom 1:20; 2:14-15).

Bahnsen notes:

It is God’s word which must be our ultimate and indisputable presupposition
in thought and argumentation, rather than independently supported “brute facts”
(ibid., 73).
And again:

The unbeliever should not be left with false pretensions: such as, that his
problem is merely a lack of information, or that he simply needs to correct some
of his syllogisms … The Christian apologist simply recognizes that the ultimate
truth—that which is more pervasive, fundamental, and necessary—is such that it
cannot be argued independently of the preconditions inherent in it. One must
presuppose the truth of God’s revelation in order to reason at all. (ibid.,
75).
6. You must Know and Proclaim the Biblical Gospel (Gal 1:6-9)

a. God
He is Holy Judge
He is Loving Savior
b. Man
We are totally dead in sin
We are unable to save ourselves
c. Jesus
The perfect God-Man
Died for His own
Salvation comes to a sinner by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.
d. Commitment
Being a Christian involves Sacrifice
Being a Christian involves Service
Being a Christian mandates Sanctification
Being a Christian requires Self-denial
Being a Christian requires Submission to God’s Word
e. Heaven/Hell
Eternal life in heaven is the narrow path for those who are saved
Eternal torment in hell is the broad path/way of life for most people in the world.

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