Friday, March 19, 2010

Making a Defense

1 Peter 3:13-17 (ESV)
Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? [14] But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, [15] but in your hearts regard 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; [16] yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. [17] For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil.

But in your hearts regard 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.
Do you have a reason? Do you have a reasonable reason, one that actually appeals to reason? Today so much of what is considered as evangelism is nothing but manipulation of emotions. Peter, though, talks about apologetics, defense, reason. He believes that people can be persuaded to believe. And a person can. This is actually, contrary to neo-orthodoxy, and the position adopted concerning apologetics by many even in confessional Lutheran circles, the orthodox Lutheran position. No man by himself can’t think his way into belief in Jesus Christ, that is clear. But the Holy Spirit can work on a man’s thinking capabilities to reason him into the faith with a clear presentation of the gospel. It has happened and it can happen. And there are plenty of books out there to help you develop a cognitive argument for the faith. the best are actually written by Lutherans, “The Defense Never Rests” “History and Christianity” to name just a couple. Be ready to make a defense.

3 comments:

Rev. Daniel Robert Skillman said...

Best one-stop shopping for Christian apologetics, William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, 3rd ed. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2008).

As Lutherans, we'll disagree with some of what Craig says, especially about the "immediate experience of the Holy Spirit." Nevertheless, this is an excellent resource. If you own only one book on Christian apologetics, it should be this one.

Check out his reasonablefaith.org.

In Christ,
Daniel

Bror Erickson said...

I do not believe there should be any one stop shopping when it comes to apologetics. Though I found Geisler to be ineffectual. I'll have to check this out when I have more time.

Rev. Daniel Robert Skillman said...

So, true. There should NOT be only "one stop" on the apologetics trail. But IF you own only one apologetics book, then I think Reasonable Faith is the one to own. I have Geisler's Christian Apologetics, too. It's OK. Reasonable Faith blows it away.

Anyway, one could dive into apologetics and collect shelves full of books. Most folks don't have the time or money to invest in all that though.

But, for those who might want just a few that cover a some key topics, here are a couple more suggestions:

A helpful book on the existence of God that doesn't get TOO technical would be Geisler/Turek's "I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist".

Since Hume's argument against miracles seems to appear in every atheist/resurrection-denier's tool box, Geivett/Habermas' eds. "In Defense of Miracles" is a nice to have around.

With the popularity of Bart Ehrman's book on textual criticism, "Misquoting Jesus," it might be handy to have Tim Paul Jones' "Misquoting Truth" on the shelf. This could be really helpful in Mormon country, since like Ehrman, they say that the NT has come down to us in a hopelessly corrupt form.

When it comes to historical Jesus studies and the historical reliability of the synoptic tradition, Eddy/Boyd's "The Jesus Legend" probably takes the cake.

I have about a dozen or so books on the Resurrection alone. The most accessible is probably Habermas/Licona's "The Case for the Resurrection".

God / Miracles / NT Text / NT Historical Reliability / The Resurrection... Yeah, that covers the major ground.