September 09, 2010
The apostle Peter wrote the following to some first century followers of Christ ...
"... worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ." [1 Peter 3:15-16. NLT]
The word translated "explain" in our English language (or "reason" in other translations) is the Greek word apologia, which means to give an account of yourself (in a legal sense) or an explanation and defence of your beliefs. From this thoughts emerges the concept of "apologetics", which refers to the development of a reasoned argument for a belief or set of beliefs.
Our faith as Christians involves a great degree of trust, but it is not faith without reason. There are good reasons for faith and we need to be prepared to share them with others. In helping to equip ourselves to know what we believe and why we believe it, there are a number of excellent resources. Here are a few that I would highly recommend:
- www.apologetics.org - a web site sponsored by the C.S. Lewis society.
- Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (CARM) - a web site dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith.
- www.apologetics.com - a web site dedicated to challenging believers to think and thinkers to believe.
- Ravi Zacharias Ministries - Ravi's ministry has some excellent resources on apologetics.
- Lee Strobel - Lee was once a devout atheist but came to faith in Christ after investigating the claims of Jesus. He has produced a variety of very good videos and books, including the best-selling The Case for Christ.
- N.T. Wright - Tom Wright is one of today's leading biblical scholars. His writings provide a wealth of material for thinking Christians.
- Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis - this classic is still one of the best explanations of the Christian faith.
As we share about our faith, God does not desire us to do so in an argumentative manner. After all, it is ultimately the Spirit of God that reveals Christ to the human heart, even though truth is often a part of the process.
Good links Mark. I have struggled for years with those who say "you just have to have faith". Faith is essential for salvation, but not sufficient for helping others overcome their doubts. We should have a reason to believe and be ready to share it.
I have found Greg Koukle and the team at Stand to Reason http://www.str.org to be excellent at helping believers learn to gently but persuasively defend their faith.
The scientist in me has thirsted for more on the science/creation debate and while there are several good ones here, many with slightly different views and angles, I find the Reasons to Believe team under Dr Hugh Ross http://www.reasons.org/ to be the most even handed and respectful of believes and philosophies different from their own.
Hope this helps people who are interested in this area.
Posted by: DeltaKnowledge | September 10, 2010 at 01:28 AM
having been an atheist (and thinking people who believed in God were idiots and having taught on evolution myself), i now have a firm/total belief in God due to http://creation.com/ (they also have a variety of good articals) and http://www.answersingenesis.org/ are also very good (both these sites are also consistent with the bible) and yes lee strobels book "a case for Christ" is good for once you believe in God. Dr jonathan Sarfati has a book "the greatest hoax on earth? refuting dawkins on evolution" the best science and religion book i have read
God bless peter
ps can we get the creation.com people from brisbane to talk at our church?
God bless Peter
Posted by: peter | September 10, 2010 at 08:25 AM
The Case for Christ is an excellent book. C S Lewis's Mere Christianity is great too. I love the Ravi Zacharias podcasts, too.
I have to agree with Peter's above comment, too - Dr Jonathan Sarfati's writings and that of his colleagues had a major impact on me before I became a Christian.
They were the first writings that directly answered my own questions of faith, in a clear, reasonable manner that made sense to a layperson like myself with a keen interest in science. I think CMI (www.creation.com) are probably the most under-appreciated apologetics ministries in Australia. It would be fantastic to see them give one of their talks at CityLife.
Posted by: F. Lokot | September 10, 2010 at 12:04 PM
PS Thanks Mark for the link to CARM, I have just had a look at their site and it looks like a fantastic apologetics resource.
Posted by: F. Lokot | September 10, 2010 at 12:54 PM
May God Bless all those that believe....and those that are on their way to believing.
Posted by: Alice Kua | April 30, 2011 at 08:53 AM