I’m excited about a six-week class on Defending Your Faith that I’ll be teaching at church starting April 15. The class will equip people with knowledge and tactics to strengthen their faith, disciple fellow Christians and reach non-Christians.
What if someone asked you, “Why do you believe in Jesus and how can I?” Or if people said that the Bible was written by men so it must have mistakes? Or that Christianity just borrowed its ideas from other religions? Or that we don’t know what the original writings of the Bible really said? Or one of the many other common objections to Christianity? Do you have accurate and winsome responses for them? This class will equip you with solid and easily understandable answers to common questions and objections about Christianity and the Bible.
As I like to remind Christians, some, but not all, are called to be evangelists . . .
Ephesians 4:11 (ESV) And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers . . .
. . . but all are called to be ambassadors . . .
2 Corinthians 5:20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
. . . and all are called to be defenders of the faith (“apologists”).
1 Peter 3:15–16 (ESV) but in your hearts honor 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; 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.
So if you claim the name of Christ you may or may not be an evangelist, but you are definitely an apologist and an ambassador. The only question is whether you are doing a good job.
With work and practice you will get better at it. You don’t have to be a Wintery Knight, but you will be very glad when God uses your efforts to be able to share his truths with someone who is seeking them.
See the Apologetics links to the right for some great resources. If I could only recommend one site it would be Stand to Reason. Scour the site, listen to the Podcast and read Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions and you’ll be in great shape.
There is a list of some good books to get started at An apologetics Reading Plan for Beginners. Here are some I’ve read or plan to read:
The ten books on the reading plan below are selected specifically for the beginner in apologetics. They are on the list because of their accessibility and their quality of content. The order is provided as a progressive reading plan for those just getting started. Working through this list should give the novice a good foundation before moving on to more advanced titles.
1. The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel
All of Lee Strobel’s books are required reading for two reasons. First, they are good introductions to the subject and provide a good overview of the material from some of the best scholars in their fields. Second, the writing style is very accessible, taking you alongside a journalist in his investigation of the evidence for Christianity. In this particular title, Strobel focuses on the life and identity of Jesus.
2. The Case for a Creator by Lee Strobel
This book is just as readable as The Case for Christ, but this one delves into the evidence for the Creator. Another thing that makes this good reading for the beginner is this: whatever areas you find particularly interesting can be pursued further by reading the sources interviewed in the book.
3. The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel
In The Case for Faith, Strobel moves from making a positive case for Christ and a Creator to defending Christianity from some common criticisms and objections. This one deals with the hard faith questions such as the problem of pain and suffering and issues of doubt. Again, all three of the Lee Strobel books are a great starting point for the beginner.
**Interlude: Watch the The Lee Strobel Film Collection
At this point, now you can take a break from your reading and actually watch a series of three DVDs that are about an hour each. These excellent documentaries follow the same content as the books, along with interviews with experts and specialists. This is a great refresher for what you have read and also makes for a great small group resource and a DVD to lend to a friend.
6. Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions by Greg Koukl
Information without application results in stagnation when it comes to apologetics. That’s why it’s time for a good dose of Tactics, which will train you not only to use apologetic content in everyday life, but it will also train you to be a better, more critical thinker. This is another “must read” book, and mastering its contents early in your apologetic studies will put feet to your faith.
7. The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus by Mike Licona & Gary Habermas
The resurrection of Jesus is central to Christianity. This book equips you to understand and defend the resurrection from an historical perspective. Not only does the book have useful diagrams, summaries, and an accessible style, but it also comes with a CD-ROM with interactive software for teaching you the material. This is an essential book for the apologist.
9. I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be An Atheist by Geisler & Turek
Geisler and Turek have authored a great apologetics book that also takes a step-by-step approach to showing that Christianity is true—and it’s filled with lots of information. This gives the growing beginner a ton of good content, while strengthening the framework of a cumulative case for Christianity. This book will help to grow your overall general apologetic knowledge as well.