Defending a Defense of the Faith
Isn’t apologetics just for seminary students, pastors and stuffy professor-types? Somehow, many Christians have gotten the idea that apologetics is just a hobby for Christian intellectuals or people who are into debate.
Maybe you know students at your church who’ve sat though an apologetics presentation going, “This might be great for a bunch of science-types, but this stuff isn’t going to work with my friends in soccer.” Why bother studying apologetics at all? Why even defend the faith?
In this post, I’ll share an easy way to defend a defense of the faith when Christian brothers and sisters wonder why we take this stuff so seriously.
Why Defend the Faith?
Why do the hard work of study and learn to defend the faith? Because Jesus gave people reasons to believe; His disciples gave people reasons to believe; and they even said that other disciples should do the same.
That means me. And if you’re a Christian, that means you. Grab your Bible and check this out:
- Jesus gave people reasons to believe (Mark 2:1-12; Acts 1:3).
- Jude told believers to contend for the faith (Jude 3)
- Luke believed eyewitness testimony and careful history would help Theophilus know with certainty that the things he was taught are true. That’s why he wrote Luke-Acts (Luke 1:1-4).
- Peter said to always be ready to give a reason for the hope you have in Jesus, but with humility and respect (1 Peter 3:15).
- Paul was often found explaining and proving that Jesus was the Messiah. Because of this, many Jews and God-fearing Greeks in Thessalonica, for example, were persuaded and followed Jesus (Acts 17:2-4).
Making it Memorable
Ever had trouble remembering the supporting points of an apologetics presentation? Me too.
I’ve taught a number of Communication courses over the years and I’ve discovered something kind of sad: We typically forget 50% of everything we’ve heard—right after someone finishes talking to us. But it gets worse. Because 8 hours later, we’re down to just 20%.
So, what makes up that 20%? It’s the examples; It’s stories, objects, illustrations, and silly little mnemonic devices. These are the kinds of things that tend to stick.
Here’s an example that might help you remember the list of names I just mentioned.
“Jojo Likes Ping Pong”
Last weekend, I told a story at the church in Richardson. Many of the participants were parents, and so I thought of using something that might connect with families, and especially the dads who were there.
I told a little story about my boy, Jojo. Like a lot of kids, he enjoys playing video games on the Wii. One of the games he loves to play is Ping Pong.
All this story did was to recapture the audience’s attention and help me introduce the mnemonic device, “Jojo likes ping pong.” Why? Becasue remembering, “Jojo likes ping pong,” can help you remember the letters, J, J, L, P, P.
This is the kind of thing that helps me remember that:
- Peter and
- Paul believed in persuading and giving people reasons to believe.
Sometimes, cheesy memory tricks are the most effective. If you don’t like that one, make up something you can easily remember. I actually try to share a mnemonic device, story, object or other illustration along with each major concept I share in my apologetics training sessions.
Here’s the point of all this: The Holy Spirit has used believers who reason, persuade, and present evidence to lead people to salvation in Christ.
So why defend the faith? Why give people reasons to believe? Because Jesus gave people reasons to believe; His disciples gave people reasons to believe; and we should do the same.