Contend For The Faith

“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” – Jude 1:3

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” – 1 Peter 3:15.

Apologia

This Greek word is the source of our word “apologetics”, which means a defense of the faith. The word here used in the Bible as “Apologia” in the Greek under the term “answer” as it appears in 1 Peter 3:15 means “A verbal defense, speech in defense, a reasoned statement or argument.” This is of course according to Thayer’s Greek dictionary. Being the branch of theology which focuses on a defense of the faith, you would think that Christians might see this to be more important.

An effective defense of the faith requires a person to be studious. I would suspect you would have to read works that have been written answering charges, take the time to research what others have done in this branch of theology, learn what the different logical fallacies are, and spend the time answering attacks on the faith. I’ve run into too many who consider this to be a waste of time. Some of the reasons cited are the idea that you should spend your time studying the truth, and often an illustration of how “they” don’t spend time studying the counterfeit dollar in order to spot the fakes but instead study the genuine.

Comments which imply that people think apologetics is about arguing with others are occasionally made. Then others will still say they don’t have the time to spend in studying into something which isn’t true. We then start to wonder why it is that our youth sometimes leave the churches in droves, and it is so hard to answer the charges of atheists. I know that some in my church have struggled to answer questions which relate to God’s existence. Challenging questions like “who made God” and “why does he allow evil” are the stumps which Christians of different faiths have a tendency to trip over, including the issue of “why Did God command Genocide?”

I’ve had an interesting experience in this area myself. So much so that I would say my encounters with opposition to the Christian faith have been quite insightful. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity for door to door work. Knocking on doors is a very rich experience, in which you gain an intimate understanding of evangelism and what kinds of attitudes exist in the world. A friend of mine once said that, “you’re getting the whole gambit.” I’ve met all kinds of people knocking on doors, and have enough experiences where I could probably write a book chronicling my story.

But I learned something very important when I was beating on doors. Upon occasion, an atheist answered the door. From these people I have been told I’m following a ridiculous path, that my testimony is an example of a coincidence, that there is no God because if he existed he wouldn’t allow evil, that God himself must be evil because of apparently messed up things in the old testament, and that he cannot be real because they’ve found alien skeletons on the moon. I think the attack I’ve heard the most is, “who made God?”

While this was discouraging at first, it drove me to study into apologetics. I have to admit that I have much to learn. But I’ve discovered that the question of “who made God” is a lot like the controversy surrounding Arianism, in which those who’re into false theology claim that Christ is a created being. If God was made than he obviously isn’t God, and thus the question cancels itself out. Alien skeletons on the moon is of course a laughable argument. But this is all beside the point. We as Christians need to know why we believe what we believe.

An argument often used by Atheists is that if you were born in some other country, you would be a part of a different religion. Thus it is claimed that you have been brain washed into accepting your current beliefs, that in applicable cases you’re only following it because your family has, and so on. We need to know why we believe what we believe as Christians, and not find ourselves going to a particular church because our parents always went to it. There is a real need to study into these matters. We often however do not study these things, and thus we’re left defenseless when the arguments of the atheists start pouring in.

We need to be able to respond to some of the attacks on Christianity which exist in our day. We should also understand that it isn’t a denial of faith to be able to explain why you believe in God, as this would be living up to some of the Biblical commands, and the early Christians had apologists in their ranks. Studying into Church History is sufficient to reveal that they had to deal with attacks against Christianity as well. They contended for the faith, responding to these charges at a time when they were also experiencing fierce persecution.

Today we don’t see the importance of this. More likely we don’t want to touch it because it involves the word “study.” If Apologetics requires research and studying, some of the masses who don’t like to read or barely get into their Bibles more than likely wouldn’t touch that branch of theology. Perhaps the thought that enters into their mind is that they should leave it to Ken Ham or Ravi Zacharias. Thus they don’t bother to touch it. This is like leaving evangelism to your pastor.

There are several reasons for why we need to consider the importance of apologetics. One of them is that Christianity is under attack from all directions. There are assaults on the trustworthiness of the Bible, the existence of God, and his character. It comes in a variety of forms from Evolution to the question of why there is an apparent command of Genocide in the Bible. Some of these questions can be very perplexing if you’re confronted with them. While the older people of the Church may be able to dismiss such questions easily, the youth could have their faith completely destroyed. Hence it doesn’t cut it simply to teach Bible stories without providing ample evidence upon which for them to base their faith anymore.

Christianity is also under attack in the form of cults that have arrived upon the scene who wrap themselves in the garments of sheep. The Mormons and the Jehovah’s Witnesses are examples of groups which fit this description. In view of so many attacks from external sources, I think it would behoove you study into the matter. A defense of Christianity is a needed thing, especially if you expect the Youth to stay in the Church.

But alongside them we have internal assaults in the form of heresies around almost every corner, and a mass amount of lay people who are not practicing discernment. Without exaggerating the seriousness of the situation, I would say that there is a spiritual war that is raging out there, and we as Christians are often busy posting things on Facebook like “post amen and God will bless you with such and such.” But as the video below demonstrates, some of us can’t even pick up on when something is quoted outside of its context.

Jacob Dufour is honestly some one I know almost nothing about. In the video he claims to be a Christian filmmaker. I’ve never seen any of his movies. This YouTube video is about as close as it gets to me watching something produced by him, and I stumbled across it because a friend of mine on Facebook shared it on their timeline. In turn I shared it on mine, because ultimately the message of this video is something that we as Christians need to see and consider. Thus it wound up in this post, as I thought it was very fitting with the subject in question. But because I do not know if everything he produces is Biblical, I thus will not say that I endorse all of it. If you watch anything of his in the future, do so with the very same critical eye that he admonishes you to have.

This video displays an overall lack of discernment, and perhaps even Bible study, on the part of the majority of Christian laypeople. What is worse is one of the individuals whom he was conversing with claimed to be a pastor, and mistook the quotation cited [which was originally from the devil as you saw], as being “our Lord Jesus.” Apologetics helps with the external assaults, but when the battle involves heresies floating around within the Church, especially in the form of prosperity gospel trash, you will need discernment. In fact, this video would cause me to go so far as to say that we’re in trouble. Why is it that I say this?

  1. A quotation which was taken out of context was accepted as truth because it sounded nice and inspirational.
  2. It stands to reason that if almost 97% of Christians conversed with were duped by a quote taken out of context as a simple experiment to see if they were serious, than they would likely be deceived on a more regular basis. Therefore they may accept all kinds of heresies as truth just because a quote was taken out of context to support it and it sounded “inspirational.”
  3. This was a statement taken straight from the mouth of Satan while Jesus was tempted. If Christians were duped by this, what will they do when the deceptions of the last days are multiplying around them? [2 Thessalonians 2:8-9, Revelation 16:13-14, Matthew 24:4-5.]

Christians really are in trouble, and especially at a time in which the battle for the faith thickens around us. Scanning through the WordPress reader, at times I’ve come across some blogs that have been produced by other Christians who’re an inch away from leaving the faith. Some of the earlier blogs I found when I started this ministry were by people expressing doubts about the truthfulness of the Bible and the existence of God. A friend of mine from the Bible college I went to suggested one of them was taking a bite out of “secular humanism.” They were definitely heading in the direction opposite of belief in God, as the title for their blog gave this suggestion. I battled back and forth with the person over Conditional Immortality in their blog comments for a time, not realizing that there was no way on earth they would listen to me. It was sad, because I was drawn into the fray over the fact that a part of the reasoning behind their doubts about God’s existence was the issue of an eternally burning hell.

Another blog that I found spoke about how there is no evidence to back Christianity up. The writer was going so far as to say that the “faith once delivered to the saints” was entirely fictional, and that learning this was a heart wrenching experience for them. It is saddening to come across something like that, but it can be directly charged to a neglect of study on the part of Christians. We not only do not study our Bibles or neglect to fact check those who quote something out of context, but we neglect an important branch of theology that would have us prepared to deal with such situations!

It is high time for us as Christians to awaken from our slumber. We need to be like the bereans, and we need to know why we believe what we believe. We cannot be the lukewarm pew warmers that some have been. There is a real need right now for us to be awake, especially if we genuinely believe that we’re approaching the final days of this earth’s history.

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