Represent Christ Well
This probably won't come as a big shock to you but we live in a very different world today than we did a decade or two ago. I personally came to know Christ at a young age. Coming from a very loving home with parents that both taught, and modeled Christ’s love, it was easy for me to accept His love and grace.
As a young man, Josh McDowell’s work was influential in my life. From the Evidence For Faith film series, to the books, Evidence That Demands A Verdict and More Than A Carpenter, his research helped to solidify my faith and gave me a sense of assurance and confidence in my personal walk with Jesus Christ that I had never had before.
Now, having been in full-time Ministry for the last 32 years, I am amazed at how much our culture has shifted over that period of time. As I interact with individuals about the truth, love and mercy of Jesus Christ, my conversations in recent years have become very different than they were several years ago.
As a father with three grown children, I remember those very inquisitive young years when everything they would ask me included the word “why?” It would go something like this; “Daddy, why do we have ears?” Or, “Why is the sky blue?” And it seemed when I would answer, their immediate reply was again; “But why?!?”
I think that when most people hear of biblical apologetics, the only thought they have is that of being argumentative or to prepare for a debate. But I do believe there is wisdom, training and equipping for followers of Jesus to know why they believe what they believe. Many people have come to put their faith in Jesus out of emotion and brokenness learning of His love and grace while realizing their own sin. They may know what they believe; simply do not know why they believe it.
The Bible makes it clear that you and I can never “save” anyone. Our job is not to “talk someone into salvation” or coerce them to Jesus. The idea of trying to force or debate people and talk them into giving their life to Jesus is not a healthy approach. Jesus Himself stated in John 6:44; “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.” In other words, we are not responsible for the conversion, only for the conversation. The question is, are we ready and willing to have the conversation?
Statistics still tell us that the majority of people who call themselves Christians will never share their faith with another person. I believe part of that comes from a lack of confidence and assurance of their salvation. Part of assurance comes not from my feelings, but from the truth of God and His word.
Andy Stanley was recently quoted as saying; "We are living in a post-Christian culture where people have a low tolerance for faith-based answers to fact-based questions.”
In I Peter 3:15, Peter says that we should; “Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” There is a greater purpose for apologetics than simply debate and that is the equipping, security, understanding and confidence of believers in Jesus Christ. There is an assurance and hope that comes with that knowledge that then gives folks a greater sense of confidence to actually engage their culture and have very rational conversations with others.
Much of Josh’s early work came out of his intellectual mindset and the free speech platform of that day and age. This NEW Evidence That Demands A Verdict, by Josh McDowell and Sean McDowell, while packed with great historical evidence, also brings in a very relational perspective that directly addresses the post-Christian culture in which we live. Part IV of the new book is entitled; Evidence For Truth and directly addresses the lack of truth in our culture and equips a follower of Christ to engage his culture, relationally and conversationally with courage and understanding.
The authors make this statement in chapter 27, page 607; “If those of us who are Christians hope to represent Christ well and share the gospel with friends, neighbors, and family, we must commit to explaining the truth. We need a firm grasp on the existence and knowability of the truth. Not only this, but a cultures attack on Truth ultimately affects the culture itself.”
Josh McDowell recently said;“Yes, the world is full of Skeptics about the Bible and the Christian faith but, whether they realize it or not, God is tugging at their hearts as they search for answers about the purpose and meaning of their lives.”
As followers of Jesus Christ, if we truly believe that God loves the world, then we need to prepare ourselves, the very best that we can, to go and lovingly share the truth and grace of Jesus Christ with the people in our world whose hearts are being tugged by the God who loves them. Let's prepare ourselves and go. Are you with me?