“I’m rubber and you’re glue . . .” This was crushing argument when you were five years old. Indeed, it was the silver bullet of arguments. However, saying this to your friend who is attacking Christianity will not get you anywhere. Eventually there will come a time when you have to come up with better arguments, especially when defending your faith in Jesus Christ.
Be Ready to Defend
1 Peter 3:15 declares “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” (ESV). Peter tells us that being able to defend the faith isn’t only for really smart theologians. Anyone who honors Christ the Lord as holy must be ready to give reasons for believing what they do. The skill of defending the Christian faith is “apologetics.” The term is derived from the Greek word apologia which roughly means “speaking in defense.”
Like The Apostle Paul
An example of the defender of the faith is the Apostle Paul in Acts 17:22-34. This passage of scripture shows the power of effective apologetics.
After Paul spoke, some mocked him; others simply agreed to hear him again; and some even joined him. While Paul didn’t convert everybody, God did work through him to convert a few, and those who didn’t believe were willing to listen again. Willingness to hear you again is also very good. This means that God is giving you more opportunities to testify about Christ at a later time.
Become a Defender of the Faith
Unfortunately, there aren’t any pat answers that you can write on your hand to cover all objections. There are, however, a few biblical principles that you should remember when defending the faith.
- No matter how good your answers are, God is the one who changes hearts (Ezek. 36:27-30)
- Thorough and daily study of scripture is going to be your best defense against those who object to Christianity. (2 Tim. 3:16-17)
Keeping these two principles in mind, the best way to become a great defender of the faith is to study other great defenders of the faith–men such as Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, Norman Geisler, Cornelius Van Til, and RC Sproul. And this list is by no means exhaustive.
Here are some resources to get you started.
- Think by John Piper
- Who made God? Edited by Ravi Zacharias and Norm Geisler (Ravi Zacharias and Norm Geisler both study apologetics. Each author has several good books on the subject.)
- The Attributes of God by Arthur Pink
- The Defense of the Faith by Cornelius Van Til
- Web sites
And, if the people you talk to decide to hurl insults your way, well, I suppose there is always the classic rubber and glue argument . . .
Contributions by Brent Aucoin