Wednesday, November 23, 2005

With Gentleness and Reverence (Part 3)

I have thought about this whole encounter and the implications on the gospel for weeks and weeks. I keep experiencing a serious sadness over not only this encounter that I had (and sadly participated in as well as probably made it worse), but also over for the damage that this encounter (probably) did to the gospel when relating to my witness to my neighbor.

Lessons that I have learned:

  1. If I am ever in a similar situation dealing with this specific issue, I must...must...go over and above the call of duty to maintain a loving and peaceful conversation - even if it means that I don't get the last word in or score the last point in the debate.
    1. That is where I believe that I lost site of what I was defending and why. I initially missed how 1 Peter 3:15 needed to relate to my demeanor and instead got caught up in needing to be right.
    2. Even though I had not had time to reflect on my own deficiencies of the first encounter (on my doorstep), I did have time to focus and to take that into consideration prior to the second one (on the street near the group's van). So, this offers me some hope that I can learn and can act correctly - even if it takes a smack in the face.
  2. The inspiration and infallibility of the Word of God is not a casually accepted or defended issue. I need not only to believe these things, but understand what, in fact, is inspired (the original writings of the Apostles and Prophets) as well as how what we have today (the manuscript evidence for the originals and the various translations of the bible) needs to be understood. But I also need to be able to articulate why only the 66 books in the Bible are Inspired writings as opposed to the apocryphal books and other writings of antiquity or the modern times.
    1. When discussing this idea of the inspiration of the Word with a non believer, we need to start by talking about the prophetical and historical accuracy of it. When looking at to historical accuracy (it is undeniably accurate) and ask this type of question: If the things that can be so easily disproved and shown faulty (names, places, cultural events, etc) were paid the high amount of attention that they were in order to ensure accuracy, how much more care (for accuracy) would be used with things that were not easily provable (miracles)? One of the first places where the easily disprovable things of that day comes in contact with the supernatural is the resurrection of Christ. There were hundreds of people who would vouch for seeing the risen Christ after he had been killed. So, if I were a Jew or a Roman who wanted to stamp out Christianity - I'd just need to find out who these people were and convince them to tell the "truth" that they had never seen the risen Christ. This didn't happen, and these same people died horrible deaths defending the impossible truth - the truth that they had in fact seen Christ in the flesh after his death. There are many places to go with the unbeliever, but this is one of the more common and crucial ones (if not the most crucial one).
    2. When discussing this with a believer believes that a specific English (or French, Italian or Latin - for that matter) translation is the only true Scripture, there is a simple question that can be asked. This question, if answered honestly and Biblically, will reveal the error of this line of thinking very quickly. The question is this: "Did God inspire errors in the Bible?" Whether you're talking about spelling, prophetical, historical, or whatever type of error, the answer should be no. Once that is established, it is easy to point out that every translation of the Bible has had to be reprinted with corrections that the original proofreaders did not catch, and therefore disqualifying them from being inspired and infallible.
As a Christian, I need to not only be able to articulate different doctrines and theologically important ideas. It's easy to say this, but very difficult to do. There is so much complexity in so many areas of apologetics that most of us will never be able to be experts in any area (much less most or all of them), but I think that we should be familiar with the basic and more common questions that we have a good chance of encountering in our time. Here are a list of topics or ideas that we might need to "brush" up on for the near future:
  • da Vinci Code: Wasn't Christ "voted" into Godhead at a church council of Nicaea? (Pop cultures fascination with this absurd novel and it's ideas)
  • What about the Gospel of Thomas, why isn't that included in the Bible? It should be given as much weight as any of the others. (The Jesus seminar scholars are trying to wipe out the biblical and historical Christ)
  • The Trinity is not a word in scripture, there is only one God who manifests himself as as Father in creation and as the Father of the Son, in the Son for our redemption, and as the Holy Spirit in our regeneration (This is an age old heresy that is alive and well, and being sold as an "OK" thing to believe. It isn't.).*
I am sure that there are many more things that I should be familiar with so that I am not surprised when attacks or objections are thrown out at me. However, you can forget everything that I have just said about possible objections that we might encounter if you know and understand this one point. The best and most sure way to be on the ball and be able to defend your faith is not to know every type of objection, but it is to know the bible, and understand what it is saying.

But always - in this and in every other aspect of our lives - remember that we need to esteem our God in the way that we speak of and defend His word.

*If you want to find a good article about Oneness Pentacostal (or Modalism) theology, read What is Oneness Pentecostal theology?". You can also find a good and thorough list of questions, issues, and answers, please click here and visit The Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry's ( section on confronting this heresy.

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