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APOLOGETICS

APOLOGETICS: The Greek word 'apologia' means to give a defense, like a defense in court (Acts 22:1; I Cor 9:3; II Tim 4:16).  "Apologetics" is a well-reasoned and fact-based defense of the Christian faith.  Its goal is to demonstrate that what the Bible says is (1) true, (2) based on actual history, and (3) totally dependable.

THE NEED FOR APOLOGETICS: We need to be ready with a defense for what we believe as Christians (I Pet 3:15; Col 4:5,6; Jude 3; Phil 1:7,16).

IS CHRISTIANITY A BLIND LEAP IN THE DARK OR A STEP OF
FAITH BASED UPON EVIDENCE? (Acts 1:3)

STEP #1: Is there evidence to support that there is a God?
    The ARGUMENT AGAINST: God is a psychological crutch.  Some merely want     to believe that there is a personal, loving, truthful and powerful God.  For     believing in this type of God gives psychological comfort and hope.
    THE ARGUMENTS FOR:
    COSMOLOGICAL ARGUMENT: (Order) (Thomas Aquinas)
    1) There is a universe
    2) There must be a cause for it to exist.
    3) It either came about with a Creator or without a Creator (evolution).
    4) If we cannot explain how life and the universe came into existence
        without a God (we cannot explain how it could have happened or there is         no probable explanation), then we are left with only the conclusion that         there is a Creator-God.
    TELEOLOGICAL ARGUMENT: (Purpose) (William Paley, 1743-1805, Where     there is a watch, there is a watchmaker.)
    1) There is design.
    2) Where there is design, there is a designer.
    3) The universe and life has design.
    4) Therefore, the universe and life has a Great Designer.
    THE BIBLE'S ANSWER: The universe, itself, is overwhelming evidence that     there is a God.  Man is choosing to ignore the obvious evidence for God     (voluntary and chosen unbelief) (Rom 1:18-20; Ps 14:1; 19:1-4; Jer 29:13; Jn     7:17)
STEP #2: Does the historical evidence support the claims of Christianity?
    Gathering historical evidence is different than seeking scientific proof.  We     cannot scientifically prove whether or not something occurred or did not occur     in history.  We can only examine the evidence and conclude if the evidence is     strong, weak, or lacking that the event occurred in the past.  We cannot, for     example, prove that Abraham Lincoln lived.  But, there is very strong     evidence that supports that he was a real man who had a great influence for     good on our country.  The Bible claims to be an account of actual historical     events.  Does the evidence from history support this claim that the Bible     describes actual historical events.

WAS JESUS CHRIST GOD IN THE FLESH WHO LIVED 30+ YEARS ON OUR EARTH AND ROSE FROM THE DEAD?

THE ARGUMENT AGAINST: Jesus Christ was a mere man.  His followers turned him into the Jesus Christ of the NT.  The Jesus Christ of the NT is only a fable, like Santa Claus and Paul Bunyan.
THE BIBLE'S AND HISTORY'S ANSWERS:
(1) The prophecies of Jesus Christ predicted His life hundreds of years before       His birth (Isa 7:14 & Matt 11:23; Mic 5:2 & Matt 2:1-6; Ps 22:16-18 & Matt       27:35; Isa 53:5,6 & I Pet 2:24,24; Isa 53:9 & Matt 27:57-60)
(2) There were eyewitnesses to the resurrection ( I Cor 15:5-8; Acts 1:3)
(3) Christianity has existed for 2000 years.  Its current practice includes       worship on Sunday – resurrection day and baptism – symbolic of the       death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Christianity and these       practices had to have started somewhere.  Those who do not believe that       Jesus is the Son of God and that He rose from the dead, need to explain       how Christianity began and these practices started without Jesus being the       Son of God who rose from the dead. 
(4) The early Christians were willing to die as martyrs because they believed       that the resurrection of Jesus Christ was a historical event.
(5) Jesus' claims leave us with 3 choices: liar, lunatic, or Lord (Jn 8:58,9,
      10:30-33)
(6) There are non-Christian accounts of Jesus Christ.

IS THE BIBLE THE WORD OF GOD?

ARGUMENTS AGAINST: The Bible is full of errors.  It is a primitive book written about God by fallible men.
THE BIBLE'S AND HISTORY'S ANSWERS:
(1) The Bible claims to have been written by God (II Tim 3:16; II Pet 3:16).        There are about 2600 claims in the OT alone that God spoke to or through       OT writers.  It is either a book full of lies or God's book.
(2) Archaeology supports the Bible.
(3) Manuscript evidence strongly supports that we have an accurate copy of the
      original books of the Bible (OT–meticulously copied; NT–1000s of       manuscripts).
(4) Prophecy is evidence that it is God's book.
(5) The Bible is not full errors (Actual errors=copyists' errors; 1/1000 of NT in       doubt) (apparent errors=incomplete or different accounts)(other       explanations – cultural misunderstanding, progressive revelation)

ASSIGNMENT: Seek to answer these questions.
1) How can a loving God allow evil and suffering? (Hell)
2) I believe there many ways to God.

RESOURCES: BAKER'S ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS by Geisler; EVIDENCE THAT DEMANDS A VERDICT I & II by McDowell; KNOW WHY YOU BELIEVE by Little; MERE CHRISTIANITY by C.S. Lewis; THE NEW TESTAMENT DOCUMENTS: ARE THEY RELIABLE by F.F. Bruce; A SKEPTIC'S SEARCH FOR GOD by Muncaster; THE CASE FOR CHRIST, THE CASE FOR FAITH, THE CASE FOR A CREATOR; & THE CASE FOR THE REAL JESUS by Strobel