What is Christian Apologetcs and Why It Matters and How Do We Apply It?

Apologetics is defined as follows in the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary as of 5/23/2019:
1.  "systematic argumentative discourse (see DISCOURSE entry 1 sense 2a) in defense (as of a doctrine)"
2.  "a branch of theology devoted to the defense of the divine origin and authority of Christianity"

The term is from the Greek word used in 1 Peter 3:15 ἀπολογίαν, which is generally translated as "a defense."  From the English Standard Version of the Bible, the verse is translated to English as follows: "but 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,"

Many people are afraid to witness for the sake of Jesus Christ.  They are afraid they will offend someone or that they will not know what to say.  Below, I've written some information to help you know what to say to help others understand how important salvation through Jesus Christ is.  Reading your Bible daily will help you to know the works of God.  Studying apologetics will help you prepare for further questions.

Our personal relationship with God, the Father, makes it imperative that we share the Good News of Jesus Christ at all times.  God desires that none should perish (suffer eternal death and damnation apart from Him), but that all should have everlasting life.  This requires faith in Jesus Christ.  How can people come to faith if they have not heard?  This is OUR job as Christians - ALL OF US.  To say nothing for fear of insulting someone is to potentially condemn for all eternity.  Our eternal lives are what matter above that of our temporal lives on earth.  Please take forty minutes from your day to watch this video.  I believe it will inspire you and help you to grasp the priorities God sets before us and the means to begin the work we are all to do of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with others.  Remember, when others are offended for the sake of Christ, He told us in the Gospel of Matthew to expect this.

How does one give a defense of their faith? One starts with knowing the reason for one's faith.  Our faith is not based on a feeling, but in knowing that God loved us and sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ to be born, live, suffer, die, and rise again to conquer sin and death in order that we may be reconciled to God where sin separated us from Him.  What did God do for us? His works are listed throughout the Bible.  The most important of which is summarized in John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life."

The gospel of this is: God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to save us because He loved us. The law of this: to receive this salvation, we must believe in Jesus Christ as Lord (master) and savior, not simply that He existed, but that He died and rose again to save us from our sins.

John 3:17-18 continue: "For God sent not His son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  He that believeth in Him is not condemned, but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only Son of God."

Why do we need the salvation through Jesus Christ?  As stated in Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God," yet in Romans 5:8, we see God's love for us in the verse, "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

What is required for salvation? Romans 10:9 states, "For if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart, that God raised him up from the dead, thou shalt be saved:"

Why are we as Christians supposed to do this? Isn't this "the pastor's" job? No, it is all of our job as Christians.  When reading 1 Peter 3:15, the "your" and "you," this is for ALL BELIEVERS. We are all called to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Jesus taught in Matthew 28:19-20 "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen."  In the Greek, the imperative is not "go," but "teach," or rather "make disciples  It could be stated, "Make disciples of all nations by going and baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."

Furthermore, Jesus' last commandment recorded in Acts 1:8 just prior to His ascension to Heaven was, "... ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."

It will come down to your personal testimony, as well.  Not how you "feel," but how you know Jesus Christ to be present in your life.

Remember, God's Word will not return to Him void (Isaiah 55:11).  May God bless you as you reach other's for His sake through His Son, Jesus Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Christian Terminology

For those new to words commonly used in Christian faith, here are some words you may hear or come across in reading various translations of the Bible: Perhaps as an evangelist or apologist you may have the opportunity to help someone outside the Christian faith understand these terms.

Bible: A collection of God-inspired, God-breathed, writings that record God's work from creation  through the time of the first-generation apostles of Jesus Christ and the first century church whom they taught.

Gospel:  Good News

Angel Messenger (of God), but the root word means messenger.

Evangelist:  A messenger with the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Testament:  A covenant or promise.  The "Old Testament" (Hebrew Bible) is the promise made between God and the Israelite people which foreshadowed the coming of a Messiah.  The New Testament is the writings of the disciples, apostles, and their disciples, e.g. Luke, who give testimony of the coming of Jesus Christ and his death and resurrection.  It also includes letters written to the early churches.

Messiah:  A Hebrew word that means "anointed one."  In Greek, that is translated to Christ.  This is the one promised to the Hebrew people as their savior and redeemer.  Isaiah 53 is an example of the prophecy of the coming messiah.

Epistle:  A letter written to a person or assembly of people to further aid in instruction and teaching of God's work through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, as well as instruction on behaviors acceptable and unacceptable as Christians.

Disciple:  A student, from the Latin, discipulus. In this context, a student of Jesus Christ specifically, as those who heard and followed His teachings directly and those subsequently who were taught by Jesus' disciples and those of us today who are disciples of God's Holy Word, the Bible.

Apostle: A disciple of Jesus Christ who saw Him after He arose from the dead.  These apostles included more than the 11 remaining closest disciples who traveled with him. There had been 120 disciples in the upper room praying on the day of Pentecost

Sanctify, sanctification, sanctified: At the root of this is the word that we translate as "holy." By this we mean set apart, different from others, like God Himself.

Saint:  A saint is one who is a believer, one who is being sanctified or who has died as a believer.

Reconcile: to be rejoined to one from whom one had previously been separated.

Sin:  missing the mark - as shooting an arrow at a target.  In this context, we aim to be like God in His traits and in doing His will.  However, we miss the mark.  We fall short.

Justified:  a common way to explain this is "just as if I'd" never sinned against God.

Redeem, redeemed: to be bought for a price as one would pay to buy a slave to set him free.

Atonement: Paying off a debt.  This is often described as "at one ment." Through Jesus' taking on all our sins through His suffering and death on the cross, though He was Himself innocent of any sin. He paid for all our sins.  The blood sacrifice required for our sins was paid for once and for all through Jesus' atonement for our sins.

Righteous, righteousness: being right with God, aligning oneself with God and God's standard.

Begotten: to be born through a natural process, distinct from being spoken or molded into being.

Church (Greek - ἐκκλησίαν): assembly - an assembly of believers, not the building in which they meet.  The Greek word sounds like "ekklesia" and is the word from which the Spanish derive their word iglesia.

Salvation, saved, being saved: This is the ongoing process by which Christians grow toward the Creation God designed us to be through our faith in Jesus Christ and following His commands such that when Jesus Christ comes again, those believers will be raised with Him and are promised eternal life.  The converse of this is eternal damnation by which those who do not believe are condemned to eternal suffering.

Soul: An eternal component of our being given to us by God.  While our bodies die, our souls are everlasting and through our faith or lack thereof in this physical life will determine our soul's eternal state of saved or damned for all eternity.

Pentecost:  50 days after Passover on which day the  giving of God's Law to Moses was celebrated and offerings of the first fruits were brought to the temple, hence the large number of Jews from all over who had returned to Jerusalem for the celebration in Acts 2. In Hebrew, it is known as Shavuot. In Christianity, this day represents the day that the apostles received the Holy Spirit.  From that day on, they used the Holy Spirit's guidance to discern God's will through the Scriptures (Old Testament writings at first and gradually writings from the apostles), as opposed to casting lots to discern God's will and judgment.

Passover:  A memorial celebration by the Jewish people to recall the trials they had suffered as slaves in Egypt and God's faithfulness in rescuing them from slavery and ultimately in bringing the Israelites into the Promised Land of Canaan.  When God rescued His people from Egypt, He told the Jewish people to eat a feast of lamb and unleavened bread and use the blood from the ram on the doorposts of their home.  All who had this blood on their doorposts survived, but the first born sons of the Egyptians who did not died.  This caused Pharaoh to set the Jews free.  Read more of that account in Exodus 12.

The Thursday of the Passover feast was when Jesus met with his disciples to have this "Last Supper" before they went to the Garden of Olives for him to pray and his disciples to keep watch, though they fell asleep.  In the early hours of Friday morning, he was captured and taken to trial, ultimately beaten, crucified, and died by 3:00 p.m. on Friday.  Joseph of Arimathea had a tomb he had had built for himself, but went to Pilate, the governor of Judea, to ask if he could remove him from the cross before sundown that began the Sabbath - a holy day each week commanded by God as a day of rest on the seventh day of the week (Friday evening through Saturday).  Joseph of Arimathea with Nicodemus' help put Jesus in his own tomb and blocked it with a heavy stone.  On the first day of the week, Sunday, Jesus arose from the grave giving us Resurrection Sunday.  We celebrate each Sunday in worship as a mini-resurrection Sunday - a reminder that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead and is alive with God and within us through the Holy Spirit.  Read more of the gospel accounts of this here.

Martyr, martyrdom:  The original meaning of this word was simply, "witness," one who witnessed Christ's death and resurrection or one who witnessed or attested to these.  As these witnesses were often executed, the meaning changed to mean one who suffered or was executed for that faith.

Some words that are used in the video:

Unitarian -  In this belief, God is one, alone.  Jesus and the Holy Spirit are not persons and aspects of God and are subordinate to God  There is no Holy Trinity.

Triune God, Holy Trinity, The Trinity: An understanding that God is one and three.  That He is simultaneously one God in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and that none is subordinate to the other.

Contend;  To fight for something, in this case our faith, with all one's might.

Why It Is Good to Have a Child Just Like YOU

My youngest child, Sweet Pea, who is twelve is just like me in so many ways.  There are ways that she is not like me that are wonderful, too.  She has always been a sharing, giving, helpful child.  She has a great sense of humor and loves to make people she loves laugh.  She hates to see anyone be sad.  She loves hugs and cuddling.  I've had to explain that some people are not huggers, so she needs to ask if she can give them a hug. She still loves to scrub floors - one of my favorite things to do when I was little. She loves to cook and experiment in the kitchen - taking a recipe and coming up with something new - and often better - than the original.  She takes up for people who she feels are being wronged and will stand up to most anyone to defend others.  Even when that person is me and I'm getting on to big sister for doing Sweet Pea wrong, Sweet Pea will come to big sister's aid.  I love that about her.

Even so, there are the personality quirks that are just like mine that are ones I wish she did not get.  She has mastered the eye roll.  She cannot hide how she feels - happy, disappointed, sad, angry - she wears all that on her face.  A friend kept her for a week while I was taking care of my dad.  The girls along with her daughter were going to a community activity each day that week.  She commented to me after the week, "I saw that look.  I didn't know whether to reprimand her or congratulate her on already mastering 'The Mom' look." I was laughing and shaking my head at the same time. That girl! Goodness!

A couple of weeks ago, she did one of those attitude things that 'tweens and teens have been known to do that got on my last nerve quickly.  After I reprimanded her, I was flooded with memories of times I had that same attitude with my own mom and did not comprehend at the time how truly annoying it was.  No wonder it drove Mom nuts.  I went in straight away, called Mom, told her what happened, and said, "I know I did that when I was her age.  I had NO IDEA how annoying that was - until now. I am SO sorry."  She laughed.  We talked more.  She later sent me a text that read, "I'm not sure I told you this when we were talking.  I forgive you."

Of course as moms, we forgive our children.  We have the example of a loving heavenly father who does just that for us.  That being said, I think it is good to be both Mom and Daughter.  I am fifty years old and I just called my mom to apologize for things I did 35 years ago.  It was still good to do.  It reminds me of how much I appreciate my own mom.  I think it helps my mom know that I appreciate her, too, even more as I get older with my own children and grandchildren.  That's why I think when God gives us a child that is very much like ourselves, both the good and the bad, it reminds us to:

  1. Be careful in our correction of our child's behavior.  It helps my daughter when I correct her about these things that got me in trouble when I was younger to know that the apple didn't fall far from the tree, bless her heart.  I know what it's like, which is the reason I am correcting her so she can be mindful of those attitudes to start making corrections now so they don't come back to get her in trouble as an adult.  (That eye roll thing was a doozy for me to work on as an adult.)
  2. Repent of our past behaviors that we did not recognize at the time - both to God and to the one(s) to whom we exhibited those attitudes when we were children - especially our hard-working, long-suffering mothers. God bless them.
  3. Be grateful for God's love and forgiveness of us and reside in the joy and peace He alone can give us.  That includes the peace of knowing that God loved us and helped us through those times and He loves our children just as much.  He will guide and help them - and us - as we draw closer to Him each day.
  4. It also allows us to draw closer to our own loving parents to remind them of God's love for them and that their hard work was worth all the effort, tears, and frustration that came along with the pride, joy, and laughter, but was sometimes not in balance depending on the stage of life we were in.
To be honest, I cannot even recall what my daughter did that day that annoyed me.  The slate is clean.  What I do recall is how much I love her, how grateful I am to Mom, and how much I love God for loving me enough to love me through all of those times and that He continues to seek after me.  Thank God for giving me a loving mom, even though my personality was not like hers, she loved me anyway. God is good all the time.