informed - Youth in Action

Report
How to
Defend Your
Faith
presented by
David Asscherick
Does the faith need to be
defended?
We can easily answer this question by posing a
second question: Is the Christian faith under attack? If
the answer to the second question is yes, the answer
to the first is also yes.
Yet while it is true that the faith needs to be defended
something else is still more true...
The faith needs to be lived even
more than it needs to be
defended.
Oxford scholar CS Lewis was once asked how he
defended his belief in the Bible. He responded by
saying that he defended the Bible in much the
same way one would defend a caged lion. “You
simply let it out of the cage”, he said. The Christian
faith is just like this. It needs to be displayed more
than merely defended.
Defending your faith is easy.
You need only do two
things:
• Be in-filled
• Be informed
Defending your faith is easy.
You need only do two
things:
• Be in-filled (with the Spirit)
• Be informed (with the facts)
Philippians 1:16,17
I am set for the defense of the gospel (KJV)
I am appointed for the defense of the gospel (NASB)
I am here to defend the good news about him (CEV)
1Peter 3:15
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready
always to give an answer to every man that asketh you
a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and
fear (KJV)
...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 (ESV)
1Peter 3:15, 16
...but in your hearts consecrate Christ as Lord, being
always ready to make your defense to any one who
asks from you a reason for the hope which you cherish.
Yet argue modestly and cautiously, keeping your
consciences free from guilt, so that, when you are
spoken against, those who slander your good Christian
lives may be put to shame. (WNT)
apologia (to give an answer/
defense)
Note this text (1Peter 3:15) and note it well. In it
believers are not only exhorted to give an answer/
defense (apologia), they are taught the two
essential elements of an effective defense: a
compelling answer and a consistent life. That is,
both what you say and how you say it. An effective
defense, then, encompasses both the message and
the messenger.
apologia (to give an answer/
defense)
Note this text (1Peter 3:15) and note it well. In it
believers are not only exhorted to give an answer/
defense (apologia), they are taught the two
essential elements of an effective defense: a
compelling answer and a consistent life. That is,
both what you say and how you say it. An effective
defense, then, encompasses both the message and
the messenger. This is Peter’s way of saying... An
effective defense, then, encompasses both the
message and the messenger.
• Be in-filled
• Be informed
• Be in-filled
If your life is not attractive and consistent
no one, really, will care what it is you say.
• Be informed
• Be in-filled
If your life is not attractive and consistent
no one, really, will care what it is you say.
• Be informed
If your answers are not sound, reasonable,
and appealing your Christian life will be little
more than a kind of wholesome novelty.
• Be in-filled
If your life is not attractive and consistent
no one, really, will care what it is you say.
• Be informed
If your answers are not sound, reasonable,
and appealing your Christian life will be little
more than a kind of wholesome novelty.
Both are essential in order to effectively defend your faith.
Be in-filled
A kind, courteous Christian is the most powerful
argument that can be produced in favor of
Christianity. (GW 122)
Be in-filled
A kind, courteous Christian is the most powerful
argument that can be produced in favor of
Christianity. (GW 122)
Be in-filled
A kind, courteous Christian is the most powerful
argument that can be produced in favor of
Christianity. (GW 122)
A kind, courteous Christian is the most powerful
argument that can be produced in favor of the
gospel. (HP 181)
Be in-filled
A kind, courteous Christian is the most powerful
argument that can be produced in favor of
Christianity. (GW 122)
A kind, courteous Christian is the most powerful
argument that can be produced in favor of the
gospel. (HP 181)
Be in-filled
You are the light of the world... let your light
shine before others, so that they may see your
good works and give glory to your Father who
is in heaven.
Mt 5:14, 16 (ESV)
Be in-filled
You will recognize them by their fruits. Are
grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from
thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good
fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A
healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a
diseased tree bear good fruit... Thus you will
recognize them by their fruits. Mt 7:16-20
(ESV)
Note: not only will you recognize others this way,
but you also will be recognized this way.
Be in-filled
Let your language be always seasoned with
the salt of grace, so that you may know how to
give every man a fitting answer. Col 4:6 (WNT)
Note: here again we see the two-fold division of
1) what you say and 2) how you say it. Both the
message delivered and the method of delivery are
critically important.
Are you a true Christian?
To be an effective spokesperson for the Christian
faith, you must yourself first be a Christian. Do you
want to defend the faith? Do you first have any faith
to defend?
The Gospel is more than a concept to be studied,
appreciated, and defended. It is a life to be lived. Not
by you, but by Christ inside of you. (see John 3:5-8;
Gal 2:20; Col 1:27; John 14:16, 17; Gal 5:22-25)
Be in-filled
A kind, courteous Christian is the most powerful
argument that can be produced in favor of
Christianity. (GW 122)
A kind, courteous Christian is the most powerful
argument that can be produced in favor of the
gospel. (HP 181)
So just what is the Gospel?
A better question is: Who is the Gospel? The Gospel
is a person. It is the good news about a person. (See
Romans 1:1,3; 1Cor 15:1-8)
Hanging upon the cross Christ was the gospel. (6BC
1113)
Be
in-filled
You must
first be a Christian before you can
hope to defend the Christian faith effectively.
You cannot be a Christian if Christ is only
outside of you. You must have Christ in you by
His Spirit. You must be born again. You must be
born of the Spirit. This is the first and most
important step in effectively defending your
faith. You must first live your faith. Not in your
own strength, but by the power of the indwelling
Christ.
Be in-filled
A well-defended faith is first and foremost a
well-lived faith. The Gospel must be more than
defended, it must be displayed.
Defending your faith is easy.
You need only do two
things:
• Be in-filled (with the Spirit)
• Be informed (with the facts)
Be informed
Christianity is true, objectively true. This is
what we believe and teach. We should not,
therefore, fear scrutiny. We should welcome it.
If what we hold as dear is true, then we have
nothing to fear from the facts. Many Christians
are afraid of the facts and of intellectual
conflict. The first Christians, however, were not.
Should we--the last Christians--be any
different?
Be informed
Those who desire to know the truth have
nothing to fear from the investigation of the
word of God. But upon the threshold of
investigation of the word of God, inquirers after
truth should lay aside all prejudice, and hold in
abeyance all preconceived opinion, and open
the ear to hear the voice of God from His
messenger. (RH, March 25, 1902)
Be informed
Of all men upon the face of the earth, those who
are handling solemn truths for these perilous times
should understand their Bibles and become
acquainted with the evidences of our faith...
Those who are ambassadors for Christ, who stand
in His stead, beseeching souls to be reconciled to
God, should be qualified to present our faith
intelligently and be able to give the reasons of
their hope with meekness and fear. (2T 342)
Be informed
God never asks us to believe, without giving
sufficient evidence upon which to base our faith.
His existence, His character, the truthfulness of His
word, are all established by testimony that appeals
to our reason; and this testimony is abundant.
Yet God has never removed the possibility of
doubt. Our faith must rest upon evidence, not
demonstration. Those who wish to doubt will have
opportunity; while those who really desire to know
the truth will find plenty of evidence on which to
rest their faith. (SC 105)
Be informed
For the Seventh-day Adventist
Christian, their faith must be defended
on three levels .
Be informed
For the Seventh-day Adventist
Christian, their faith must be defended
on three levels .
Theism
(versus
Be informed
For the Seventh-day Adventist
Christian, their faith must be defended
on three levels .
Christianity
(versus non-Christian religions)
Theism
(versus
Be informed
For the Seventh-day Adventist
Christian, their faith must be defended
on three levels .
Seventh-day Adventism
(versus other Christian perspectives)
Christianity
(versus non-Christian religions)
Theism
(versus
Be informed
Theism
• Ex nihilo nihil fit (out(versus
of nothing, nothing
comes)
atheism)
- Atheism posits a universe that came out of nothing, for
nothing, by
nothing, because of nothing. This is an article of sheer faith.
- Every thing that begins to exist has a cause. The universe
began to
exist. Therefore the universe had a cause. That cause, must
itself, be
uncaused. There cannot be an infinite regress of causation.
- Why is there something rather than nothing?
• Life begets life
Be informed
- Non-life has never been shown to give rise to life.
- Materialism must affirm that inanimate matter gave rise to
(versus
life
somehow, sometime inatheism)
the distant past. This is unscientific
and, once
again, an article of sheer faith.
- Theism posits a living beginning to all subsequent life: God.
God had
no beginning. He is the eternally existent one. He is the I
AM.
- Where did life come from? And why? And how? And when?
The
atheist has no answers. He accepts life’s origin on faith
alone.
Theism
Be informed
Theism
• Life begets life
(versus
atheism)
“The evidential situation of natural (as opposed to revealed)
theology has been transformed in the more than fifty years
since Watson and Crick won the Nobel Prize for their
discovery of the double helix structure of DNA. It has become
inordinately difficult even to begin to think about
constructing a naturalistic theory of the evolution of that first
reproducing organism.”
--Anthony Flew, former world-renowned atheist
• A very special universe
Be informed
- Our universe is perfectly tuned to permit the existence of
Theism
life.
(versus
- This fine-tunedness is sometimes called the anthropic
principle. This
atheism)
notion suggests that the universe is too fine-tuned to have
arisen by
chance. Self-reflective life is the purpose not a mere
product.
- Atheism cannot account for this staggering fine-tunedness.
They
believe it “just happened”. This is an article of sheer faith.
- The odds of a non life-permitting universe arising by chance
and
natural processes are near-infinitely greater than the odds of
Be informed
Theism
(versus
• A very special universe:
Uni or Multi?
atheism)
- The theory du jour which seeks to account for the fine-tunedness of
the universe is the Multiverse Theory. It says that there are a vast
number (perhaps an infinity) of universes of which our is only one.
- There is no evidence for these other universes. Their existence is an
article of sheer faith.
- It is simpler to believe in one God than in an infinite number of
unknown and unknowable “other” universes.
- Some scientists are seriously suggesting that our universe is, in fact,
likely a fake--a computer-generated world created by superintelligent residents of one of the “other” real universes. No kidding.
Be informed
Theism
• The existence of self-reflective
life
(versus
- Humans are unique in that they understand their place in the
atheism)
universe. We are able to contemplate the universe and our place
in
it. This simple fact has impressed many of the world’s greatest
minds.
- Horses, trout, and kookaburras do not reflect on the amazing
finetunedness of the universe. They do not stare at the stars or look
longingly at a glorious and arresting sunset.
- Einstein remarked that the most incomprehensible thing about
the
universe was its comprehensibility.
Be informed
Theism
(versus
• The existence of self-reflective life
atheism)
You find it strange that I consider the comprehensibility of the
world as a miracle or as an eternal mystery. Well, a priori one
should expect a chaotic world, which cannot be grasped by
the mind in any way. . . . The kind of order created by
Newton's theory of gravitation, for example, is wholly different
Even if man proposes the axioms of the theory, the success
of such a project presupposes a high degree of ordering of
the objective world, and this could not be expected a priori.
That is the "miracle" which is being constantly reinforced as
--Albert Einstein
our knowledge expands.
.
Be informed
Theism
(versus
• The existence of self-reflective
life
atheism)
The enormous usefulness of mathematics is something
bordering on the mysterious . . . . There is no rational explanation
for it . . . . The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of
mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a
wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve.
--Eugene Wigner, physicist (nobel prize
1963)
Be informed
Theism
(versus
• The existence of self-reflective
life
atheism)
To me, belief in a final cause, a Creator-God, gives a coherent
understanding of why the universe seems so congenially
designed for the existence of intelligent, self-reflective life. It
would take only small changes in numerous physical constants
to render the universe uninhabitable. Somehow, in the words of
Freeman Dyson, this is a universe that knew we were coming.
--Owen Gingerich,
former Professor of Astronomy and of the History of
Science at Harvard University and senior astronomer
emeritus Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Be informed
Theism
(versus
atheism)
• The existence of self-reflective
life
It would be very difficult to explain why the universe should have
begun in just this way, except as the act of a God who
intended to create beings like us.
--Stephen Hawking,
Sir Isaac Newton Chair of Mathematics, Cambridge
University
Be informed
Theism
• Which came first: mind
or matter?
(versus
- The mind and the brain are not the same thing. For example,
atheism)
you
can change your mind, but not your brain. You can lose your
mind, but
not your brain.
- Atheism, with its necessary materialism, cannot give adequate
account of the mind, for the mind appears to be immaterial.
Atheists, yes, typically believe in the existence of the mind, but
this is the result of experiential necessity not philosophical
consistency.
Be informed
Theism
• Which came first: mind or matter?
(versus
- The mind cannot be merely an emergent property of the
atheism)
brain, for it
is fundamentally (substantively) different from the brain. The
brain is
made of matter. The mind with its intentionality, volition, and
mental
events is plainly not made of matter.
- Philosophical materialism cannot account for basic human
realities
such as identity, consciousness, self-determination, moral
accountability, and the placebo effect.
Be informed
Theism
(versus
• Which came first: mind
or matter?
atheism)
The subjective character of experience is hard to capture in
physicalist terms. How could consciousness have evolved
from matter? Can matter think?... The simple fact of
consciousness is a serious difficulty for physicalism
[materialism]
--JP Moreland, author & philosopher
Be informed
Theism
(versus
• Which came first: mind
or
matter?
atheism)
Science has proved that our brain is only a set of
particles, and that biological life consists uniquely in a
succession of chemical reactions, which, in their turn,
consist uniquely in physical processes. On the other
hand, consciousness transcends the laws of
physics and cannot then be considered the product
of biological and cerebral processes. This implies
that our mind and our brain are not the same entity, but
two different yet interacting entities.
--Marco Biagini, physicist & author
Be informed
Theism
(versus
atheism)
• Which came first: mind
or matter?
Every materialistic attempt to explain the existence of
consciousness implies that what suffers, loves, desires,
feels etc. in us are objects such as electrons or
electromagnetic fields. The point is that [these] objects
can feel nothing at all.
--Marco Biagini, physicist & author
Be informed
Theism
(versus
• Which came first: mind
or matter?
atheism)
No man can survey himself without forthwith turning his
thoughts towards the God in whom he lives and moves;
because it is perfectly obvious, that the endowments
which we possess cannot possibly be from ourselves.
--John Calvin, protestant reformer
Be informed
Theism
(versus
atheism)
We want to know whether the universe simply happens to
be what it is for no reason or whether there is a power
behind it that makes it what it is. Since that power, if it
exists, would be not one of the observed facts but a reality
which makes them, no mere observation of the facts can
find it. There is only one case in which we can know
whether there is anything more, namely our own case, and
in that one case we find there is. Or put it the other way
round. If there was a controlling power outside the
universe, it could not show itself to us as one of the facts
inside the universe -- no more than the architect of a house
could actually be a wall, or staircase, or fireplace in that
house.
Be informed
Theism
(versus
atheism)
The only way in which we could expect it to show itself
would be inside ourselves as an influence or a command
trying to get us to behave in a certain way. And that is just
what we do find inside ourselves. Surely this ought to
arouse our suspicions? In the only case where you can
expect to get an answer, the answer turns out to be Yes. . .
Suppose someone asked me, when I see a man in a blue
uniform going down the street leaving little paper packets at
each house, why I suppose that they contain letters? I
should reply, "Because whenever he leaves a similar little
packet for me I find it does contain a letter."
Be informed
Theism
(versus
atheism)
And if he then objected, "But you've never seen all these
letters which you think the other people are getting," I
should say, "Of course not, and I shouldn't expect to,
because they're not addressed to me. I'm explaining the
packets I'm not allowed to open by the ones I'm allowed to
open."... It is the same about this question. The only packet
I'm allowed to open is Man. When I do, especially when I
open that particular man called myself, I find that I do not
exist on my own, that I am under a law; that somebody or
something wants me to behave in a certain way. I do not, of
course, think that if I could get inside a stone or a tree I
should find exactly the same thing, just as I do not think all
the other people in the street get the same letters as I do.
Be informed
Theism
(versus
atheism)
I should expect, for instance, to find that the stone had to
obey the law of gravity -- that whereas the sender of the
letters merely tells me to obey the laws of my human
nature, He compels the stone to obey the laws of its stony
nature. But I should expect to find that there was, so to
speak, a sender in both cases, a Power behind the facts, a
Director, a Guide.
--CS Lewis, Oxford scholar & author
Be informed
Theism
• Is anything really wrong?
- Atheism cannot account(versus
for objective, absolute moral
standards. At
atheism)
best it can create a kind of consensus morality.
- Is the torture of innocent children always wrong? Or could it
be
justified in some extenuating circumstances?
- If morality originates in man, then it can be modified by
man.
- Whose moral code should we adopt Hitler’s, Hefner’s, or the
Hebrews’? How can we judge between moral codes? Whose
standards would we use to judge, ours or theirs? Might what
we call
Be informed
Theism
• Beauty, meaning, and love
(versus
- Atheism fails utterly to account for the most fundamental
features of
atheism)
human experience: friendship, love, beauty, meaning, and joy.
- Any philosophy which fails to account for that which is
fundamental
to our experience and existence as human beings should be
rejected
out of hand on experiential grounds alone.
- Even if atheism worked on the blackboard (which we have
argued it
doesn’t), it cannot work where is matters most: in day-today life.
Be informed
Theism
(versus
atheism)
• Beauty, meaning, and love
If reality is fundamentally physical, then the primary force
binding it together is electromagnetic. If, however, reality is
fundamentally social, then the most powerful constituting
force is that which binds persons together, namely, love.
--Millard J. Erickson, author & president ETS
Be informed
Theism
(versus
• causation (ex nihiloatheism)
nihil fit)
• the origin of life (life begets life)
• a fine-tuned universe (the anthropic principle)
• self-reflective life (awareness of our place in space)
• the mind (identity, consciousness, selfdetermination)
• moral absolutes (‘Be holy for I am Holy’ Lev 11:44)
• human experience (love, meaning, joy, beauty, etc)
Be informed
For the Seventh-day Adventist
Christian, their faith must be defended
on three levels .
Seventh-day Adventism
(versus other Christian perspectives)
Christianity
(versus non-Christian religions)
Theism
(versus
Be informed
Christianity
(versus non-Christian religions)
This is really quite simple. Jesus staked his identity and
claims on the fact of His prophesied resurrection from the
dead (John 2:19). Paul said the very same thing about
Jesus’ resurrection (1Cor 15:1-20). If Jesus rose from the
dead, then Christianity is true. If He did not, then Christianity
is not true. So the debate hinges right here on this question.
Significantly, there is excellent reason to believe that Jesus
did, in fact, raise from the dead as He Himself said he would.
Be informed
Christianity
(versus non-Christian religions)
The resurrection of Jesus acquires such decisive meaning,
not merely because someone or anyone has been raised
from the dead, but because it is Jesus of Nazareth, whose
execution was instigated by the Jews because he had
blasphemed against God. If this man was raised from the
dead, then that plainly means that the God whom he had
supposedly blasphemed had committed Himself to him. The
resurrection can only be understood as the divine vindication
of the man whom the Jews had rejected as a blasphemer.
--Wolfhart Pannenburg, theologian
Be informed
Christianity
(versus non-Christian religions)
If the coming into existence of the Nazarenes, a
phenomenon undeniably attested to by the NT, rips a great
hole in history, a hole the size and shape of the
resurrection, what does the secular historian propose to
stop it up with? The birth and rapid rise of the Christian
Church remain an unsolved enigma for any historian who
refuses to take seriously the only explanation offered by the
church itself.
--CFD Moule, theologian, Cambridge
Be informed
For the Seventh-day Adventist
Christian, their faith must be defended
on three levels .
Seventh-day Adventism
(versus other Christian perspectives)
Christianity
(versus non-Christian religions)
Theism
(versus
Be informed
Seventh-day Adventism
(versus other Christian perspectives)
In a special sense Seventh-day Adventists have been set in
the world as watchmen and light-bearers. To them has been
entrusted the last warning for a perishing world. On them is
shining wonderful light from the Word of God. They
have been given a work of the most solemn import,--the
proclamation of the first, second, and third angels'
messages. There is no other work of so great importance.
They are to allow nothing else to absorb their attention. (Ev
120)
Be informed
Seventh-day Adventism
(versus other Christian perspectives)
• sola Scriptura (“the Bible is our creed”)
• salvation by faith alone through grace alone
(reformation)
• soon return of Jesus (signs of the times)
• seventh-day Sabbath/ law (near-universal Sunday
observance)
• state of dead/ nature of man (rampant spiritualism)
• Jesus’ ministry as priest in sanctuary (1844)
• the Spirit of prophecy (prophetic guidance)
Be informed
Seventh-day Adventism
(versus other Christian perspectives)
Here is a call for the endurance of the
saints, those who keep the
commandments of God and their faith
in Jesus. Rev 14:12 (ESV)
Be informed
For the Seventh-day Adventist
Christian, their faith must be defended
on three levels .
Seventh-day Adventism
(versus other Christian perspectives)
Christianity
(versus non-Christian religions)
Theism
(versus
Defending your faith is easy.
You need only do two
things:
• Be in-filled (with the Spirit)
• Be informed (with the facts)
The faith needs to be lived even
more than it needs to be
defended.
Here is a call for the endurance of the
saints, those who keep the
commandments of God and their faith
in Jesus. Rev 14:12 (ESV)
The faith needs to be lived even
more than it needs to be
defended.
Here is a call for the endurance of the
saints, those who keep the
commandments of God and their faith
in Jesus. Rev 14:12 (ESV)
The faith needs to be lived even
more than it needs to be
defended.
Here is a call for the endurance of the
saints, those who keep the
commandments of God and their faith
in Jesus. Rev 14:12 (ESV)
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