Presentation on theme: "Offensive Apologetics MTP III September 2007. Apologetic Steps Know What You Believe – Defensive Apologetics Know What Unbelievers Believe – Offensive."— Presentation transcript:
Offensive Apologetics MTP III September 2007
Apologetic Steps Know What You Believe – Defensive Apologetics Know What Unbelievers Believe – Offensive Apologetics (More on This Later) Don’t Be Intimidated – Most Objections to the Bible are A Product of Ignorance – Even If You Don’t Know the Answer on the Spot… “I’ll Be Back.” Keep the Right Attitude
Defensive Apologetics 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (NIV) 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. Systematically address and overcome each objection to Christianity
Offensive Apologetics Proverbs 18:17: “The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him.” Ask Questions Allow the inquisitor to present a case for his worldview first
Offensive Apologetics Our goal is to learn how to be the challenger rather than the challenged in religious discussions. In other words, seek to turn the tide, so to speak, on unbelievers, removing the burden of proof from Christians and placing it on non-Christians.
Socratic Method Dialectic Conversational Questions By asking specific questions that challenged his students’ assumptions, Socrates lead them into a kind of self-discovery. They concluded for themselves the error of their existing beliefs and went on to accept a new truth or a different conclusion.
Ask Questions In doing so, we – identify inaccurate data, – inconsistencies, and, – especially, hidden assumptions. Then we ask for a response to these errors by questioning them. This places the burden of proof over disagreements on the unbeliever; it forces him to explain what he believes, why he believes it, and to justify it.
“Bloody Bible/Vengeful God” My friend assumed that God destroyed the Canaanite nations without just cause. He assumed that the nations were not worthy of such treatment. He assumed that God’s judgment was too harsh. He assumed that the Canaanite children were innocent and did not deserve such treatment.
Step Back Before Surging Ahead This technique is contrary to our normal tendency to become defensive when our faith is challenged—to argue our point of view. At first blush, it may even seem counterproductive because we aren’t providing an immediate answer to an unbeliever’s challenge. But it’s not counterproductive. It’s a highly effective tactic. Like defensive apologetics, offensive apologetics is designed to help unbelievers see why Christians are Christians and open the door for a gospel presentation.
Slow to Speak, Quick to Listen Asking challenging questions helps unbelievers to reconsider Christianity for two reasons: – First, their existing religious or secular worldviews can’t be substantiated. – In other words, unbelievers discover that they are unable to defend what they believe. They can’t muster evidence to support their view the way we can. – When they see this, we point out that we can confirm our views. This should cause fair-minded people to reconsider their own presuppositions and listen to ours.
Slow to Speak, Quick to Listen Second, unbelievers see that their view of Christianity is erroneous. Non-Christians frequently harbor misconceptions about what the Bible teaches and misunderstandings of what Christians actually believe. Their opinions, more often than not, are byproducts of our secular culture—not the result of personal investigation.
How The Socratic Method Works Non-Christian religions and secular philosophies will eventually lead practitioners to a dead end. – “We ought not first try to move a man away from what he should deduce from his position but towards it.… We try to move him in the natural direction in which his presuppositions would take him. We are then pushing him towards the place where he ought to be, had he not stopped short.” Encourage an unbeliever to follow his religious presuppositions to their logical conclusion
Do they have proof? Is their source reliable? “How do you know that?” “What evidence do you have for that?” “Why do you believe that?” “Where did you learn that?” “On what authority do you base your view?” “Aren’t you taking … for granted?”
Clarification or Elaboration: “What do you mean by that?” “I don’t follow you, tell me more.” “Can you give me an example?” “You seem to be contradicting yourself. You said earlier...” “What difference does it make?” “How can … ?”
Questions Worth Asking “How do you know that evil and sickness are illusions?” “What evidence do you have that people are actually divine?” “Where did you learn that all religions are true?” “What happens if you’re wrong, and all religions don’t lead to God?” “Are you willing to risk salvation rather than check out Christianity?” “If Jesus didn’t die and rise from the grave, how do you account for the existence of the Christian church and the changed lives of His disciples?” “In light of what you believe, if it’s a myth that Christ died and rose from the dead, how do you account for the untold thousands of Christians who were willing die for their faith?”
Questions Worth Asking “Why do you believe in evolution? Have you ever checked out creation? Aren’t you taking for granted that evolution is true?” “Why does belief in evolution discount Christianity or salvation through Jesus Christ?” “How can order come from disorder?” “How can life come from nonlife?” “How can something come from nothing?” “If Jesus didn’t die and rise from the grave, how do you account for the existence of the Christian church and the changed lives of His disciples?” “In light of what you believe, if it’s a myth that Christ died and rose from the dead, how do you account for the untold thousands of Christians who were willing die for their faith?”
Question the Questioner “You Christians can’t prove what you believe!” – “Then you prove what you believe!” “How do you know the Bible is true?” – “How do you know it’s not true?” “The Bible is full of contradictions!” – “What contradictions?” “If the Christian God exists, how do you account for the existence of evil and suffering?” – “If God doesn’t exist, what is the solution to evil and suffering?”
“I think belief in God is a psychological crutch for weak people. What proof do you have that God even exists?” – “I think atheism is a psychological crutch to get off the hook in terms of accountability to God. What proof do you have that the evidence for God’s existence is false?” “Christians are so narrow-minded. You only think your religion is true!” – “Don’t you believe what you say is true? Does that make you narrow-minded? Does being narrow-minded automatically make something untrue?” “I think people are free to decide their own moral standards.” – “Then you think it was okay for Hitler to massacre 6 million Jews?”
“The Christian God is harsh and vindictive. Look how He annihilated whole cities in the Old Testament.” – “Why do you think God is cruel and unfair to punish a wicked and perverted people who were warned for centuries to repent and yet continued to blaspheme God, worship pagan deities, engage in deviant, forbidden sexual acts in the name of religion, and even sacrifice their children to false gods?” “I could never follow a God who sends people to hell just because they don’t worship Him as you Christians do.” – “You mean you’re willing to go to hell just because God doesn’t act the way you think He should?” “What makes you think Christianity is true when it contradicts my religious beliefs?” – “How do you know your religion is true when it contradicts Christianity? Can you prove your religion is true?”
“How do you know Jesus really speaks for God?” – “What evidence do you have that Charles Taze Russell [or Joseph Smith or Muhammad] speaks for God? How does he prove it?” “If a woman wants an abortion, it’s her right to do whatever she wants with her own body.” – “If a baby is a human being, why wouldn’t it have the same right to live as the mother?” “We don’t need a God to set standards of good and evil. People can make their own moral choices.” – “Then if I say infanticide is acceptable, would you agree?” “Science disproves miracles like the Resurrection.” – “Aren’t miracles like the Resurrection historical events? How can science disprove anything in history?” “I don’t believe God exists.” – “If there was a time when nothing existed, what would be here now if there is no God? What I mean is, if God doesn’t exist, how did nature come into being? Can something create itself? Can something come from nothing?”
A Post-Modern Slant: Storytelling After nearly three centuries of Enlightenment thinking, where truth was seen as rational, objective, and attainable, Western culture is now abandoning this traditional “modernist” view of reality and is moving toward a “postmodernist” view where truth is relativistic, subjective, and unattainable.
A Post-Modern Slant: Storytelling Today, communicating the gospel as a set of propositional statements of truth (truth that can be checked out and verified; truth that is applicable to everyone) is becoming increasingly ineffective. While past generations of evangelists based their apologetic tactics on Enlightenment thinking—that is, they used the tools of logic and the scientific method for verifying truth—today’s generation, which has not been raised in a modernist culture, is rejecting reason and objectivity in favor of feelings and experiences. Communicating the gospel now will require a different approach.
A Post-Modern Slant: Storytelling What kinds of stories? Testimonies Parables/Illustrations/Word Pictures – Swim across the Atlantic – Two wings on an airplane Friend’s stories The MacArthur Mall illustrations