When Jesus instructed His disciples to carry out the Great Commission it was not a simple suggestion. It was not as though Jesus was saying, “hey it is somewhat chilly outside, so perhaps you should all wear a jacket.” No, rather Jesus is commanding His disciples in Matthew 28:16-20 (New International Version, 1989) to make disciples of all nations, because as Jesus states He was “given all authority in heaven and on earth.” This means that Jesus’ command is imperative. Often times when it comes to sharing the Gospel with unbelievers, we may have to defend the faith, also known as apologetics. While it may not always be necessary to provide an argument in order for a peer to come to salvation, there are several things to keep in mind when defending the faith. A few essential qualities of the Christian apologist are: remaining firm on the authority of God’s Word, humility, living above reproach and knowing when to pull back.
First and foremost, remaining firm on the authority of God’s Word is an essential quality. As Christians, the Bible should guide every aspect of our lives, because it is the living and active Word of God (Hebrews 4: 12) (New International Version, 1989). In chapter 16 of “Always Ready,” Dr. Greg L. Bahnsen advises the believer to approach debates with the unbeliever with the presupposition that as Christians, we hold Jesus and the Bible as the ultimate foundation for our beliefs (Bahnsen, 1996). An example of this is seen in Acts 25-26. In Acts 25, Paul is accused of committing a crime against the Jewish laws, temple and the Roman government for preaching about Jesus’ resurrection. The crowds testifying against Paul plead for him to be killed. Later, Paul is brought before King Agripp...
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...ogs and swine are in our life? A situation like this requires discernment. John MacArthur compares this discernment to the discernment believers have to use when spotting a false teacher (MacArthur, 1980). Therefore, when defending the faith we, as Christians must learn that we cannot always say every necessary word to every person.
In conclusion, when it comes to defending the faith, the Christian apologist must remember what God’s Word teaches. While we can aim to remain firm on the authority of God’s Word, show humility, live above reproach and know when to pull back, all of these essential qualities will not guarantee that every person will believe on the name of Jesus Christ. Ultimately, it is only Christ that can save, so the Christian apologist who is focused on winning an argument should instead focus on Christ, because He is the only one who can win souls.
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