What has become of apologetics and why do it?
Apologetics is to be a defense of the faith; it is about the gospel and anything that pertains to the Bible. Basically it is answering objections and challenges to the word and the one way to God made through Jesus Christ.
We are told by Peter “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15)
One must know what to believe and why you believe it—to be willing to defend it, for they can be called into action at anytime. So we must be right with the Lord so that our witness does not suffer. Titus 1:9: “holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.”
We should be able to present a point that gives understanding of the state of man from God’s perspective to impact a a unbeliever and we should equally be able to explain any teaching that might affect the gospel message to a believer.
We see Paul doing apologetics in Acts 19:8-9: “And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God. But when some were hardened and did not believe, but spoke evil of the Way before the multitude, he departed from them.”
Paul is in a vigorous discussion, debating his brethren that were brought up on the Scriptures. As we can see a every discussion does not yield successful results. Paul stated some plant, some water, some harvest. It is God who opens up the hearts and minds of people that resist.Apologetics accompanies evangelism; it enhances our witnessing. Paul was the great church apologist to the Jews and to the Pagans of Rome. Almost 2,000 years later and little has changed, we still have the same opposers, only they are more efficient in their arguments.
Evangelism is the lifeblood of the church and apologetics is the backbone, it gives us confidence and courage to speak and explain our faith.Apologetics are no longer allowed in many churches as a defense of the gospel in the church. Apologetics is a preservative but is often seen as being divisive, so many that have once rigorously practiced it have lighten up or completely dispensed with it. Without a solid foundation of understanding, and answers, there can be no confidence to speak, there is no boldness to venture into enemy territory and release the captives.
Because of this diminished state of knowing truth by knowledge many who call themselves Christian do not believe the fundamentals that were once the foundation of the Church. Instead, we have a movement from inside the church challenging and reinterpreting many Bible doctrines the Church has practiced from its beginning.
Some who were once vigilant for the truth, do not care to be equipped with current answers to practice discernment with the many new introductions of error intruding on us. Now they are doing soft apologetics. They take on the obvious, and speak strongly as if they oppose error, when much of it is a exhibition to assure their congregants that they are looking out for them. To do genuine apologetics this takes effort, time in research must be spent and answers formulated. It is a constant
The faithful brethren will ALWAYS “expose the unfruitful works of darkness,” (Eph.5:11) and refute “destructive heresies” (2 Pet.2:1); even it will affect their reputation, because they actually care for the people. But they face a concerted effort to silence the exposure of error by many who have joined in the error. A growing segment of the church does not understand when one exposes error, lies and deception they are on God’s side not the enemies. The true anointing, the “Spirit of truth” will help you discern false teaching, if you are open. If you have the Spirit of truth, His influence will help you identify any error, and a boldness to speak just as you would be bold to give the gospel.
The Bible is under tremendous attack today, not just from atheists who do not believe in any religious view but also academics, mockers, and anointed men that claim they hold to the Bibles inspiration and revelation to mankind.
A battle for the truth is taking place in our culture, and also in the church. And it has become very adversarial. As it was in the beginning of the church it will be at the end of the age, but magnified. Yet there will be differences, in the beginning so many entered, in the end so many will leave.
Some of the church is as stiff necked as Israel in turning away from their error to the truth. Certainly if one wants to listen to God and is being trained by the Holy Spirit they should be able to recognize what is not him, just as they would recognize what is of Him.
Today the word of God is being interpreted by the genre of the culture. Moral relativism is culture oriented. Feelings can be shaped by the culture so feeling cannot be an instructor of what is right. We are watching a secularization of the church. Society rejects the wisdom of the Lord. In like manner the church substitutes human reasoning borrowed from the culture for its spirituality. They adopt worldly business concepts thinking it will yield the same success. People are calculated as numbers to prove a program works, affluence and popularity prove success, (which is not often the case i.e. Noah and Jesus).
Truth is always anti falsehood -- when it is presented correctly it drives out the false, replacing it. But it needs to be heard to do its work.
Jer. 7:28: "So you shall say to them, 'This is a nation that does not obey the voice of the LORD their God nor receive correction. Truth has perished and has been cut off from their mouth.” As Israel went, so goes America. History repeats itself as the same scenarios are presented. The word that has endured for all generations should be an example of learning so we do not repeat the mistakes. God told Israel to judge the prophets in the Old Testament. He had the true prophets judge the false. He spoke of false shepherds as“shepherds who cannot understand; they all look to their own way, every one for his own gain, from his own territory. (Isa 56:11).
God promised Israel “And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding” (Jer. 3:15)
If you do not truly believe what the Bible says, then it becomes just another religious book and Christianity becomes just another religion among the others. That is what is being taught by its multicultural partner, interfaith. That is why we are living in post-Christian America, Too many in the pulpit do not REALLY believe, they have it as a job.
Paul suffered the eventual price for being so outspoken in his apologetic witnessing. Phil 1:7: “just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace.” Paul goes on to say in v.15-18 “Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from good will: The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.”
The proclamation of Christ can come from selfish ambition or out of love; in pretense or in truth. Which do you see is dominant today? While Paul was glad that Jesus was mentioned, he understood those who did it insincerely gave him added affliction while being incarcerated. Paul made it clear of his genuine care for the sheep. He wrote a second time to the Corinthian church, reminding them “that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you” (2 Cor. 1:12); as ministers having “sincere love” (2 Cor. 6:4-6).
2 Cor. 2:17: “For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.” Peddling is the word “which corrupts” kapeleuo, from kapelos (a huckster); to retail, i.e. (by implication) to adulterate (figuratively) Strong’s Concordance)
Apparently there were almost as many in Paul’s day doing it for fame and fortune as there are today.
Error dies a slow death, and it sometimes can come back to life because of those who refuse to recognize it as error never took it upon themselves to remove it. Take for example the error of the Latter Rain movement that Peter Wagner has absconded from the late John Wimber and made it his basis for the new apostolic movement. He rounded up the prophets and apostles under him and offered it as a new governmental authority to the church using the term 3rd wave to disguise it. Now it is more pervasive than it was in the 40’s and 50’s under Branham and his associates that was rejected officially from AoG.
Isa 59:15-19 “So truth fails, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. Then the LORD saw it, and it displeased Him that there was no justice. He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor; therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him; and His own righteousness, it sustained Him. For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on His head; he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak. According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay, fury to His adversaries, recompense to His enemies; the coastlands He will fully repay. So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun; when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD will lift up a standard against him.”
The word speaks of the enemy coming in like a flood, the principle set forth in the Scripture is that God raises a standard, that standard is his truth.
God always raises a standard but it takes work to be heard, especially over the loud voices that oppose what is true. Those who speakwill have the armor on i.e. the breastplate of righteousness ready to use the truth to whatever opposes it.
Eph 6:13-15: “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace.”
The lack of truth, no breastplate equals no preaching of the gospel. What are we really facing? New age ideas have entered the church such as praying with art or prophesying with art. Pasting people names on crosses and claiming salvation for them. Bathing in prayer, formerly known as soaking prayers.
Water, Fire, Wind are used in a spiritual foundation exercises, explained as what keeps our faith from running dry (Water), a complete, all-consuming, soul dedication (Fire), and being moved to action by the power of the Spirit (Wind). These eclectic concepts that are removed from their biblical teaching are also used in songs, where God is in, or is the fire and air.
We are told we are his hands of his church today in the world, that God uses us as if he has no ability on his own. If God’s kingdom is to come on earth, we must work for it, find you skills and talents and start using them in the workplace. This is simply soft dominionism to the unknowing church. People hear from God say, "Arise and take the land," or are told the demonic stronghold over areas and to spend time praying against them (instead of praying to God).
Word and Spirit training programs; teaching people how to do miracles, how to manifest reality by speaking. Learn to lay hands on unbelievers to make them believers.
Glory clouds that copy William Branham’s meetings that delude the ardent devotees of the experiential Christianity that it is the same glory that came down in the tabernacle and ark!
Zipcode praying; Gatekeepers; Transformers. They all find some scripture to apply to their overworked imagination for justification of these new revelatory spirit practices.
We are also facing the most compromising teaching of all, that we are all worshipping the very same God; only in different ways.
First popularized by Mother Theresa 'there are many ways to God': “All is God--Buddists, Hindus, Christians, etc., all have access to the same God” (Dec.4, 1989 Time magazine, pp. 11, 13).
This is the essence of Bahaiism and also Masonry. Manly P. Hall, a Mason, wrote:
“The true disciple of ancient Masonry has given up forever the worship of personalities .... As a Mason his religion must be universal: Christ, Buddha or Mohammed, the names mean little, for he recognizes only the Light and not the bearer [person] (Lost Keys of Masonry, pp. 64-65, Manly Hall)
The church has become an experiment with practices that have nothing to do with the word or faith in the Bible. But because of the leadership it is allowed, all they want to know is if it works.
A war of truth has found itself coming inside the walls of the Church and has escalated. The leaders that should be protecting us; but instead of exposing error they have joined with it, so it has gained momentum and many are paying the consequences. But how can they keep the Saints from error if they do not want to have apologetics?
Occult or cultic beliefs are being integrated into the church using Christian terminology, they pass any smell tests because of cold in the nose. Contemplative prayers, eastern meditation. Some of this requires an astute person to discern them, some do not.
God is into protecting His people from harm, He does not want us to ignore the issues because this attitude only protects the false teachers who are spreading it.
God will not overlook those who stand up for the wrong side, and come against those who stand for what is good, what is right, what is Biblical. They will eventually be held accountable to God for assisting in the destruction of people’s spiritual lives by their silence, ignorance, and disinterest.
Jude addressed this type of problem in the apostolic era (1:3) “ Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”
It means to struggle, as a combatant" the allusion is to competing in the Grecian games to win. We should contend in this manner for all "truth." Not to just win the argument but the person for whom Christ died for.
For the faith delivered once to all. There are not many faiths, only one.
Gresham Machen who lived in the early 20th century was a voice of great insight in the church for his time and ours, “In the sphere of religion, in particular, the present time is a time of conflict; the great redemptive religion which has always been known as Christianity is battling against a totally diverse type of religious belief, which is only the more destructive of the Christian faith because it makes use of traditional Christian terminology. This modern non-redemptive religion is called "modernism" or "liberalism." Both names are unsatisfactory; the latter, in particular, is question-begging. The movement designated as "liberalism" is regarded as "liberal" only by its friends; to its opponents it seems to involve a narrow ignoring of many relevant facts. And indeed the movement is so various in its manifestations that one may almost despair of finding any common name which will apply to all its forms.” (Christian and Liberalism By J. Gresham Machen)
Gary Johnson makes this observation on the changes that are taking place today, back in 1996: “Although most of today's professing evangelicals would acknowledge that theology, in some sense of the word, does matter, a recent survey in Christianity Today revealed that this is more lip service than anything else. According to this survey...theology, in any sense of the word, is really not all that important to the very people to whom it should matter most: those in the pew and in the pulpit. Both groups listed theological knowledge as last in terms of pastoral priorities....We are sadly experiencing, on a rather large scale, a subjectivism that betrays its weakened hold on the objective truth and reality of Christianity by its neglect or even renunciation of its distinctive objective character....Men...really wish to have a creedless Christianity. "Creeds," they shout, "are divisive things; away with them!"...Where does this leave us? An undogmatic Christianity is no Christianity at all. ("Does Theology Still Matter?" by Gary L. W. Johnson, The Coming Evangelical Crisis: pp. 58, 66, 67)
He is not referring to just traditions we perpetuate for a denomination. Creeds, doctrine succinctly enunciate what we believe, what is biblical. Machen saw the challenges, “the problem in question is the most serious concern of the Church. What is the relation between Christianity and modern culture; may Christianity be maintained in a scientific age? (Christian and Liberalism)
In his Liberalism or Christianity?J. Gresham Machen summed it up as a revolt against historic Christianity calling the perpetrators the advocates of a new religion, whom he concluded: At the very root of the modern liberal movement is the loss of the consciousness of sin.” (found in “THE PRINCETON THEOLOGICAL REVIEW, Vol. 20, 1922)
In a time when liberalism is guiding the church we need to make scripture our all, and renew our allegiance to the one of whom Scripture speaks of. Keep to the message that Jesus mandated for the church so that sinners can become inheritors of the kingdom of heaven.