Do you ever feel overwhelmed about defending the truth of Christianity? It seems like there’s a lot of information to remember! Philosophy is complicated. Sometimes apologetics feels like math (with apologies to my readers who find math easy and enjoyable).In my cultural context, the default, assumed position is that atheism is true and Christianity is false. So everyone assumes the burden of proof is on me to show otherwise. That makes my job a lot harder.Having read widely and deeply on these subjects for over a decade, I think atheism faces tremendous intellectual and existential challenges and is very likely false. And I think Christianity can be demonstrated as true from philosophical, historical, and existential considerations.
But making this case requires remembering hundreds of facts. There are big picture arguments and very specific details. And yet, because I love my skeptical neighbors, I want to be prepared for evangelistic opportunities when they arise. Remember, 1 Peter 3:15-16 tells us:
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, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.
To my mind, always being prepared will require that I memorize the most significant arguments and facts related to the truth of Christianity (and the reasons why other worldviews, though affirming some important truths, are ultimately false).
How can I do this? Here are some methods to be prepared:
Learn the Basics
Whenever you are learning a new subject, you want to make sure you know the basics. Once you have a general overview of the subject, you can proceed to gain a real depth of knowledge in the areas that you find most interesting.
How can you learn the basics of defending your faith?
For one, subscribe to this blog! I’ll send you, for free, 3-4 articles a week that will strengthen your relationship with God and equip you, by the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, to use reason to lead others to know Christ as Lord and Savior. This is the best deal you will hear about today: completely free content on an incredibly important topic. Please tell all your friends.
Second, take advantage of the other incredible free resources on the internet. There are sites like Apologetics315, The Poached Egg, Stand to Reason, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, the C.S. Lewis Institute, Reasonable Faith, Cold-Case Christianity, and the Christian Apologetics Alliance. They all feature excellent free content. Subscribe to their newsletters too. Over time, you’ll become steadily acquainted with great information for sharing the gospel.
Third, benefit from resource pages on the most important arguments for the truth of Christianity. I put this material together to make it easy for you to find free, high quality articles on why Christianity is true. Again: what a deal! Its free.
Fourth, read a book that covers the basics. Here are five suggestions to get you started:
- The Reason for God by Tim Keller
- On Guard by William Lane Craig
- Who Made God? by Ravi Zacharias and Norman Geisler
- The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel
- Tactics by Greg Koukl
For twenty bucks and twenty minutes a day, you can become pretty solidly grounded in the evidence and reasons that point to Christ. Let’s say you can only afford one book – you can get the others from your library. Or read that one book ten times and study it so intently that you know its contents better than the original author. That will give you confidence to share your faith with your friends – and lead many of them to faith!
Specialize in one area.
Once you feel like you understand the basics, it is time to go deeper in one area. For instance, perhaps you want to be really prepared to discuss the resurrection of Jesus. You need to read The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus by Gary Habermas and Michael Licona. Then follow the bibliography in their book and keep reading. Or perhaps you want to understand why the Gospels are reliable eyewitness testimony. Start with Jesus and the Eyewitnesses by Richard Bauckham. I’ve outlined dozens of other suggestions in my recommended books area.
Know the rational problems with other ‘live’ options
If you live in Egypt, you need to understand why Islam is false. If you live in India, you need to think about the intellectual challenges that Hinduism faces. And if you live in the United States, you need a convincing case that atheism is false (e.g., atheism has serious problems with free will, morality, blame, hope, love, reason, and purpose).
Yes, you need to give reasons for your beliefs. But so does everyone else. You can say, “Let’s assume you’re right and Christianity is false. Why should I believe what you believe?”
Use note cards to remember what you’ve learned.
Note cards make it easy to remember lots of information. That’s why students around the world use them to study for tests.
Think of conversations with your friends as ‘pop quizzes’ about the most important question in the world: Is Jesus God? Are you ready? Or will you flunk the test?
I’ve created some note cards to help me keep current. You can use them too! For instance, you can download my “Apologetics Basics” flashcard set at Flashcard Exchange. They have lots of apps that work with their note card sets (and once again, many of them are free). You can download one and study these on your phone when you’re waiting in line or have some time to kill.
Join a community of apologists.
Are you interested in apologetics because you love your friends and want to help them resolve their doubts? Then join the Christian Apologetics Alliance – a community of thousands of people who have the same passion that you do.
Why do people join reading clubs? To read more. Knitting clubs? To knit more. Gardening clubs? To garden more. Running clubs? To run more. They gain friendships, they learn new techniques, they stay interested, and they are reminded to stick with it. Why not join an ‘apologetics club’ – especially a free one – in order to be prepared to share the gospel with your friends? Given what’s at stake, it doesn’t make sense not to do so.
Summary: What will you do now?
The most important thing you can do is to take action, right now.
If you procrastinate until “tonight” or “tomorrow morning” or “this weekend,” then the chances are very high that you won’t do anything at all. Here are the suggestions – pick one and do it now: