The Defense of the Christian Faith
By Kerry Gilliard
"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." 1 Peter 3:15
"Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." Jude 3
Why do we need to always be ready to give an answer to those who ask us a reason for the hope within us? Why do we need to diligently contend for the faith which was delivered to the saints? Simple. We as believers in Christ are in a SPIRITUAL WAR. Our common enemy, indeed the enemy of all truth is Satan, the Adversary. "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8). Dr. Anthony Evans recently remarked in one of his radio sermons-(to paraphrase him):
The lion rules by intimidation. The lion doesn't roar when it's going to attack- it sneaks up on it's prey. It roars after it has conquered it's prey. The reason it roars is becuase usually, packs of hyenas or jackals, who are scavengers, come to try to eat the prey which the lion has killed. The lion's roar sends fear into their hearts and they run from the scene. If those hyenas and jackals only knew that by sheer numbers they could overpower the lion and that he's only "running his big mouth", they'd go back and take his kill from him.
Our big mouthed adversary has taken the initiative of attacking us from two different facets- outside the church and inside. The two verses quoted above support this conclusion- from without the church, we are faced with secular humanism, philosphy, freethinking, cults, other world religions and much more of the like. In the midst of this, we find unbelievers who are legitimately searching for the truth of God, but the enemy has them so confused and misguided, they reject the truth of Christ when presented before their eyes. To quote Dr. Norman Geisler, unbelievers have good questions!! Christ has answers!! But in order to give those answers, believers need to be equipped and ready to tackle those questions. And if we don't have the answers, we need to know where we can get them.
There are two types of people- those searching for truth and those searching for an excuse not to believe. Unbelievers often have certain "stumbling blocks" placed in their path by the world. Thus, before they are even able to hear the gospel, they need to have these stumbling blocks removed. A PERFECT and quite relevant example is the current re-constructions of the "historical" Jesus being perpatrated by the Jesus Seminar- in their pseudo-scholastic quest, they've convieniently found a non-offensive Jesus which fits in well with the world's new age of tolerance at the expense of truth. I've met several individuals who've had their faith shaken after reading J.D. Crossan's "Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography". By the same token, I've met PLENTY of unbelievers who REJECT the Bible and the claims of Christ simply because they've read the same books or similar books which question the authority of Scripture. The believer needs to be able to answer these objections in an intelligent manner. 1 Peter 3:15 is not a suggestion- it's a command. Paul reasoned with the Pharissees "to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening" (Acts 28:23).
Clearly reasoned answers show that the believer is not just living off of "blind faith", but faith rooted in fact, which appeals to reason, is historically verifiable and non-contradictory.
On the flip side of the coin, our adversary has chosen to attack from INSIDE the church as well. Like a maelevolent virus, the adversary has sown confusion in our midsts, misleading many and confusing most ungrounded believers. With everything from the counterfeit revival of the "Holy Laughter" movement, to the Word-of-Faith movement to the various conspiracy theories of Jack T. Chick and company, to the re-imaging conferences held by the United Methodist Church, to the church splitting teachings of legalism, KJV Onlyism and other things, we've gotten more than an earful from the enemy.
Jude 4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Many an unbeliever has turned on the TV to see the latest "Christian Scandal" either via TBN or some other media medium (Jim Bakker, Robert Tilton,[insert televangelist here]), or fabricated stories (Benny Hinn, John Todd), outright GREED (e.g.-Word-of-Faith preaching that "God wants you to be rich!!") or some experience-based activity (e.g.- barking in the Spirit, laughing in the Spirit). They look at Christianity in general from these experiences and say "You guys are nutts!" Thus, the claims of Christ are pushed aside because of the misrepresentations shown by these sources. Harmless thought they may seem, these doctrines have split churches, hurt many and people have died from these teachings. Certainly not the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
And the same thing is prevelant in all of these movements- a LACK of proper Bible Study. The Word of God, our standard for judging all things, has been neglected. Thus, "certain men" can creep into the church, spread rumors, lies and false doctrine under the guise of a "new move of the Spirit". Much the same as me drinking a bottle of arsenic thinking it was asprin just because they both begin with the letter a. Bible studies are "glossed over" and scripture is nit-picked out of context (much like cults take scripture out of context).
Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
"But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Tim. 3:14-17). "I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry" (2 Timothy 4:1-5).
This essay was posted
with the permission of Theologically
Correct dot Com Ministries
You may contact the author
Kerry Gilliard at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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