Faith & Self Defense

Building Confidence Through Evidence

Street Epistemologists – On Guard 10

Street EpistemologyIn the last part of our series we presented ‘7 Steps for Preparation’ so our children would ‘Be Prepared’ to defend the truth claims of Christianity:

  1. Prayer
  2. Telling our children the truth
  3. Being open to our children’s questions
  4. Keeping watch over our children
  5. Teaching our children how to be wise in this world
  6. Helping our children understand the power of relationships
  7. Loving our kids no matter what.

Now we move to the Fourth Step in Faith Defense – ‘Be Ready.’

Step 4 – Be Ready

Imagine coaching a high school football team. You’ve taught your team members the fundamentals of football. They know what a football looks like. They’ve thrown the football, kicked the football, run with the football. They’ve learned how to wear a football uniform. They know how to put on a football helmet. They know how to put on football pads. They know how to put on football socks. They know how to put on football shoes. They know the rules of the game. They’ve learned how to huddle, how to line up on the field, how to block, how to pass, how to run, how to play together as a team. You’ve divided them into practice teams so they know what it’s like to play the game of football. You’ve done everything you can to prepare them to play the game. Now it’s up to the team members to play the game of football against real opponents from another high school.

However, on the night of the first game several players show up late and some don’t show up at all. The players who do come to the game are obviously not ready to play. They go to the field instead of the locker room. They aren’t wearing uniforms. They’re wandering around the stands talking to friends. None of them are on the field ready to play. They seem oblivious of the fact that there’s a game scheduled that night. You have to forfeit the game because your players are not ready to play.

The best training and coaching in the world won’t mean much if your children and teens aren’t ‘ready’ to defend the Christian worldview in their family, in their neighborhood, in their school and at their job.

Ready for Battle

In the Lord I put my trust; How can you say to my soul, ‘Flee as a bird to your mountain’? For look! The wicked bend their bow, They make ready their arrow on the string, That they may shoot secretly at the upright in heart. If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do?” Psalm 11:1-3

King David and the people of Israel understood that they were in a constant battle with the many enemies who surrounded them. While the real possibility of physical attacks were certainly on their minds, David knew that something even worse was close by – the attacks of wicked people against those who are upright in heart. As David wisely asked – “If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do?”

What are the foundations of Christianity? The existence of God? Reliability of Scripture? The reality of Jesus Christ and His life, death, resurrection, ascension, advocacy before the Father, imminent return? The Apostle Paul went so far to say this is the ‘foundation’ of Christianity:

Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” Ephesians 2:19-22

The Christian worldview is built on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ and His apostles and prophets. Thinking back to what David wrote in Psalm 11 – “The wicked bend their bow, They make ready their arrow on the string, That they may shoot secretly at the upright in heart.” The wicked of this world are aiming their attack at Christian families and churches: children, youth and adults. What is their goal? To destroy the very ‘foundations’ of the Christian worldview – “If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do?” 

For just a moment, let’s remember what started this series about Street Epistemology. Peter Boghossian, author of ‘A Manual for Creating Atheists’ and chief promoter of what he calls ‘Street Epistemology,’ tweeted about an article I wrote titled ‘Breaking Down Street Epistemology.’  Here’s what Boghossian wrote:

“These attempts to discourage people from being honest, less dogmatic, & more humble, will fail. http://
faithandselfdefense.com/2015/01/18/breaking-down-street-epistemology/

Within minutes of Boghossian tweeting that I began receiving comments on my post from atheists, some of them practicing street epistemologists. Their goal was to talk me out of my ‘Faith’ in Jesus Christ. Boghossian is a strong proponent of that goal and wrote a book about it.

“This book will teach you how to talk people out of their faith. You’ll learn how to engage the faithful in conversations that help them value reason and rationality, cast doubt on their beliefs, and mistrust their faith. I call this activist approach to helping people overcome their faith, ‘Street Epistemology.’ The goal of this book is to create a generation of Street Epistemologists: people equipped with an array of dialectical and clinical tools who actively go into the streets, and the community–into any and every place the faithful reside–and help them abandon their faith and embrace reason.” (A Manual For Creating Atheists, Peter Boghossian, Chapter I, Pitchstone Publishing, 2013)

Keep in mind that Boghossian is writing and lecturing and leading atheists to talk our children and grandchildren out of their belief in Christ. This is personal.

As you sit reading this, what Christian foundations do you see under attack? God? The Bible? Jesus Christ? The family? The unborn? Marriage? The sanctity of life? Freedom of religion? Freedom of speech? Each one is a ‘foundation’ of the Christian worldview and each is under severe attack.

Fighting the Battle

While it is important that we understand the ‘danger’ of these attacks, let’s not forget that God has given us great spiritual resources to deal with them effectively.

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 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; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:10-18

Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you, and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.” 2 Thessalonians 3:1-3

Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for ‘God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.’ Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 5:5-11

You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 3:17-18

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1

Notice carefully the advice of Christ’s apostles. We must help our children to ‘Be Ready’ for the attack of the ‘wicked’ on the ‘foundations’ of Christianity. Here’s what they MUST DO. Parents, I highly recommend you print these, place them around your house and read to your children and explain their meaning often.

  • Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might
  • Put on the whole armor of God
  • Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit
  • Being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints
  • Younger people, submit yourselves to your elders
  • Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God
  • Cast all your care upon Him
  • Be sober
  • Be vigilant
  • Resist the devil, steadfast in the faith
  • Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God
  • Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

Children grow up fast – too fast in my opinion. Christian parents and church leaders have limited time to help children prepare for the attacks of the wicked. We need to help our kids ‘grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.’ The wicked of this world are aiming their attack at the the Christian worldview and we must help our children ‘be ready’ for those attacks.

If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do?”

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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