Faith & Self Defense

Building Confidence Through Evidence

Hope For America’s Youth – Answers

In the first part of this series about Hope For America’s Youth we presented the conflict – millions of young people are leaving churches during or after high school. The statistics are staggering and sobering. How could this happen? How could parents and church leaders invest 15-18 years teaching a child about Christianity only to see that child abandon the Christian worldview for another belief system (e.g. atheism, agnosticism, Buddhism)?

If Christianity is true and every other worldview is false (which it is), parents and church leaders are faced with the dilemma of how to deal with young people’s rejection of the truth. Suggestions?

Answers

“… be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you …” 1 Peter 3:15 (KJV)

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” 1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)

Remember when your son or daughter started asking the “why” question?

Parent – Time to go to bed!

Child – Why?

Parent – Because you need your rest.

Child – Why?

Parent – Because sleep is good for you.

Child – Why?

Parent – Because you’ll wake up strong and ready for a new day in the morning.

Child – Why?

Parent – Because I said so!!!

Child – Okay, Daddy. I love you.

Parent – Sigh

Children do not outgrow the need for answers to questions. The questions will change, but your child still needs answers.

The Greek word Peter used that is translated “answer” in 1 Peter 3:15 is apologia – hence the name “apologetics.” Some English Bibles translate apologia as “defense” (e.g. NKJV, NASB, HCSB).

“… 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.” NKJV

The ministry of Christian apologetics is providing answers, giving a defense, for the Christian worldview. Young children look for answers – older children and teens look for reasons. That, I submit, is where many parents and churches can improve.

Reason

Young people are looking for “reasons” for what their parents and church leaders say is true about Christianity. The exciting thing is that Christianity was founded on reason; the Church was built on reason!

“Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures.” Acts 17:2

“Therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there.” Acts 17:17

“And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks.” Acts 18:4

“And he came to Ephesus, and left them there; but he himself entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews.” Acts 18:19

“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 and withdrew the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus.” Acts 19:8-9

Now as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, ‘Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!’ But he said, “I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason. For the king, before whom I also speak freely, knows these things; for I am convinced that none of these things escapes his attention, since this thing was not done in a corner.” Acts 28:24-26

 The Greek noun Peter used translated “reason” in 1 Peter 3:15 is logos. It is the same word the Apostle John used in his Gospel – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The Greek reads – “εν αρχη ην ο λογος και ο λογος ην προς τον θεον και θεος ην ο λογος.” John wrote that in the beginning was the Word (logos), and the Word (logos) was with God, and the Word (logos) was God. In case there were questions about the identify of this logos who was God, John wrote – “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth … For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:14, 17) John’s powerful statement is that the Word (logos) who is God became flesh and lived among men. That logos (reason) is Jesus Christ.

The Greek verb Paul used translated “reasoned” and “reasoning” is dialegomai – “converse, address, preach, lecture; I argue, reason.” The usage of the verb in ancient Greece was “getting a conclusion across.” It was used in the context of a discourse between two or more people who held different viewpoints about a topic and wanted to come to the truth through reasoned arguments. The English word “dialogue” comes from  dialegomai.

The ancient idea of dialegomai was different than what we might term “dialogue.” It was more than just passing time by talking about the weather. To dialegomai with someone was to use logic and reason to get across their point about the truth of a matter. They used dialegomai to “persuade” the thinking of another person.

Persuasion

That’s what Paul did when he “reasoned” with people about the Christian worldview – “And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks.” Paul’s purpose was to persuade people about changing their beliefs about God and truth and become Christians. Watch what Paul does and says when he has the opportunity to present his apologia before King Agrippa –

Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance. For these reasons the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. Therefore, having obtained help from God, to this day I stand, witnessing both to small and great, saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come— that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.’ Now as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, ‘Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!’ But he said, ‘I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason. For the king, before whom I also speak freely, knows these things; for I am convinced that none of these things escapes his attention, since this thing was not done in a corner. King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe.’ Then Agrippa said to Paul, ‘You almost persuade me to become a Christian.’ And Paul said, ‘I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these chains.” Acts 26:19-29

King Agrippa understood what Paul was trying to do – persuade him to become a Christian. How did Paul respond to that? He admitted it! “I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these chains.” Paul’s purpose in presenting his defense before the king and others in the room was to persuade them to become Christians!

Conflict Resolution

I remember hearing that term, “conflict resolution,” decades ago in the context of management. Managers learned how to help resolve conflicts in the workplace through communication and moderation. If a manager was successful in resolving conflicts, employees saw that management valued them and their ideas and would do their best to come to the best resolution for the good of the team.

The conflict many Christian parents and church leaders face today is the attack of non-Christian worldviews on the minds and hearts of their children and youth. Paul also wrote about another kind of persuasion – the kind that leads people away from obeying the truth of Christ –

You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no other mind; but he who troubles you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is.” Galatians 5:7-10

We need to be ready at all times, in every circumstance, to provide answers and reasons to our children about the truth of the Christian worldview. We also need to prepare young people to deal with people who will attempt to hinder them from obeying the truth.

There are many ministries doing a wonderful work in this area of providing answers and reason to young people in high school and college. In the next part of our series about Hope For America’s Youth, we will share with you one of the best Christian organizations currently doing this vital work of “conflict resolution.”

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

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10 thoughts on “Hope For America’s Youth – Answers

  1. Keith Coates on said:

    Mark,

    Yes, I believe that sharing the gospel, in Word and deed is found within the New Testament and that it is to be modeled the same. Which therein as we are commanded, commissioned and enabled to do. This Spirit induced and empowered forming actually does question and probe others thinking while discerning the intents of their hearts. Consider:

    “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” (Hebrews 4:12-13)

    Thereby it is the Holy Spirit working through our obedience in accordance with God’s Word that effectually enlightens (Matthew 5:14 & Philippians 2:15-16) and engages, pricks, investigates, and or debates i.e. (probes?) others.

    Consider the point of the Word not being preached aright within the Church as to the exodus of youth leaving the Church. Indeed a probable reason for them not being truly born-again, which in turns makes sense that they leave (Church/faith), or go back to where they already were.

    “But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: 25 And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest…” (1 Corinthians 14:24-25a KJV)

    Which as intended leads to:

    “… and so falling down on his face he will worship God and report that God is in you of a truth.” (14:25b)

    We should take careful note here that what is the meaning of the Greek word here translated to prophecy, it is: propheteuo:

    33.459 προφητεύω: to speak under the influence of divine inspiration, with or without reference to future events—‘to prophesy, to make inspired utterances.’ προφήτευσον, τίς ἐστιν ὁ παίσας σε; ‘prophesy, Who hit you?’ Lk 22:64; ἐπροφήτευσεν ὅτι ἔμελλεν Ἰησοῦς ἀποθνῄσκειν ‘he prophesied that Jesus was about to die’ Jn 11:51. (Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 439.)

    Which would certainly include empowered illumination through expositional preaching of the Word of God coming from the Church. Certainly here we should see this as a biblical model for preaching and reasoning. That for which is in great want today.

    Oh and for certain this enlightening engagement of the Truth illuminates in deed just as in Word. Both in and outside the Church. All the while as God’s Word does just as He intends it to (Isaiah 55:11). Consider:

    “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and tglorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

    “Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, uwhereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” (1 Peter 2:12)

    “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. 13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? 14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; 15 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 pfear: 16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.” (1 Peter 3:12-15)

    “Being enriched in every thing to all †bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God. 12 For dthe administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also fby many thanksgivings unto God; 13 Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men; 14 And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you. 15 Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” (2 Corinthians 9:14)

    These activities are the fruits of Christ working through us as we abide in Him. Our in the vine bountiful witness to the world (which would be our greatest defense) are not contingent with us Christians (branches) ever-readying we ourselves with self-prepared answers to reply to all or any questions.
    Rather to be ever sanctifying Christ in our hearts which then He gives us the words, questions, and answers to witness in real-time everyday encounters with those around us in and outside of the Body of Christ.

    I do not oppose presenting historical or scientific answers to scientific or historical questions concerning the proof of Jesus existence, the reliability of the Bible, and teaching about the Christian Worldview. Having said that know where in scripture does it say that we are to be ever readying others by ever preparing answers for them, about their hope.

    Which hope (elpis) seen is the reason for which bids the question and seeks to get a response (verbal explanation) concerning about it in 1 Peter 3:15 is it not?

    So I would rather agree that sharing (speaking and living) the gospel individually and corporately coming from the Church is in practice the first thing which guides the rest. That is from how vivid our Christian witness is as others observe, see, react and question us concerning Jesus Christ and our hope in Him. Then of course how we respond.

    As assuredly the New Testament does provide a model for our Christ-like gospel living in the world which is contingent to them witnessing us aright in the Word.

    “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:34-35)

    “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. 26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. 27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:25-27)

    And Yes Jesus & Paul did share the Gospel in all their conversations (as did James 3:13, just as did Peter in 1 Peter 1:15, 18, 2:12, 3:1, 2, & 16 in the KJV, which means ones conduct; way of life) which included answering questions. However their replying was not always the same as if assuming that all questions asked were valid or coherent inquiries. In fact Jesus countered nonsensical or incoherent questions with Holy Spirit empowered enlightening questions.

    In view of our discussions here we should even consider the reason our Lord gave for speaking in Parables as He informs His disciples in a direct answer in Matthew 13:11-15 . He whom has ears to hear should listen (Matthew 13:9).

    Paul likewise (Holy Spirit enabled) addressed questions to the churches in his letters and of course to all those whom queried and opposed him as recorded in the book of Acts.

    You ask: “What about a Christian who has doubts about what they believe? Should we not be prepared to answer their questions, probe their thinking and teach them to observe all things that Christ taught His disciples?”

    Of course I believe this but this is not the main point of what we our discussing here. I as well believe it safe to say this is not even what your Apologetic Ministry is primarily about? Youth that thought they once believed yet never really did, atheists, and agnostics are not in view with this. This actually is what we individually and corporately as the Church are to be administering together in fellowship. Which is our divine Commission.

    “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

    As well I certainly believe the 1 Peter begins, continues, and ends speaking to Christians whom our suffering; that is as too the original recipients. And yes it speaks yet to us today (Christians) with the same context. The same inspired words as to be received the same. Certainly not contingent on us suffering exactly the same, but same message in interpretation and application.

    You ask: Do we not see the Apostle Paul use a variety of “reasonings” in his ministry?

    I would like to say that we should first acknowledge that everything recorded in the Bible, is Holy Writ. So to see and realize that even Paul’s reasoning’s were Scripture.

    With this in view, when you say reasoning’s if you mean: as in those in the Book of Acts: 17:2, 17:7, 18:4, 18:19, 19:8-9, & etc. as in Old Testament citing and interpretation. Along with all of the Apostle Paul’s other writings recorded in scripture (New Testament). Then yes they are all scripture Word of God reasoning’s. So of course we see variations (according to what Truth was being addressed) in his teachings throughout his writings as an Apostle so inspired so written.

    Certainly I do agree: “The Bible is clear about God’s Supremacy, Sovereignty and Perfection…” Yes, which does translate to God’s Omnipotence, Omniscience, Omnipresence within His Holiness and His Righteousness. Which affirms that He is the Creator and Providential Ruler of all of His Creation.

    And to your point of: “…The Bible is also clear about man’s depravity and utter lostness.”

    And yes our utter lostness which I believe you mean sinfulness that separates us from God. Albeit our sin nature the very thing that we seem to neglect to inform others, remind ourselves, and to be acutely aware of as born again Christians.

    And in view of us being separated from God our Creator (before we believe on Jesus Christ) on account of our Sin. Oh for the seeing, hearing, and the knowing of that beginning of salvation.

    To be blessedly informed of that spirit of bondage (Romans 8:15, Galatians 5:1, 2 Timothy 1:7, & 1 John 4:18) in our first time awareness of our reigning sin that separates us from God. Thereby in that place of enablement to accept the Good News.

    Oh for the need of the voices of the sent to proclaim the gospel of reconciliation to God, that the hearer might hear with the ears they have been given.

    “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our zreport? 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. 18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. 19 But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.” (Romans 10:13-18)

    This is a most important subject i.e. SIN that seemingly is sidestepped, under-addressed, if not subverted and wrested out of the gospel reasoning’s coming from the Church and Modern Apologetics. For which I would contend that this is where we are failing in the presentation of the Gospel in our Churches, to our youth, and even to the unbelieving world.

    Finally yes if we truly have been approached and apprehended as such with the Gospel message, we should be approaching saved and unsaved people the same.
    Paul spoke along this line when he said:

    “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures;” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)

    In Christ,
    keith

  2. Keith Coates on said:

    Actually I do agree to a point. As you do say a Salvation is a supernatural event, this I do agree with.

    Now concerning your reference to the Philippian Jailor we should look at the whole of the text that speaks on this to get the whole context:

    “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. 26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed. 27 And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. 29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, 30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. 32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. 34 And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.” (Acts 16:25-34 KJV)

    Ok, we must admit we know little about this jailor or the prisoners that are in the prison with Paul and Silas. We do however see something of Paul and Silas’s unashamed and HOPE (1 Peter 3:15a in real time) filled devotion to God. As likely did the other prisoners as they witnessed Paul and Silas in their praying and praising. Maybe even the Jailor heard and saw them as well.

    Yes after the earthquake, after Paul told him none of the prisoners had escaped, likely after the Jailor saw what Paul said was true, then the jailor did react: 29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, 30 And brought them out…” and then he asked: “… and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? (Kind of like a real time HOPE question asked 1 Peter 3:15b)

    Then Paul did indeed say: And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” (Kind of like a real time Hope answer 1 Peter 3:15c) However this is not the point where the jailor just simply assumed on or in or about the Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Nor did Paul or Silas stop here as if this was all that he needed to know and do to actually be able to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. For it is then that we read:

    “32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.” Ok so to be sure it stands to reason that this fellow needed to know more about what it meant to be saved, the enabled understanding of the necessity to be saved, to be informed of the Lord and then how to be saved. Which this likely was what was spoken through the logos. Then after this we read that not only was he truly reborn (as born again Christian) but as well his whole household.

    And yes in your Romans reference in consideration of as always again the whole context:

    “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our zreport? 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:8-17 KJV)

    Now we should take note that the emphasis here in Romans Chapter 10 is in the Gospel, Faith, Salvation, Preaching and Belief, for which the key to all of this is Scripture, God’s Holy Word, His report, His calling, our enabled hearing, and His sending.

    In which yes belief in the heart (not mind) that God has raised him from the dead is an absolute. However this is not talking about the historical fact, not even of how many provable eyewitnesses of the resurrection, and certainly not about simply assimilating about it only in ones finite heart let alone thinking. No implication nor reference in scripture that this Modern Apologetic reasoning is the first step, or even a philosophical needed step to becoming born again!

    This is speaking about the Supernatural working of God (Holy Spirit informed) in that this is known that Christ is the Messiah, that He is The Son of God and that His death and consequent resurrection is that which secures Salvation for all whom call on Him. That is of course within our absolute belief (faith) in that Christ had finished His atoning sacrifice for our sin (awareness of sinfulness implied). Then if only to call upon Him for forgiveness.

    Therefore I must say I am confused, when you write/expound your defense like this:

    “Helping young people know why they believe what they believe is an important key. Which I would think the first thing would be to speak and expound the Gospel to them so they know what and how they are to believe. Consider your point of the probability of most of the young people leaving the Church not being truly saved.

    Yet you seem to as you should, then preach:

    “Let’s begin with the supernatural activity of “salvation.” Thereby implying that this is to be first important and only way/key: which is the logos Way that the Gospel is to be being preached and expounded and received by young and old people.”

    But then you go on to write more expounding otherwise:

    “In working with young people who have doubts about Christianity or have “left” Christianity, I usually discover that their training in “why” they believe “what” they believe was weak or non-existent. Once they learn about the powerful evidence for the Christian worldview, many are either strengthened in their belief or ‘believe’ in Jesus Christ for the first time.”

    So as it is here you are bordering on or are saying what you next say you are not saying:

    “I am not saying that young people in the Church are not becoming “born again” because they have not been taught about the ‘proofs’ of Jesus existence, the reliability of the Bible, and teaching about the Christian worldview.”

    And then again you preach:

    “Young people become saved because they have confessed with their mouths the Lord Jesus and believed in their hearts that God raised Him from the dead”

    And then you expound otherwise again:

    . It is the responsibility of parents and church leaders to teach their young people that there is strong evidence for their confession and belief. That knowledge helps prepare young people to face the attacks of the enemy. Teaching young people why they believe what they believe will go a long way toward strengthening individuals, families and churches, which would be to the praise of God’s glory – our prime directive.”

    And yes I agree that: “It is the responsibility of parents and church leaders to teach their young people that there is strong evidence for their confession and belief.” However it is only true if you mean: that this training is through the sound biblical teaching of Scripture which is part of Biblical Discipleship that should be taught by all born again Christian’s. Which most assuredly is the Prime Directive of the Church. Which indeed is God honoring and praising to His Glory.

    For which this not being done would be the obvious reason or cause for: “70-75% of Christian young people leave the Church after high school”

    Which I think it appropriate to suggest here today this lacking in the Church at large is much the same as it was back in the 1960’s in the Churches you attended in your youth. That is to say that sound Biblical teaching, Biblical Discipleship, or even how to become a Christian was not being taught nor caught then or now:
    “I was born to Christian parents who loved God and served Him with all their hearts. I grew up in churches. I participated in the children and youth programs. I made a profession of faith in Christ as a boy. I sang in the choir. I was a teen leader. I gave my testimony in church. I won Bible drills. I worked at a national denominational summer camp. The only problem was, I wasn’t saved. My religion was dry and useless. I was dead in trespasses and sins.”
    (https://faithandselfdefense.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/mark_testimony1.pdf)

    Therefore I would suggest that the main problem in the Body of Christ today is not because Church leaders are not answering all the ‘WHY’ questions. The problem is not we as Christians failing to give forth enough logical reasons why we believe what we believe to our children or to the Atheist next door? Certainly the failing of the church is not because we are unapologetically unprepared to answer the questions that the 21 Century unbelievers are asking.

    I would even suggest that we are amiss in assuming that the questions that these once born people are asking are actually proper let alone spiritually inspired questions. Check your Bible and see how many fool-hearted questions Jesus Christ answered with the appropriate question.

    We are failing because we are not being supernaturally conformed (metamorphosed Romans 12:2) and or reasoned by the scriptures by the Word of God ( Acts 17:2, 17, 18:4, 19, 19:8-9, 20:7, 9, 24:25, and Hebrews 12:5).

    Not philosophical reasoned or reasoning as you suggest otherwise than what the Greek word διαλέγομαι i.e. dialegomai actually means:

    “The Greek verb Paul used translated “reasoned” and “reasoning” is dialegomai – “converse, address, preach, lecture; I argue, reason.” The usage of the verb in ancient Greece was “getting a conclusion across.” It was used in the context of a discourse between two or more people who held different viewpoints about a topic and wanted to come to the truth through reasoned arguments. The English word “dialogue” comes from dialegomai.”

    “The ancient idea of dialegomai was different than what we might term “dialogue.” It was more than just passing time by talking about the weather. To dialegomai with someone was to use logic and reason to get across their point about the truth of a matter. They used dialegomai to “persuade” the thinking of another person.”

    “In the New Testament there is no instance of the classical use of διαλέγομαι in the philosophical sense. In the sphere of revelation there is no question of reaching the idea through dialectic. What is at issue is the obedient and percipient acceptance of the Word spoken by God, which is not an idea, but the comprehensive declaration of the divine will which sets all life in the light of divine truth. διαλέγομαι occurs in three senses in the NT.

    1. In Hb. 12:5 it signifies God’s “address” of encouragement (as to sons), for which there are parallels in Is. 63:1 LXX and the instances cited under Philo b 2. In Ac. διαλέγεσθαι with the dat., or with πρός τινα or sometimes absol., is used of Paul’s addresses in the synagogues (17:2, 17; 18:4, 19), in the temple (24:12), in the school of Tyrannus (19:9), and to the church in Troas (20:7, 9). There is here no reference to “disputation,” but to the “delivering of religious lectures or sermons.” The only relevant parallels are in Hellenistic Judaism rather than Greek philosophy. What is at issue is the address which any qualified member of a synagogue might give.”

    (Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey W. Bromiley, and Gerhard Friedrich, eds., Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964–), 94–95.)

    We are failing because we are not reasonably living (Romans 12:1 & 1 Peter 2:2) with and by the knowledge of God (Ephesians 1:17, 4:13, Colossians 1:10, & 2 Peter 1:2). Authored (Hebrews 5:9 & 12:2) via His Word apprehended, taught, and lived through Christ in us (1 Corinthians 1:30, Ephesians 1:10, Philippians 1:5) i.e. the Holy Spirit.

    Which in fact is us by ourselves without sufficient power, purpose, and authority thereby failing in not getting, living, and fulfilling the Great Commission.

    “18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:18-20 KJV)

    I do not write any of this with the intent to disparage you personally, nor to judge your motives, which I could never. However I discern through your own words that you are misrepresenting scripture and teaching others to do the same.

    I write this well knowing my responsibility to my Lord and Savior that is to be rightfully fearful in that I do not dishonor Him or His Word. Knowing likewise to not be moved nor troubled by the wrong fear of man. I hope the same for you.

    Yet with much regret I do believe that within your defenses (within these two articles, several others that I have read, your responses, and three of your e-books that I have read, that you tend to apply scripture far different than you interpret it other than what was intended.

    I pray for you Mark, I pray for Faith and Defense, and I pray for Ratio Christi, that you would look to the accurate exegesis of Scripture and consider what God says about Apologetics and our right apologias (1 Peter 3:15.) Ever being careful to observe, interpret, and apply God’s Holy Word, not according to what I, you, or anyone else may inadvertently or otherwise eisegesis it to say. Rather only as our Lord and Savior has authored it as willed.

    In Christ,
    keith

    • Hi, Keith. You wrote –

      “I do not write any of this with the intent to disparage you personally, nor to judge your motives, which I could never. However I discern through your own words that you are misrepresenting scripture and teaching others to do the same.

      I write this well knowing my responsibility to my Lord and Savior that is to be rightfully fearful in that I do not dishonor Him or His Word. Knowing likewise to not be moved nor troubled by the wrong fear of man. I hope the same for you.

      Yet with much regret I do believe that within your defenses (within these two articles, several others that I have read, your responses, and three of your e-books that I have read, that you tend to apply scripture far different than you interpret it other than what was intended.”

      How would you recommend I represent Scripture accurately and teach others to do the same?

      In Christ’s Love and Grace

      Mark

    • Keith Coates on said:

      Mark,

      I would sincerely say that you should seek the Lord and ask him if my claim about you misrepresenting scripture is true. Then of course ask Him to guide you what next you must do, whether I am correct, or if I am wrong.

      I as well would prayerfully ask that you would listen to or read John Piper’s: Make a Case for your Hope! Sermon preached October 19, 1980 it can be found here: http://www.desiringgod.org/messages/make-a-case-for-your-hope and to seek if what he says does exegetically and spiritually fit with the context and application that he gives, or the Modern Apologetic view (application and teaching) of 1 Peter 3:15.

      Also concerning Salvation and sin take the time to listen to ‘The Spirit of Bondage’ by Martyn Lloyd Jones you can access it here: http://www.mljtrust.org/collections/book-of-romans/8/?page=2

      Also though I did not specifically write this before but I believe it pertinent to suggest that you also that step back from your (& the majority of Apologetic Ministries about these days) viewing of Modern i.e. Classical Apologetics of natural-bent reasoning in view of the correct definition, interpretation, and application of ‘reasoning’ 17:2, 17:7, 18:4, 18:19, 19:8-9. Namely each in context to their own, in view of the Greek meaning, and the specific verb parsing of each, within Grammatical/Historical Interpretation.

      Yes I am a presuppositionalist. Having said that know here that I am saying for you to reason specifically with the Word of God to those who you minister too (even Paul did this on Mars Hill in application!). Yet likewise all the more be reasoned yourself with and by God’s Word within the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:7-13). Then of course certainly to be teaching as Christ has thus taught through His Word.

      In Christ

      keith

    • Hi, Keith. I knew from early in our discussion that you took a presuppositional view. I have enjoyed reading Van Til, Bahnsen, Clark, Frame and others. I have also enjoyed the writings of Schaeffer, Carnell, Lewis and Plantinga, though they are viewed as following a combinationalist view rather than presuppositionist. I have found many good things in the writings of men who identify themselves in a variety of ways. All things must be compared with Scripture to see if they are true.

      I became a Christian through the ministry of men who answered my questions, probed my thinking and shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Gospel is the “power of God to salvation.” I believe in the same: answering people’s questions, probing their thinking and sharing the Gospel of Christ. Do you agree that is a model we discover in the New Testament? Did Jesus not answer questions, ask questions, probe thinking and share His Gospel? What about Paul? Did he not ask and answer questions, probe thinking and preach the Gospel?

      As I wrote before about 1 Peter 3:15, 1 Peter begins as an address to believers, many of whom were suffering for their faith in Christ. That is the general context of the letter. Do you believe that Peter’s letter can only be used by Christians who are suffering persecution? Is there not something all Christians can learn from what Peter writes? Do we not see the Apostle Paul use a variety of “reasonings” in his ministry?

      I agree with you that each example should be read and understood in its unique context and the meaning of the Greek. Does the Greek New Testament inform Christians that they should not be prepared to answer people’s questions, probe their thinking and preach the Gospel? What about a Christian who has doubts about what they believe? Should we not be prepared to answer their questions, probe their thinking and teach them to observe all things that Christ taught His disciples?

      The Bible is clear about God’s Supremacy, Sovereignty and Perfection. The Bible is also clear about man’s depravity and utter lostness. We approach unsaved people with the Gospel message with that understanding. The Bible is clear about saved people. We approach saved people with the truth of the Gospel with that understanding.

      Thank you for sharing the links with me. I appreciate the ministry of each man.

      Mark

  3. Keith Coates on said:

    Mark,
    Yes your reply does help, yet you did not seem to apply in your article what you interpreted in your response to my comment. So having said that I have some other questions.

    In your first part of the series I commented and you answered my question. And in your response you did agree that it was probable that most of young people leaving church during or after High School were in fact not born again Christians. You as well gave me a link to an article that you had written in 2015. Having read that article, and now having read this next one in your series I now have a few more comments and questions.

    In both of these articles you seem to suggest that teaching about the proof of Jesus existence, the reliability of the Bible, and teaching about the Christian Worldview is what the Church is failing to teach. Which seems to translate to this is why young people in the Church are not becoming born again Christians? I guess I am asking you if these are fair evaluations of your contentions.

    In Christ,
    Keith

    • Hi, Keith. Helping young people know why they believe what they believe is an important key. Let’s begin with the supernatural activity of “salvation.”

      When the Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas what he needed to do to be saved (“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”), Paul and Silas answered “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he wrote this – “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For ‘whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Paul also wrote this about salvation in Ephesians – “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

      From all that Paul shared in both his preaching (Book of Acts) and writings (e.g. Romans, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians) we have an excellent insight into how people are saved. However, salvation is personal and supernatural. Someone, like a young person, can say they are saved without actually being saved. I’m an example of that as are many other people I’ve met through the years. What can parents and church leaders do to help young people be sure about their salvation and to grow in that salvation, as Paul wrote the Philippians – “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” Salvation is a free gift from God, but it is a gift that needs to be opened, examined and expanded to its full potential (work out – κατεργαζεσθε).

      In working with young people who have doubts about Christianity or have “left” Christianity, I usually discover that their training in “why” they believe “what” they believe was weak or non-existent. Once they learn about the powerful evidence for the Christian worldview, many are either strengthened in their belief or ‘believe’ in Jesus Christ for the first time.

      I am not saying that young people in the Church are not becoming “born again” because they have not been taught about the ‘proofs’ of Jesus existence, the reliability of the Bible, and teaching about the Christian worldview. Young people become saved because they have confessed with their mouths the Lord Jesus and believed in their hearts that God raised Him from the dead. It is the responsibility of parents and church leaders to teach their young people that there is strong evidence for their confession and belief. That knowledge helps prepare young people to face the attacks of the enemy. Teaching young people why they believe what they believe will go a long way toward strengthening individuals, families and churches, which would be to the praise of God’s glory – our prime directive.

      Do you agree?

  4. Keith Coates on said:

    Here concerning when you write:

    ” Answers
    “… be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you …” 1 Peter 3:15 (KJV)
    “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” 1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)”

    Although I do appreciate that you at least acknowledged that you left off the first part of the verse and the latter. However you still did, and this is very unfortunate.

    “15 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:”

    Does it not exegete out that the first part is pertinent to the context and interpretation of this verse. Especially when it does say that we are commanded to “…sanctify the Lord God in your hearts…” Which this we must do, before we can do what it says next.

    Now as far as the latter part: “…that is in you with meekness and fear:” This is the failsafe if you will of our defense i.e. with humility and fear, oh in this is the fear of misrepresenting God, which would by dishonoring if one did not. It is not the fear of man or what he might do or say even ask!

    This is very disconcerting that you seem to not put your emphasis on the proper reading and our interpretation of Scripture within your defense.

    In Christ,
    keith

    • Hi, Keith. I’m glad to see that you appreciate the importance of context and exegesis. Understanding 1 Peter begins with the first sentence of his letter and continues through 3:15. I teach from specific verses based on a careful study of the context. I’m not sure why you would think I don’t do that.

      1 Peter begins as an address to believers, many of whom were suffering for their faith in Christ.

      “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.”

      1 Peter 3:15 continues that idea and is part of a smaller context that deals with blessings for the believer, even when suffering for righteousness sake –

      “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. For ‘He who would love life And see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.’ And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. ‘And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.’ 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; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.”

      The idea of always being ready to give a defense to everyone who asks a reason for the hope that is in us goes back to the beginning of Peter’s letter where he wrote about how God’s “abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

      An even tighter context would be verses 15 & 16 –

      “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; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.”

      Peter directed believers to “sanctify” (αγιασατε – set apart, make holy, hallow, purify, consecrate) the Lord God in their hearts. The Greek reads – κυριον δε τον θεον αγιασατε εν ταις καρδιαις υμων ετοιμοι δε αει προς απολογιαν παντι τω αιτουντι υμας λογον περι της εν υμιν ελπιδος μετα πραυτητος και φοβου – and carries the idea of sanctifying Christ as Lord. Verse 16 is – συνειδησιν εχοντες αγαθην ινα εν ω καταλαλωσιν υμων ως κακοποιων καταισχυνθωσιν οι επηρεαζοντες υμων την αγαθην εν χριστω αναστροφην – and addresses the consciousness of the believer concerning the moral obligation they have in the context of giving a defense. Those who revile the good conduct of such a believer will one day be ashamed.

      Hope that helps. Mark

  5. Pingback: Hope For America’s Youth – Ratio Christi | Faith & Self Defense

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