Religious persecution is coming to North America. That seems certain at this point unless God supernaturally intervenes. What is not certain is whether the Church in North America is ready for persecution and the suffering that comes with it. That is the focus of this … Continue reading Preparing For The Coming Persecution
Christians should be thinkers and thinkers should be readers. Christian apologists should be critical thinkers and should read critically. That’s the purpose for this special series.
As we have seen so far in our series about A Reading Plan for Christian Apologists, the writings of Christ’s Apostles are vital to sound doctrine; the writings of the disciples of the apostles and the disciples of the disciples of the apostles are important to understanding how they defended the teaching of Christ and His Apostles. Christian apologetics is by definition a “defense” of the Christian faith.
We continue now with our look at some of the leading Christian apologists of the 2nd century. Next up is Tertullian.
The first part of a reading plan for Christian apologists is to read the Bible indepth, in context and often. That includes an understanding of the overarching truths of the Bible. The second part is to have at least a basic working knowledge of the original languages of the Bible (Hebrew, Aramaic, Koine Greek). Being able to study the Bible in that atmosphere of the ancient texts will help you address many of the issues of concern to non-Christians.
As we wrote in the last part of our series, Christian apologists today have a great advantage because of the excellent apologists who have gone before us and fought many of the same battles we are fighting today. There is much we can learn from them, especially Jesus Christ and His Apostles.
We move next to the Church Fathers, beginning with the Apostolic Fathers.
I’ve spent most of my life as a professional journalist, which has afforded me a fascinating opportunity to see not only what people do, but why they do what they do.
If you watch or read the news on a regular basis, you’re familiar with how bad things are in the world. Newscasters move from one negative story to another – economic decline, joblessness, poverty, crime, war, terrorism, lying, cheating, stealing. You may have said it out loud – “the world is a mess!”
After covering news stories for 40 years, I want you to know that I agree with you. The world is a mess. However, the world’s problems didn’t begin with my generation or yours. My grandparents were born in the 19th century and they told stories about what a mess the world was back then. They survived tough economic times, crimes and wars. Their grandparents were born in the 18th century and their world was a mess.
The point is that the world has been a mess for thousands of years. As far back as we can look in history we’ll find people living in a messed-up world. Guess how long it took to mess up the world? Less than a minute!
“Nearly 1,000 Christians have been killed and over 450,000 of them displaced in Syria due to the crisis plaguing the country.” (News Headline)
“Pakistan church bomb: Christians mourn 85 killed in Peshawar suicide attack. Pakistan’s worst-ever attack on beleaguered Christians prompts warning by bishop for future of minority in Muslim countries.” (News Headline)
“The more atheists who come out of the closet and admit publicly what they stand for, the more difficult it will be for the fanatically religious to impose their bronze-aged morality upon the rest of us.” (Atheist organization website)
“We are so sick of hearing those ignorant and self-righteous Christians complain about the problems in our society. Boo stinkin’ hoo.” (Atheist blog)
“Christians are a hateful, mean and nasty bunch of losers.” (Facebook comment)
Why is the Church under physical and verbal attack around the world today? What or who is behind the attacks? Before you name someone or some group, think about an important insight the Apostle Paul gave us.
People have been asking these questions for thousands of years. I used to believe there was no meaning to life. We were born, we lived, we died. That was it. No more, no less.
The questions and people’s answers have led to a host of differing views about the meaning of life: pragmatism, existentialism, theism, logical positivism, absurdism, nihilism, humanism. I chose to live a form of secular humanism as an atheist. Theism seemed a bit ignorant and illogical, so it didn’t interest me until someone approached me with a method of determining the truth or falsity of the Christian message. It was my introduction to evangelistic apologetics and understanding why the Church is under attack.
What do we see when we read through the prophets in the Old Testament? Hope? Yes. Warning? Yes. God offers hope to His people even as He warns them. Why is that? Why does God present the possibility of a bright future at the same time He tells His people how bleak things look? Why? Because that’s reality. Look at how it started:
“Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:15-17
Even as God was showing Adam what an amazing life he had to live, the Lord also warned Adam that he would die if he ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Hope and warning at the same time. It is a theme of both Old and New Testament prophets.
As we bring our study about The Prophet’s Voice to a close, let’s look at how we might present hope and warning for our present situation.