Pastor Matt Rawlings has a post for all of you who are worried that you are not smart enough to learn how to defend the Christian faith (apologetics).
He starts like this:
One of the objections I often receive when I point out that defending the Christian faith is a Scriptural command (1 Peter 3:15) is “But I’m not smart enough to be a Christian apologist!” My answer is always, “Your IQ does not need to bust the bank for you to defend Christianity in a graceful and compelling manner.
Columnist Thomas Friedman (not someone I usually agree with) pointed out that the key to success often is NOT an individual’s IQ but their CQ or “Curiosity Quotient.” What Friedman means is that a person’s willingness to dig in and work at something out of their intellectual passion will succeed.
It is important to remember that some scholars maintain that Albert Einstein did not have a genius IQ and he blew his first attempt at earning a spot in college. Yet, physics was his passion and after failing to land a teaching gig, his curiosity propelled him to carry on and, as a result, he changed the world.
You may or may not make a worldwide impact but you can make an eternal one by learning to defend the Christian faith. If you are passionate about Jesus Christ, your desire can learn enough to answer questions like, “If God exists and is good, why is there evil?”, “Doesn’t the Old Testament portray God as angry and violent?”, “But doesn’t science prove that Genesis is inaccurate?”, “Is there any real evidence for the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ?”, etc.
Any Christian can learn to defend the faith if they are willing to do a little bit of reading. You don’t have to be well-versed in physics or philosophy of religion. You don’t have to earn a degree in apologetics. You just need to pick up a few books and memorize a few solid arguments to respond to the most common objections to Christianity.
I would recommend starting with a few short, readable but powerful books such as Greg Koukl’s Tactics (Zondervan 2009), Det. J. Warner Wallace’s Cold-Case Christianity (David C. Cook 2013), Lee Strobel’s The Case for a Creator (Zondervan, 2005), Mark Mittleberg’s Confident Faith (Tyndale 2013) and, of course, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek (Crossway 2004).
So, no excuses, get to reading and practice defending the faith with others. Anyone can do it and most can do it very well.
I just started trying to get a friend of mine to learn more about the Christian worldview, and the four books I recommended were these:
- Is God Just a Human Invention? (by Sean McDowell and Jonathan Morrow)
- The Case for Life (by Scott Klusendorf)
- What is Marriage? (by Robert P. George, Ryan T. Anderson and Sherif Girgis)
- Indivisible (by Jay W. Richards and James Robison)
We are busy working though the first one already, which is my favorite book to give people new to apologetics. It provides real capabilities in a short, easy-to-read book. Even the chapters are short. I picked #2 and #3 to be on social issues, and #4 to be on politics, because I wanted to have a broad focus before narrowing down to pure apologetics. And because I wanted to take about practical issues that impact our daily lives.
After we finish book #1, I’m going to recommend “Cold Case Christianity” by J. Warner Wallace and “The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus” by Michael Licona and Gary Habermas. All of these books are introductory. And yet, to be perfectly honest, I do not recommend much more than these 6 books, for most lay Christians. These books are a thousand times better than the stuff I read when I was getting started in apologetics 25 years ago.
What I like about Pastor Matt’s post is that he challenges Christians to grow by doing things that may be a bit uncomfortable for them. The command to defend the Christian worldview is right there in the Bible in 1 Peter 3:15. It’s not some optional spiritual gift in some list of optional spiritual gifts – it’s a duty that we all must perform to the best of our ability. I wish more pastors urged lay Christians to learn how to discuss their faith with non-Christians – with people who do not assume that the entire Bible is infallible. Just urge them to talk about ordinary things, the “big questions” that Matt listed. We need to be curious, just like he said.