2019 was a busy year for Christian apologetics in Missouri Baptist churches. Not only did the Missouri Baptist Apologetics Network complete its fifth year of service with 16 certified pastors and lay leaders, but I was privileged to speak 65 times in 26 different locations throughout the year – including apologetics events in Florida and California.
Just to be clear, Christian apologetics simply is offering a reasonable defense of the Christian faith. The English word “apologetics” comes from the Greek noun “apologia,” which means “a defense.”
The apostle Paul applies the term to his ministry of defending the gospel (Phil. 1:7, 16), and the apostle Peter broadens its application to all Christians, urging us to be ready at all times to offer a reason for the hope in us – and to do so with gentleness and respect (1 Pet. 3:15-16).
Followers of Jesus always have faced attacks from outside the church – from worshipers in the cult of Caesar to militant Muslims. But potentially more damaging are threats from within – from false teachers who tickle our ears (2 Tim. 4:3) to false prophets who come to us with “cleverly devised myths” (2 Peter 1:16).
The Apologist’s Tool Kit equips you to defend the Christian faith with gentleness and respect. This easy-to-read reference addresses some of the most commonly challenged Christian doctrines, from the existence of God to the authority of Scripture. Each chapter concludes with probing questions, talking points, and references for further reading, making this a handy resource for personal or group study.
Thanks, Missouri Baptists, for defending the Christian faith this year through the MBC’s apologetics ministry. A few metrics in the paragraphs below illustrate the degree to which you have sought to fulfill Peter’s exhortation to “always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you … with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15-16).
In 2015 the MBC released two timely new resources: What Every Christian Should Know about Islam and What Every Christian Should Know about Same-sex Attraction.
These two books have been widely distributed across the state and are still available for personal or group study in 2016. Order print copies here or by calling 800.736.6227, ext. 303. Or visit Amazon.com and order the Kindle editions.
Thank you, Missouri Baptists, for enthusiastically supporting the MBC’s new apologetics ministry. Over the last year, I have been privileged to speak or lead workshops in many churches across the state to help Christians “earnestly contend for the faith” (Jude 3).
Topics have ranged from “How do I know the Bible is true?” to “What do false prophets have in common?”
As many of you know, apologetics simply is “a reasonable defense of the Christian faith.” For followers of Jesus there has never been a more important time to know what we believe, why we believe, and how to share our faith with an increasingly skeptical world.
The apostle Peter urges us to “set apart the Messiah as Lord in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15).
The Bible instructs Christians to “always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). But with so many competing belief systems out there – from Wahhabism to Rastafarianism – it’s good to know where to go for help.
There are many outstanding books and web resources that may help you earnestly contend for the faith. Here are a few of my favorites.
On Mormonism. Mormonism 101 and Answering Mormons’ Questions, both by Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson, are excellent books that address key issues pertaining to the LDS Church in easy to understand language. McKeever’s website, www.mrm.org (Mormonism Research Ministry), is filled with helpful tools.
On Jehovah’s Witnesses. Ron Rhodes has put together a helpful book that provides biblical responses to questions from our friends in the Watchtower. It’s called Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Jehovah’s Witnesses. David Reed has authored two useful books: Jehovah’s Witnesses Answered Verse by Verse and Answering Jehovah’s Witnesses Subject by Subject.