Apologetics

My friend, Dr. David Claerbaut, tells this story:

 apologetics-grave stone

“I was unprepared for the news of his passing. 

The late David Angus, brilliant, self-professed atheist humanist at The University of Michigan, had died. He was a larger than life, formative force in my academic development. Dr. Angus challenged my faith.

I was so affected by reading about his death, that I contacted one of his dearest friends and professorial colleagues at his home.

After introducing myself and telling his colleague of my experience with Dr. Angus, the conversation went something like this.

‘By the way, did David hang on to his atheism to the end?’ I could not help but ask.

‘You know how it is when we get older,’ his intellectual companion replied calmly, ‘A person doesn’t hold quite so tightly to that thinking.’

Dr. Angus’ colleague went on to tell me that Angus’ wife was a believer, and that he had a Christian mother at home who had had a powerful impact on his life.

It seems a mother’s love and a wife’s Christian faith are stronger than any commitment to atheistic empiricism.” [1]

Grace is the most unique feature of the Christian message,” Dr. Claerbaut maintains. Grace had made an impact on Dr. Angus. Dr. Claerbaut contrasts Christian grace with faith others hold. Indeed, Claerbaut maintains, the Christian message stands apart, is distinctive from all other religions, philosophies, viewpoints, and opinions. Claerbaut’s ebook, available from Amazon, is an exceptional, brief primer on Christian apologetics.

I agree with Dr. David Claerbaut’s point of view. For over 30 years I have taught junior high through doctoral students these ten practices of defending and commending the Christian faith:

1. LOVE is the best apologetic for Christianity (John 13:34, 35).

2. The simplicity of a CHANGED life is compelling evidence of Jesus (John 9).

3. VERBAL testimony of belief in Jesus as Lord is necessary and the word “gets around” (Romans 10:17; 1 Thessalonians 1:6-10).

4. GOOD WORKS for others attracts the attention of people to the gospel (James 1:27; 2:14-26; 1 Peter 2:11, 12).

5. Communication of the gospel should be CLEAR and understandable for the “seeking” unbeliever (1 Corinthians 14:22-25).

6. A consistent, positive LIFESTYLE shows faith in action (2 Corinthians 3:2; 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12; Titus 2:1-10; 1 Peter 3:1, 2).

7. Often the best time for evangelism is during times of CRISIS or when people “come to the end of themselves” (Joshua 2; Ruth 1; 2 Kings 5; Matthew 23:39-43; Acts 16:16-34).

8. Believers do not have to “prove” anything. We simply explain the “proof” or evidence of the EYEWITNESSES (Luke 1:1-4; Acts 1:1-3, 21-23; 2 Timothy 3:14-17; “by this,” 1 John 3:10, 19; 4:2, 9, 13; 5:2).

9. COMPARE the Christian worldview with others. Contrast the differences and contradictions. Show how the Christian view is exclusive (John 14:6).

10. Ask people, “What do you BELIEVE?” (John 3, 4; Acts 17).

“What do you believe?” is well answered in What is True? A Defense of The Christian Faith. The grace of Christ makes Claerbaut’s belief honest and open. Dr. David Claerbaut is a Christian apologist without apology, a storyteller with the best Story to tell.

___________________________________________

Mark is a glad contributor to Dr. Claerbaut’s website Faith and Learning Forum (www.faithandlearningforum.com) where everything from the humanities to sciences is engaged from a decidedly biblical point of view.

[1] What is True? A Defense of The Christian Faith, 168.

 

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One comment

  1. The Introduction to Philosophy class that you taught at CBC is still my favorite class that I’ve taken at the school. It impacted me in profound ways. So what? Who cares? These are questions you taught your students in all of your classes (or at least the ones I took with you, which were a fair few!). When I took Apologetics with Dr. Piotrowski, one of the last lectures was on Ecclesiologetics–apologetics through faith lived out.

    In a post-modern world that denies the very existence of truth–living out the truth makes truth itself inescapable. Because it’s real. And they see that it is real.

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