by Rob Lundberg
As one deeply immersed in the world of apologetics as a spiritual discipline and a task for undergirding our evangelism, I would like to open this post up with an experience I had at our church a couple of years ago, with a well-meaning believer. The scenario went like this.
Our church has two services and there is a lot of fellowship that goes on in the in between. This one particular Sunday, we were between services and in a time of fellowship and afterglow from the previous service. A well meaning believer engaged me in a conversation, asking me how our ministry was going. After sharing with this person what the Lord was doing, the chimed in and said, “Rob you have a lot of information in that brain of yours, but I really do not think that you have a whole lot of faith.” Wow!
Of course this kind of took me back a bit, but it did not leave me without a gentle answer with a biblical illustration which I will share in my conclusion. However, I am opening this post in this manner because there are five benefits where apologetics really helps with our faith.
What are those benefits? Let me share and give a brief explanation of each.
- Benefit #1: Apologetics gives us a well-rounded understanding of our faith. Apologetics doesn’t just zero in on specific issues like the Trinity, evil and suffering, the existence of God, and the veracity of the Bible Apologetics can help us explore, “hammer out,” and understand a wide range of facets of our faith from the perspectives of understanding the details of biblical veracity using biblical apologetics, the historical credibility of the Bible, the life of Jesus, and the resurrection through historical apologetics; and arguments for the existence of truth, God and miracles through classical apologetics. There is a vast amount of tools in the tool chest to give us a well rounded and balanced understanding of our Christian faith.
- Benefit #2: Apologetics helps us wrestle through intellectual doubts. So much negativity has been put on doubts and doubting that we are almost afraid to engage the one having doubts or allow ourselves to have doubts. But let me say this flat out, doubts aren’t a bad thing have. Doubts are how we process and learn. Doubt help us hammer out what is true and what is false. While there are good things about doubts though, there is a caveat. That caveat is that unanswered intellectual doubts can debilitate our faith over time. One should not let the doubts get the best of them, but work through them, ultimately coming to the knowledge of the truth. Apologetics provides those resources we need to help us wrestle through our intellectual doubts and overcome them.
- Benefit #3: It grounds the faith of young people and new believers. Being ground in our faith has never been more important. First it is important to have a faith that is rooted and grounded in Christ. I am hearing about too many casualties lately, from both in the media and the local Christian high school. This is why I include this benefit. You cannot get the benefit of apologetics unless you have a faith that is worth defending.This is because young people are entering the public schools, colleges, and universities and getting their faith attacked. New believers are encountering new challenges from the secular city. This is why apologetics is needed to help ground the faith of the new and young believers; and let’s not forget the older believer who has not been discipled.
- Benefit #4: It provides a foundation of truth to hold onto during difficult times in life. There will be circumstances in our lives where we will question the truthfulness of the Christian faith. Whether it is a death of a loved one like a mother or a father or a what appears to be a “failed” ministry period, it does not change the the truthfulness of the Christian faith.
When difficulties in life carry the potential for us the question, or doubt before the defection from belief in God happens. Allow me to restate this another way. We do not need to throw the baby out with the bathwater when bad things happen or difficulty strikes. Think of the first century believers under the tyranny of Rome. Think of our brothers and sisters overseas facing persecution and see how the church is growing in the midst of tribulation.Remember that you can dig into your apologetics toolbox and work through the truthfulness of God’s existence, and prayerfully come to a growing understanding about why something could be happening for the benefit of our Christian growth.
- Benefit #5: It keeps our guard up. Following up on the fourth benefit, we consistently are immersing ourselves in content that is biblical and yes apologetics related. This helps in preparation for sudden and unexpected intellectual challenges that may come our way.Our culture is rapidly changing and there are many things that are rising up that present potential challenges that could put a believer, no matter how mature they are, into a “crisis of faith.” Apologetics helps keep our guard up when challenges arise.
Let me wrap up these five benefits by sharing with you how I answered the well meaning believer, mentioned in the beginning of this post who told me, Rob you have a lot of information in that brain of yours, but I really do not think that you have a whole lot of faith.”
I looked the well meaning believer and stated that I did not think that was the case. Why? We are called to love the Lord our God with all our heart, all our soul and all our mind and love our neighbor as ourselves. We are called to not conform to a world but present ourselves as living sacrifices so as to prove the good acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:1,2). We are also called to answer those outside the faith, with an answer that is seasoned with salt (Colossians 4:5,6). But as I was sharing this, thought donned on me, “how much faith does one need to be saved?”
The person answered, “the faith the size of a grain of a mustard seed” (Matthew 17:20). Precisely. If I were able to rip all the knowledge out of my mind, do you know what would be left? There would not be nothing. What would be found is a “childlike faith” that continually relies on my heavenly Father. And then I was reminded of Psalm 1:1-3.
“Blessed is the one, who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.”
It takes seed to plant a tree. That tree needs to be watered. And as a result of being watered there will be fruit. Isn’t that a picture of what God does in our life, in cultivating our faith?
This is what I think summarizes the essence of how apologetics benefits our faith. Apologetics gives you the knowledge to reinforce your faith and defend it when it comes under assault from a skeptical world. But apologetics is also the “fertilizer” that grows your knowledge God gives us to demonstrate why the Christian faith is true; and provides you the roots to help you hold fast in times of difficulty to withstand whatever life in a fallen world throws your way.
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Rob is a blogger, writer and public speaker on a mission to equip the believer to think and articulate what they believe and to communicate the message of the gospel to a confused culture in a chaotic, “brave new world.”
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If you would like to book Rob for a speaking event, you can do so by emailing him at email@example.com If you have other questions about apologetics or doing apologetics, or if you are looking for apologetics resources, contact our ministry by email.