Providing a Rational Defense of the Faith

8 Essential Facts You Need
for Effective Christian Apologetics

Table of Contents

Confusion is Reigning Throughout the World and the Church

More and more we see reality, including the truth of Christianity, being abandoned and exchanged for a caricature of the truth. Christians today face a culture that is increasingly hostile not only to the Gospel but also to the very philosophical and epistemological foundations for rational thought. Christ-followers are called to combat these false ideas that stand in the way of the Gospel (2 Cor. 10:3-5; 1 Peter 3:15; Jude 3). Are you prepared to help others see clearly using Christian apologetics?

steadfast in the truth

The State of Our Culture

54% believe truth is subjective

54% of Americans believe that all truth is subjective & there are no moral absolutes

Almost one quarter of American adults are “nones” (atheist, agnostic, or “nothing in particular”)

Recent studies show 2 in 5 US Millennials simply “don’t know, care, or believe that God exists”

Close to 3 in 4 US Millennials agree that whatever is right for your life or works best for you is the only truth you can know

The rational defense of the truthfulness of Christianity is known as Christian apologetics, and it is one aspect of the Christian life that is woefully lacking in many believers. Sadly, the church too often teaches an incomplete Christianity that is not built on solid thinking and good evidence, and a shallow Christianity that seems to have little to say about the real issues of life. The results of this irrationality and the emasculation of the Christian faith speak for themselves.

The State of American 'Christianity'

Of American churchgoers, recent studies found the following:

63% agree that God accepts the worship of all religions

48% agree the Bible contains helpful accounts of ancient myths but is not literally true

54% agree that religious belief is a matter of personal opinion rather than objective truth

Around 2 in 5 American churchgoers agree that gender identity is a matter of choice

Nearly half of American churchgoers disagree or are unsure that abortion is a sin

Only 2 in 5 Senior Pastors have a biblical worldview*

Only 12% of Children’s & Youth Pastors have a biblical worldview*

*”Biblical Worldview” is defined here as making sure our understanding/choices are consistent with God’s principles and commands

Why should anyone in a highly-educated, scientific, “tolerant,” and technologically-advanced culture accept Christianity? Thinking well about things like logic, faith and reason, the evidence for God’s existence, and the true nature of Christianity directly address all the issues listed above. When the evidence is examined in a systematic way, we can see that we have excellent reasons to believe Christianity is actually true. And if that is the case, as C.S. Lewis observed, there is nothing more important we can take hold of and learn to effectively share with others.

8 Essential Christian Apologetic Facts that Show Christianity is Actually True

From the Greek word, apologia, meaning “to give a defense,” apologetics is both offensive (making a positive case for Christianity) and defensive (answering objections against Christianity). As you will see below, apologetics utilizes logic, philosophy, science, history, etc. to demonstrate the fact that Christianity is actually true and that biblical faith is simply trust in the authority of God in light of the evidence.

“Some, who think themselves naturally gifted, do not wish to touch either philosophy or logic; nay more, they do not wish to learn natural science. They demand bare faith alone, as if they wished, without bestowing any care on the vine, straightway to gather clusters from the first. Now the Lord is figuratively described as the vine, from which, with pains and the art of husbandry, according to the word, the fruit is to be gathered. We must lop, dig, bind, and perform the other operations. The pruning-knife, I should think, and the pick-axe, and the other agricultural implements, are necessary for the culture of the vine, so that it may produce eatable (sic.) fruit. … So also here, I call him truly learned who brings everything to bear on the truth; so that, from geometry, and music, and grammar, and philosophy itself, culling what is useful, he guards the faith against assault.”

CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA, circa 200 A.D.

In this resource, we have distilled 8 things you should know in order to engage our post-truth culture, whether that be neighbors, family, friends, or co-workers, with God’s truth. Read them. Explore some of the materials we reference. And let us also encourage you to pray. What might God be leading you to do next in order to be better equipped for ministry?

Philosophical Foundations

Do the following essentials seem like a strange place to begin? Until the rise of relativism, many of those in ministry would have thought so, but today each of these is requisite for apologetics.

1. Objective Truth Exists and is Knowable

Truth is that which corresponds to reality. It is undeniable that we can know at least some objective truths about the real world. Everything about effective apologetics depends on establishing these facts.

2. Language is a Sufficient Medium to Relate Objective Truth

This is contentious, but critical in today’s conversations about faith where subjectivity and relativism seem to reign for many unbelievers.

3. Every Natural Thing in Sensible Reality has a Distinct Nature

There is something at the metaphysical level that makes a human being distinct from any other creature or part of God’s creation. Any conversation today about abortion, gender identity, and a host of greatly contested moral and philosophical issues will hinge on your ability to establish this fact. This is also a foundational truth when arguing for the existence of God.

Classical Christian Apologetics Tenets

Everything we have already touched on is necessary groundwork for establishing a credible case for the truthfulness of theism (i.e., there exists one God who is separate from but active in His creation) with contemporary audiences.

4. It is True that the Theistic God Exists

In virtually every conversation or argument with an unbeliever, you will be asked: How can you be sure that God exists? Are you prepared to give a good answer to that question using Christian apologetics? Many people believe in a higher power of some kind, but good Christian apologetics depends upon building a sound case for God as the Creator and Sustainer of the universe in which we all live.

5. If God Exists, then Miracles are Possible

If God exists, then there can be acts of God (i.e., miracles). The Bible cannot be true if miracles are not at least possible.

Jesus and Thomas

The Case for Christianity

There are many other facts and arguments a skilled apologist will need to master, of course. We have only sketched the barest essentials. To simply get to this point in a conversation — where you can begin arguing convincingly for the core Christian doctrines — is a lot of work. But there are many resources, including all the training we provide at SES, which will equip you for this ministry.

6. The Bible is Historically Reliable

Is the Bible reliable? How did the scriptures we have today come to us? Are they accurate? Who wrote them? Why should I believe that what they say — the events they describe — are true? These questions all shelter common objections to the Gospel.

7. Jesus was Resurrected, thus Proving to Be God

Given the previous foundation laid forth, evidence for Jesus’ resurrection can be marshaled persuasively. This gives authority to his claims of being God in human flesh.

8. The Bible is the Inspired, Inerrant Word of God

Once sound arguments are given for the points above, we can conclude that Christianity is indeed true, and anything opposed to it must necessarily be false.

Explore the resources below to learn more about the essential apologetics points listed above

PODCAST EPISODES

with Dr. Richard Howe

with Alisa Childers & John Steingard

with Dr. Frank Turek

with Rodney Cripps & Michael Stewart

The Effective Education You Need

Every Christian apologist must have a thorough, seasoned understanding of why we believe what we believe as Christians. That is one way of summarizing much of what we have mentioned so far. The ability to address today’s issues requires intentional preparation. As Southern Evangelical Seminary co-founder, Dr. Norman Geisler, said, “[Apologetics] is opening the door, clearing the rubble, and getting rid of the hurdles so that people can come to Christ.” 

One Thing Most New Christian Apologists Forget

It is just as important to have a thorough, seasoned understanding of why the unbeliever you are talking to believes what they believe. The strongest arguments for the Gospel often flounder because of a lack of understanding and empathy for the other person’s worldview. Gaining that perspective is critical for your efforts to be persuasive. But it is also a basic and humbling expression of love, care, and concern for your opponent in any debate — who is also your neighbor! 

“I can hardly find words to express how thankful I am for SES. After my Christianity was deconstructed, they literally shepherded me, one class at a time, through my faith reconstruction. SES continues to equip students to defend objective truth, the true Gospel, and the inerrancy of Scripture. They are also holding the line by rejecting cultural trends like wokeness and redefinitions of gender and sexuality.”

ALISA CHILDERS, SES Student, Author, Former Member of ZOEgirl
Apologetics Discussion

One Last Thing …

We understand Christian apologetics so thoroughly not only because we teach it in every one of our classes at Southern Evangelical Seminary, but also because we live it. Spend some time browsing our podcasts and media resources and you will see how we engage in the toughest conversations and debates you can have about faith. Be sure to also download our mobile app with over 500 hours of free apologetics content at your fingertips. Self-guided study can only take you so far. We also hope you will consider all that SES has to offer you through our seminary degree programs and certificates. We blend classical apologetics, philosophy, and evangelical theology in our distinctive approach for training men and women for personal or full-time ministry — with a tuition value that is almost impossible to beat. May God bless you and all of your efforts to become equipped with the effective tools for ministry in your calling.

Truth is that which corresponds to reality. It is undeniable that we can know at least some objective truths about the real world. Everything about effective apologetics depends on establishing these facts that are, perhaps, the most controversial of any of these points.

This is contentious, but critical in today’s conversations about faith where subjectivity and relativism seem to reign for many unbelievers. If language can’t convey objective truth, communication is impossible (including God communicating special revelation via the Bible).

If we can first establish the historical accuracy of Scripture, and that the resurrection really happened, then we may effectively use Jesus’ own authoritative words to consider the many other claims of the Bible. This gives us reason to believe the Bible is actually true and inerrant.

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