5 May 2010 (Revee/Shavu'ot)|
Day #51, 5934 AM
Looking at Priorities
Biblical apologetics is defined by James Johnson as "the science of learning, demonstrating, documenting and communicating how believing God makes sense. It answer's the fundamental question, 'Why should I believe in God?'" (Understanding Effective Biblical Apologetics in Acts & Facts [ICR, Dallas, Tx: 2010], April 2010, p.8)
There are many people who claim to be 'Bible Apologists' but as you come to know them you will discover that they have a variety of motives and goals. Apologetics is essentially an intellectual exercise and is required because many (especially men) begin with the brain and work down to the heart. Not all, of course. Equally as many begin with the heart, are converted, but don't have a logical defence for their faith. Both approaches are important and one is not 'better' than the other. The apostle Peter said:
A proper Christian apologists is therefore witnessing on three fronts simultanelously:
"...sanctify Yahweh-Elohimd in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense (logical reply...hitstaddekut = apologetic defence) to everyone who asks you a reason (logic) for the hope (confidence, tikvah) that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Messiah may be ashamed" (1 Peter 3:15-16, NKJV with OJB comments).
Sadly, some Christians and Messianics are so brain-centred that they often display major deficiencies in heart and behaviour and even if they win an argument they do not win souls. And if we do not win souls, our argumentation is useless because we may not only be not winning people for Yah'shua and the Kingdom but we may actually be driving them even farther away. Those who think that apologetics has more to do with winning an argument than about honouring Yahweh have entirely missed the point (i.e. they have sinned). Winning an argument is about ego or self. Winning a soul for Messiah is about Messiah.
- 1. The intellectual;
- 2. The spiritual;
- 3. Conduct or behaviour
James Johnson observes further:
In our passage in Peter the priorities and kosher motives we are to have are clearly set forth: first, sanctifying (reverencing or honouring) Yahweh; and second, giving an apologetic defence. Our obligation to serve Yahweh comes before our obligation to serve our neighbour (Mt.22:39). How can we best do this? I suggest by following carefully what I called the 'Colossian Precept' in witnessing acknowledging Yah'shua as the Creator and to whom pre-eminence must be given in everything:
"Scripturally speaking, the main point of apologetics is not to 'win a case' like a litigator, because the 'jury' may be hopeless corrupt or distracted. Rather, apologetics is primarily a science for honoring the Lord by carefully studying and then accurately communicating His revealed truth (biblical, scientific, historical, etc.) those truths that are questioned or opposed or misrepresented, ultimately trusting God to accomplish His good with the truths communicated (Isaiah 55:10-11; Psalm 19:1-4; Romans 10:14.18). In other words, let God handle the results" (Ibid., p.9).
Therefore apologetics means loving Yahweh first and people second because the reverse is humanism and dishonouring to our Elohim. Therefore it is rightly claimed that apologetics is primarily a labour of love and loyalty to Yahweh-Elohim. Implied in this is recognising the complete authority of Scripture as our Master did (Jn.14:6; 17:17). Our whole life is an apologetic and, indeed, is the only true one. We make an apologetic not by apologising for our conviction but proclaiming and witnessing the salvation of the Creator of the Universe in our lives.
"For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the messianic community (church), who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence" (Col.1:16-18, NKJV).