Vol. 7, No. 32 – August 14, 2022
For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “the righteous shall live by faith. –Romans 1:16
I have had the privilege of filling in the margins of at least five Bibles over the years with notes of what I have discovered in my reading of the Scriptures, and notes from preaching and teaching. I started with a new Bible this year. It has 2-1/4” margins on each page with lines. One of my daughters has requested one of those Bibles I wrote in. I am wondering which daughter will claim this one.
Francis Schaeffer addressed students and faculty at the University of Notre Dame in April 1981. These are three lines from his address: Christianity is not a series of truths in the plural, but rather truth spelled with a capital “T.” Truth about total reality, not just about religious things. Biblical Christianity is Truth concerning total reality—and the intellectual holding of that total Truth and then living in the light of that Truth. We would do well to include this note in a good location in our Bibles.
Schaeffer was an extraordinary philosopher who, rather than define the Scriptures via an apologetic overlay (determined by himself), chose to let God’s Word define itself. He chose that path well.
Have you ever interacted with someone that seemed super-intelligent? An unbeliever. Schaeffer did that often. Have you feared getting stuck in your conversation, your reasoning? Have you tried to change the subject? Maybe give out some resources, like biblical archaeology, a theological dictionary, a biblical history textbook, or a particular commentator?
Know that if you do that, the person has a right to think you are familiar with what you are recommending.
What if they ask what Jesus meant in the Scriptures? Do you respond, I have not read that part. What if you have already told the person that you teach, or regularly attend a Bible study? What excuse are you going to offer? What if you have been a believer for years, but never read the Bible from beginning to end? Really?
Perhaps the unbeliever responds that you seem to be an elitist. You dodge my questions. You imply that my questions can only be addressed by experts and are beyond what we need to be discussing. I do not think that you are being taught very well in that church you want me to attend.
You are stuck! Exposed!
Many Christians think they need to be trained in apologetics. This is not rational for a believer. It is an excuse. Questions from an unbeliever are most often not the real question. They are scratching and clawing for a sense of hope. If you are a believer, you have the answer for that. Scripture testifies if anyone is in Christ, [they] are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). You are not what you used to be! Therefore, [you] are [an] ambassador for Christ. Ambassadors say the same thing their sender says. The One we serve.
An apologist rightly defends what they believe. How are we doing with that?
If we are going to say the same thing, as an ambassador for Christ, we need to be very familiar with what He says. What we put in our hearts forms the filter for what we think, what we speak, and what we do.
Too many apologists think the sun rises and sets on what they think and know. It does not. It rises and sets on what Jesus says.
If we are going to say the same thing He says, we need to be familiar with what He says.
When we pick up the Word of God, the Bible, we hold in our hands (or see on our smartphone, or iPad) the very Word of God. As we read the Scriptures, we hear Him speak. He is reliable. He does not change. He is the same, yesterday, today, and tomorrow. (I heard a preacher say this . . . and could not resist inserting it here, because it is True.
Many of us have traveled through the Scriptures daily in 2022. Is it just a check box thingie? Hopefully not. If we are going to apply the Scriptures to our lives (think Life Application), the Scriptures need to imprint on our hearts.
That unbeliever that crosses your path and begins to ask questions needs an answer. For them, it is a life/death issue. They need to get unstuck. And they need for us to not be stuck.
No believer needs to go through their life stuck.