Eendag, so 8 of 9 jaar gelede, het ek in die 2dehandse boekwinkel rondgekrap. ‘n Dik slapbandboek het my aandag getrek: Evidence that demands a verdict. En in kleiner letters: Historic evidences for the Christian faith. Ook die toe-onbekende woord “apologetics” in die beskrywings op die voor- en agter kant. Die naam Chrisnene Fourie was voor ingeskryf met pen. Ek het dit gekoop teen ‘n skrale R5. Ek het nog nooit ‘n beter R5 spandeer nie!
In die jare daar na was my geloof van alkante af aangeval. Deur vyandige ongelowiges. Deur probleme en swaar tye waarin God vêr gevoel het. Ek het soms getwyfel dat Hy nog vir my omgee. Maar tussen kennis (baie daarvan uit Evidence that demands a verdict) en persoonlike ervaring (uit die verlede voor die swaar tye) van ‘n lewende God, kon ek nie twyfel aan Hom nie: Christus en Christenskap is ‘n rotsvaste feit wat meer werklik is as enigiets wat ek kan voel en sien in die fisiese wêreld.
Wil jy as Christen dinge weet wat jou gaan help om sout en lig in die wêreld te wees? Wat jou eie geloof gaan versterk as jou emosies “af” is? Probeer so ‘n bietjie apologetiek leer.
William Lane Craig se nuwe boek, On Guard, is ‘n toeganklike handleiding om jou te wys hoe om jou geloof te verdedig. In hoofstuk 1 vertel hy hoekom apologetiek belangrik is:
Why is apologetics important?
1. Shaping culture
We have all heard of the so-called culture war…
Why can’t we Christians just be faithful followers of Christ and ignore what’s going on in the culture at large? Why not just preach the gospel to a dark and dying world? The answer is, because the gospel is never heard in isolation.
… A person who has been raised in a culture that is sympathetic to the gospel will be open to the gospel in a way that a person raised in a secular culture will not. For a person who is thoroughly secularized, you may as well tell him to believe in fairies or leprechauns as in Jesus Christ!
… If the gospel is to be heard as an intellectually viable option for thinking men and women today, then it’s vital that we as Christians try to shape American culture in such a way that Christian belief cannot be dismissed as mere superstition. This is where Christian apologetics come in. If Christians could be trained to provide solid evidence for what they believe and good answers to unbelievers’ questions and objections, then the perception of Christians would slowly change. Christians would be seen as thoughtful people to be taken seriously rather than as emotional fanatics or buffoons. The gospel would he a real alternative for people to embrace.
I’m not saying that people will become Christians because of the arguments and evidence. Rather I’m saying that the arguments and evidence . will help to create a culture in which Christian belief is a reasonable: thing. They create an environment in which people will be open to the gospel…
2. Strengthening believers
The benefits of apologetics in your personal Christian life are huge. Let me mention three. First of all, knowing why you believe as well as what you believe will make you more confident in sharing your faith with others.
Second, apologetics can help you keep your faith in times of doubt and struggle. Emotions will only carry you so far, then you are going to need something more substantial.
When I speak in churches around the country, I often meet parents who say something like “If only you have been here two or three years ago! Our son (or daughter) had questions about the faith that no one could answer, and now he is far from the Lord.”
…Finally, the study of apologetics is going to make you a deeper and more interesting person. American culture is surprisingly shallow, fixated on celebrities, entertainment, sports and self-indulgence. Studying apologetics is going to take you beyond that to life’s deepest questions, questions about the existence and nature of God, the origin of the universe, the source of moral values, the problem of suffering and evil, and so on. As you wrestle with these deep questions, you yourself will be changed.
You will become more thoughtful and well-rounded. …As a Christian, you will begin to have a deeper appreciation of Christian truths about the world and see how they all fit together to make a Christian world view.
3. Winning unbelievers
…Why bother, you may ask, with that minority of a minority with whom apologetics is effective? First, because every person is precious to God, a person for whom Christ died. …Second, this people group, though small in numbers, is huge in influence. One of these persons, for example, was C.S. Lewis.
…In any case the general conclusion that apologetics is ineffective in evangelism is just not true.
… After giving a talk on arguments for the existence of God, or evidence for the resurrection of Jesus, I’ll sometimes conclude with a prayer of commitment to give one’s life to Christ, and the comment cards indicate those who have registered such a commitment. Just recently I did a speaking tour of universities in central Illinois, and we were thrilled to find that almost every time I gave such a presentation, students indicated decisions for Christ.
…When apologetics is persuasively presented and sensitively combined with a gospel presentation and a personal testimony, the spirit of God is pleased to use it in bringing people to himself.
Die eerste hoofstuk van “On guard” is hier.