Saturday, September 8, 2012

On Apologetics, the Heart, Evangelism, and Scripture


This is Eli. I wanted to leave you with one more post before I left... I was supposed to two weeks ago. But I finally was given something. I look forward to your comments, and as always, I'd love to enagge via email or another one-on-one medium.
See, I believe in something called Presuppositional Apologetics. I believe we have to presuppose truth, and not spend our whole time evangelizing or witnessing trying to prove what we’re saying logically, though we can and do, but mainly focus on truth.
Especially the truth of God’s word. If we believe God’s word is inerrant, that it is sufficient, we should believe the verse that says it is like a two edged sword. It is our weapon. Scripture is clear that God speaks and convicts through His word. What is more powerful than the word of the Living God?
“But they don’t accept the Bible.”
The Holy Bible
The Holy Bible
They will never accept the Bible, or God, through any use of logic, emotions, or force. That is the Spirit’s job. We’re required to obey – and God tells us that scripture is our greatest weapon. Why would I use the butter knife of trying to prove something scientifically, speaking to the mind, or by any other means, when I have a two edged sword that can cut through the heart and make it bleed, when it was once stone?
We’re giving up the greater weapon because we’re scared of not being accepted. Thing is, unless the spirit works, they’ll never accept. Scripture tells us the spirit works through the Word.
True story:
Many years ago (150ish), at an American university, Yale I think, a famous evangelist and his protege met with a man who objected to Christianity. “Tell me” he said, “how can a man survive being swallowed by a whale?”
The apprentice evangelist went to work studying, and even found records of a New England man who’d survived this exact fate, whose skin had been bleached white from the stomach acids.
When he approached the man with this evidence, the man said “I don’t care anymore. I believe” The older evangelist had confronted him with scripture. The younger man asked “But don’t you want to know the reason?” And the new convert replied that it didn’t matter. Being indwelt by the Spirit was proof enough. The greatest proof. The greatest form of miracle. If God can change a heart, then he can certainly create a world, or protect a man in the stomach of the whale.
I know this from personal experience. A lot of you don’t know that during the Fall of 2010 I nearly became a Nihilist because I couldn’t prove God to myself. Oh trust me, I read every Apologia science textbook, every Lee Strobel, Ravi Zacharias, C.S. Lewis, and James W. Sire book, watched Expelled and other films. But I could not prove that God existed. Science can never prove anything beyond a doubt. Neither can logic. We base everything in life off of faith. I trust the second floor I’m on right now in my dorm won’t crash into the first. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be up here. And where does faith come from? The heart.
Eventually one day, mowing the grass, I remembered a Puddleglum quote from C.S. Lewis’ book “The Silver Chair”:
“One word, Ma’am,” he said, coming back from the fire; limping, because of the pain. “One word. All you’ve been saying is quite right, I shouldn’t wonder. I’m a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won’t deny any of what you said. But there’s one thing more to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things – trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that’s a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We’re just babies making up a game, if you’re right. But four babies playing a game can make a playworld which licks your real world hollow. That’s why I’m going to stand by the play-world. I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia. So, thanking you kindly for our supper, if these two gentlemen and the young lady are ready, we’re leaving your court at once and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for Overland. Not that our lives will be very long, I should think; but that’s a small loss if the world’s as dull a place as you say.”
The Holy Spirit used this quote to make me realize that though I could never prove The Gospel, it was true. It was too good to be true, and so it was: it could not possibly have been invented by man. God gave me true faith at that point – not faith built on my own reasoning or reading a Tim Keller book (sorry Keller fans… hey, I’ve talked with him, he’s a nice guy), but faith from the heart indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Though science does line up with the Bible, it cannot prove God, and it most assuredly cannot change your heart. God chose to change my heart. I now have 100% faith in God. Why?
Like the Yale student of old, it’s because God dwells in my heart, and changed it. The greatest miracle of all lived out every day in me.
“He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.
He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart.”
I will therefore, in evangelism and apologetics, use the greatest weapon God has provided for cutting into cold hearts. I will not use the reasoning that nearly killed me. I will obey God, and not be concerned with what people think or their reaction – that’s God’s side of things.
God says his Word goes out and does not return void (Isaiah 55:11). What other medium does God make such a promise about?
Eli

7 comments:

  1. That's wonderful Eli... Excellent post, all that has been on my heart and more. My spill on Presuppositions was just the tip of what I was feeling and inspired about, but alas I am no writer, I find I am often short simple and too the point. So much so people have a hard time understanding me because I am so simple am swift and expect them to understand.... Also I often am inspired whilst mowing grass.

    TCR

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  2. TCR - To speak at length takes only practice, not talent. I remember in highschool my speech teacher was eternally upset with me because I would always be so "to the point" that none of my speeches reached the minimum time requirements. Thanks for compliments, i'm glad you liked it! Haha... mowing is *great*!

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  3. Hmmm... That is a very different take on evangelism. I'll have to think some more on it, though if we don't teach people the science and logic behind our faith, will they not be susceptible to being swayed by the all-invasive theories of modern science?

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  4. Science is great for the edification of believers, but it can't convert someone. Only God converts someone. What does God use? His word. Then again, my theological background says God won't let someone fall away - He'll leave the 99 and pursue the one, breaking it's lamb's legs if necessary to protect it.
    However, this is the historic form of apologetics used by Christians predominantly until the 19th century. Then the big-tent evangelists focused on numbers came along. Outcomes belong to God, obedience is our only duty.
    (And welcome back Caleb!!!)

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  5. Say, why is it called "Apologetics", anyway?

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    Replies
    1. Wikipedia is your friend: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apologetics#Etymology

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