Tag Archives: Bobby Conway

Why Study the Skeptics?

Personal Discipleship Week 3 Class Presentation

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Have you ever been blindsided by a hostile comment about your faith? For whatever reasons, someone has a chip on their shoulder about Christians. Maybe you weren’t even talking about anything spiritual, and they let go a pejorative that hits you like ice water in the face. If they’re angry and intelligent, you might hear a diatribe that is well articulated and seems to challenge your Christian worldview in a really disturbing way.

If you’ve been a Christian for any length of time, welcome to the real world. Skepticism is nothing new.

“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Matthew 5:11,12 (NKJV)

Being on the receiving end of mocking and ridicule is bad enough, but how do you respond to the underlying challenge?

Personal discipleship is more than a process—it’s a lane to drive in when your faith is challenged. One of the (many) reasons that ice water in the face feels so cold is that we are poorly prepared to graciously address the underlying objections. Not just poorly prepared in terms of having a pithy response, but poorly prepared to engage in a manner that is gentle and respectful. Bobby Conway says the purpose of apologetics is to remove barriers to the Christian faith. Apologetics is not about winning arguments. Got it. But we have little chance of presenting Christ in a favorable light if we don’t know where people are coming from—emotionally and intellectually.

Dr. Norman Geisler

Dr. Norman Geisler

Dr. Norman Geisler gave an interview to Apologetics315 in which he made some statements that get at the heart of the matter. Geisler is a prolific author, systematic theologian, philosopher, and professor. He has founded two evangelical seminaries and was the chief architect behind the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy. He is a standard-bearer for conservative Christian doctrine.

“I learned a lot from all skeptics. I tell my students that I spend most of my time studying and teaching what I don’t believe, namely the history of philosophy, and I’m writing a book on it now, The History of Philosophy From a Christian Point of View. You have to have a knowledge of what’s going on, that’s the bread and butter, that’s the standing on the shoulders of giants. As someone said, ‘You can learn more from the error of a great mind than you can the truths of a small mind.’ Because, the error of a great mind is a significant error, and you learn a lot from significant errors. Furthermore, I would encourage reading atheists because when I see the fallacies, the flimsy grounds upon which they base their belief, it encourages me in my own faith. So, I don’t read Streams in the Desert, or Daily Bread for devotion, I read atheists. Because they’re encouraging Nietzsche, and Freud, and Fromm, and Feuerbach, and Schopenhauer, and all the great atheists. Because as I read them, I strengthen my own faith, I see how to answer the fallacies in their writings, and I’m able to do what the Bible tells me—to destroy arguments and every proud obstacle against the knowledge of God and bring every thought captive to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).”

So why study the skeptics? To encourage and strengthen your own faith, so that you can destroy arguments and proud obstacles to the knowledge and love of God. And always with gentleness and respect.


Bobby Conway: Contending for the Faith

Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.
Jude 3, NIV84

Clarke has been sharing quite a bit lately, through posts and comments, about religious pluralism and related topics. (Incidentally, one of my all-time favorite posts by Clarke is this one on particularism and the wideness of God’s mercy.)

Religious pluralism is a difficult and tattered topic. There are lots of recent bestsellers stirring up great controversies, but the song remains the same. There is no end to the number of writers who want to reinvent Jesus and conform Christianity to some type of “fair for all people” standard.

But do we really have that liberty? Would that liberty even make sense?

The Apostle John recorded in John 13:35 that the world will know we are His disciples if we love one another—so why can’t that be the bottom line on the Christian faith?  We should just love each other and everything will work out. You know, love wins. But…there are stern and passionate condemnations throughout the New Testament about not giving away the Gospel and the importance of contending for the faith that was entrusted to us. It all depends upon how we understand ‘love’.

This issue hits close to home for me. A friend from church recently told me how impressed he is with Rob Bell. While I can understand on a secular basis how Rob Bell’s teaching (‘doctrine’) appeals to a wide audience, given the plumb lines of Scripture it seems to me an insidious theological cancer. Our understanding of God is like a 20-year-old Oldsmobile? Really?! This is not a debate between creationists about how to interpret science and the Bible to determine the age of the earth. Nor is it a debate about Calvinism vs. Arminianism, nor whether baptism is a sacrament or an ordinance. It’s much more important than those questions. Why?

Here’s an excellent piece of on-topic teaching from Dr. Bobby Conway that lays out why it is so important to understand the Doctrine of Hell. It’s also a powerful example of why doctrine and theology matter.


Time for Apologetics

“Our greatest ability is our availability.”
Dick Woodward, Marketplace Disciples, pg. 324

Time

Have you ever considered how much time it takes to reach unbelieving people for Jesus Christ?

William Lane Craig Interview

William Lane Craig Interview

William Lane Craig recently did an interview on Fox News to promote his latest book, A Reasonable Response: Answers to Tough Questions on God, Christianity, and the Bible. In a few minutes, he made an articulate and defensible case for believing in God and for the Christian faith. What strikes me most about the interview is how well prepared Dr. Craig is to engage thinkers—there are forty-five years of intense study behind his eight-minute interview.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for going out there and laying it on the line like Billy Graham or D.L. Moody. Let the Holy Spirit work. Preach the Word! Absolutely.

But frankly there are many times when apologetics can open doors to the Christian faith that might otherwise be closed. If I’m going to have my faith challenged—or even mocked—by a non-believer, responding with logic and reason carries more sway than quoting Scripture. I’m not counting on my intellect to get me through; I’m just saying it may be wiser to prepare the soil, sow the seeds, and water the crop before calling for the harvest. Jesus intended that we should ‘sow’ when He gave us the Great Commission. When He said that the greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, He meant for us to work at renewing our minds.

So why don’t more people appreciate apologetics as a tool for sharing their faith? Apologetics takes a lot of time. We don’t hear much in the way of apologetics from our pulpits. It’s more of a personal discipleship sort of thing. Truth be told, most people don’t even know what apologetics is. So what is apologetics, really, and why should we care? Continue reading


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