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What are “Historical Apologetics?”

Historical apologetics is a term referring to the defense of Christianity in history.

The main attack on Christianity is in the area of its historical record. If you’ve entered an atheist chat room or read books by atheists, you know their main attack is in the area of Christian history. Consider this statement by Christopher Hitchens:

If I cannot definitively prove that the usefulness of religion is in the past, and that its foundational books are transparent fables, and that it is a man-made imposition, and that it has been an enemy of science and inquiry, and that it has subsisted largely on lies and fears, and been the accomplice of ignorance and guilt as well as of slavery, genocide, racism, and tyranny, I can most certainly claim that religion is now fully aware of these criticisms.

                                                      Christopher Hitchens–god is Not Great (p.229)

Atheists claim that Christian history is an indictment against the church. After all, if they claim to be followers of Jesus and yet burn people at the stake, what kind of god do they serve? If they say they love Jesus and yet hold slaves that they whip until they bleed, what kind of god do they serve?

Christians who debate atheists are always confounded when they have to confront the so-called failures of the church. They have to resort to making excuses such as, “Yes we killed some people, but you guys [the atheists] killed more!” Christopher Hitchens had a great response to this defense. He said, “One would think religion had more sense of dignity than that!”

He’s right.

I believe the church can give a great defense against the accusation that her history is evil. The purpose of this blog is to encourage the church and equip her to defend the faith. I try to show how the history of the church is actually beautiful and heroic.

Because the attack against the church is on her history, I believe the greatest need of the hour is historical apologetics. We need men and women who are strong, confident and prepared to counter the flood of attacks that are being poured out upon the church. WIe need people who can raise up a standard against it.

Statistics are also claiming that by the time Christian kids get to college, they’ve already left the faith. Why?  Because they aren’t taught anything in church that’s relevant to their faith. They’re bombarded in schools and in the culture with all kinds of issues leading them to question the Word of God. Yet the church merely entertains them, rather than training and equipping them to give a defense of the faith.

Not only that, many in the evangelical church are falling prey to the same arguments that the atheists lob at us. Emergent church leaders such as Brian McLaren and Rob Bell try to convince the church that the Word is not dependable because of the failures of church history. Consider this comment by emergent leader, Brian McLaren:

For us to be naïve about the “eye of the beholder” regarding the Bible renders us vulnerable to repeating yesterday’s atrocities in the future. Slavery, anti-Semitism, colonialism, genocide, chauvinism, homophobia, environmental plunder, the Inquisition, witch burning, apartheid—aren’t those worth taking care to avoid, for God’s sake?

                                                        Brian McLaren–A New Kind of Christianity (p. 85)

The emergents claim we need a new faith, not based on the Bible, but based on sensual, mystical experience, philosophy, and science. They claim this is the only way to make Christianity “relevant” to the postmodern generation.

I say this is a comp out.

If McLaren thinks the biblical church has been responsible for atrocities such as genocide and slavery then I would ask him why he would even want to be a part of it. If his solution is to cast aside the Bible and create a new, more reasonable religion, then why even call it Christian?

I think McLaren has been lazy. Instead of trying to defend the Bible, he believes all the attacks against it. This is easy because it makes him much more acceptable to the world. He’s looked upon as compassionate, intellectual, and scientific.

I’ve chosen a different route. I refuse to believe that God’s Word is evil. Instead, I believe it’s amazing, beautiful, and true. It can be trusted beyond measure. I pray that I will always be willing to do the hard work of seeking the truth and that others will be encouraged to do the same–for the glory of God.

 

 

 

Discussion

9 thoughts on “What are “Historical Apologetics?”

  1. ”I refuse to believe that God’s Word is evil.”

    Of course, not. Because men made it all up, silly.

    Posted by Arkenaten | September 16, 2013, 1:29 pm
  2. There has been the large false church along side the small true church throughout the history of God’s work of saving sinners. The small pure true church, the called out ones, has been persecuted by the apostate church. God’s people throughout the ages have been faithful to Him, walking with Him and doing His will. The history of their works is sporadic? I’m not sure, but I do know the history of the apostate church is large and known. May Jesus Christ bless His children to stand for Him for His glory and our blessing.

    Posted by Eliza | September 3, 2015, 5:27 pm
    • Exactly what I believe, Eliza!

      The faithful church has a glorious history! Those advancements in science, education, medicine, and freedom have come from the faithful church. The false church has been responsible for the death and suffering of millions.

      May we remain faithful to the truth of His word.

      Grace and peace,

      Diana

      Posted by Diana Lesperance | September 8, 2015, 12:26 pm
      • Amen!

        Posted by Eliza | September 8, 2015, 3:19 pm
      • Eliza, I was “liking” a post on Pulpit and Pen about Ed Stetzer speaking at a Muslim interfaith meeting and saw your pink flower gravatar and recognized it. I thought, “Is that Eliza?” and it was! It’s unbelievable how part of the church doesn’t even recognize that they may be going the broad way and be yoking themselves to other gods. Why is there such a huge division in the church over this ecumenicalism? How can the Body of Christ see this issue so differently?

        Posted by Diana Lesperance | September 10, 2015, 1:02 am
      • Maybe this is one way of distinguishing between those who belong to Christ and those who don’t. We can’t have a broad way “faith” and be faithful and true to Jesus Christ. It is disturbing that so many are willing to throw off the gospel of Jesus Christ for the praise of men. May Jesus Christ establish His children for His praise and glory. Even so Jesus, may it be so.

        Posted by Eliza | September 10, 2015, 1:06 am
  3. People don’t recognize that they’re going the broad (wrong) way because they don’t know the truth. Let me exaggerate a little to prove that point. EVERYONE has a copy of the Bible…but NOBODY reads it. There you have it. How in the world can you recognize falsehood if you don’t ‘know’ the truth? How many people do you know that really search the Bible “to know if these things (that men say) are true”? Well…I don’t think I know any. And of all the very good Christians I’ve known, I can’t think of one that is able to defend their faith (beliefs). Now that’s pretty sad, and it can do nothing but weaken the Church…because it makes so many of its people easily seduced into falsehood, especially if it looks so spiritual and inviting (entertaining).

    Let me tell you how I learned to ‘know’ the truth represented by both the person (Jesus) and the thing (Word). First, I didn’t learn him/it in all those churches I attended that were absolutely spot-on with truth…because they were too busy preaching and not very concerned with teaching any of us how to spot the lies and deceivers. So one day, when I was in my thirties (about a hundred years ago), a Jehovah’s Witness came to my door. I spent the next 10 years learning how to disprove all her doctrines. Because her lies took me straight to the Bible, and eventually I could prove all her teachings were in error. I learned the truth so well that I could have spotted a lie a hundred miles away. Another thing that taught me is that God does allow evil that good may come…he used a JW to get me INTO his Word so that I could better know it and him, and be protected from falsehoods! And of course my love for him and his Word just kept growing, and strengthening my confidence in the two as well.

    I don’t know if there has EVER been a church that focused on teaching its people how to spot deceptions and disprove them by way of the Bible. So I guess in a sense the wheel has to keep being reinvented by individuals, one at a time, willing to dig deep for treasures before unknown but so needful.

    Well…as for the (real) Church being responsible for those horrifying Crusades or for slavery, etc…it just ain’t so! The false church is responsible for all those things, with Satan at its helm.

    Posted by wpmember7 | November 11, 2016, 5:17 pm
    • Come to think of it…back in the 80’s . . . I had a running relationship with some JW’s too! And I had the same response…I searched the Bible to discover the truth. (The JW’s add one little word to the Bible — “a”– (John 1:1) and because of that they have become spiritual adulterers who worship “another Jesus”and preach “another gospel.” Martin Luther said he learned the Bible best when he was debating over it with somebody. I do too. Unfortunately, the wheat has grown up with the tares…and it has brought shame to the gospel. But many Christians don’t even acknowledge the division. So sad…how shocking for them on judgment day.

      Posted by Diana Lesperance | November 12, 2016, 9:30 pm

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Rebutting Historical Apologetics: Christians having the decency of non-Christian acts. « Allallt on Religion - February 16, 2012

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Books

Why am I WAITING for “Shalom?”

"They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven . . ."
(1 Thessalonians 1:9b-10a)

The word "shalom" in the Hebrew has many meanings which indicate restoration, renewal, friendship, peace, safety and so on. At one time, God placed his creation in a perfect garden--a place of safety, security, provision and peace--and we disobeyed God, losing 1) our relationship with God and 2) paradise.

Since that time, we've attempted to bring back both of these losses in our own way. Religion is our attempt to gain back our relationship with God, and politics is our attempt to gain back paradise.

The solution to both of these losses is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Yet the world refuses to believe the good news! Instead they try to attain the restoration--the shalom--in their own way through their own effort.

I believe that the kingdom of God is restored in the hearts of men as they receive Christ's finished work, but the kingdom of God doesn't come physically to earth until Christ comes.

Any effort to bring about the promise ahead of time in our own strength is akin to Abraham going to Hagar for fulfillment of the promise instead of waiting with Sarah for the birth of the promised child through whom the nations of the earth would be blessed.

The evangelical church is rushing en masse to bring about shalom through their own effort, power, and influence. Men like Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, Jim Wallis, and Donald Miller are losing their faith in the promise of Christ that he would prepare a place for them and they're attempting to restore paradise now.

I want to let it be known that I'm WAITING for shalom. I won't be a part of their dream. They are moving ahead of God rather than waiting on God and they will create another Ishmael as a result.

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