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How to Defend Your Faith. presented by David Asscherick. Does the faith need to be defended?. We can easily answer this question by posing a second question: Is the Christian faith under attack? If the answer to the second question is yes, the answer to the first is also yes.

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Presentation Transcript
slide1

How to Defend Your Faith

presented by

David Asscherick

slide2

Does the faith need to be defended?

We can easily answer this question by posing a second question: Is the Christian faith under attack? If the answer to the second question is yes, the answer to the first is also yes.

Yet while it is true that the faith needs to be defendedsomething else is still more true...

slide3

The faith needs to be lived even more than it needs to be defended.

Oxford scholar CS Lewis was once asked how he defended his belief in the Bible. He responded by saying that he defended the Bible in much the same way one would defend a caged lion. “You simply let it out of the cage”, he said. The Christian faith is just like this. It needs to be displayed more than merely defended.

slide4

Defending your faith is easy.

You need only do twothings:

• Be in-filled

• Be informed

slide5

Defending your faith is easy.

You need only do twothings:

• Be in-filled (with the Spirit)

• Be informed (with the facts)

slide6

Philippians 1:16,17

I am set for the defense of the gospel (KJV)

I am appointed for the defense of the gospel (NASB)

I am here to defend the good news about him (CEV)

slide7

1Peter 3:15

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear (KJV)

...but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect (ESV)

slide8

1Peter 3:15, 16

...but in your hearts consecrate Christ as Lord, being always ready to make your defense to any one who asks from you a reason for the hope which you cherish. Yet argue modestly and cautiously, keeping your consciences free from guilt, so that, when you are spoken against, those who slander your good Christian lives may be put to shame. (WNT)

slide9

apologia (to give an answer/ defense)

Note this text (1Peter 3:15) and note it well. In it believers are not only exhorted to give an answer/ defense (apologia), they are taught the two essential elements of an effective defense: a compellinganswer and a consistentlife. That is, both what you say and how you say it. An effective defense, then, encompasses both the message and the messenger.

slide10

apologia (to give an answer/ defense)

Note this text (1Peter 3:15) and note it well. In it believers are not only exhorted to give an answer/ defense (apologia), they are taught the two essential elements of an effective defense: a compellinganswer and a consistentlife. That is, both what you say and how you say it. An effective defense, then, encompasses both the message and the messenger. This is Peter’s way of saying... An effective defense, then, encompasses both the message and the messenger.

slide11

• Be in-filled

• Be informed

slide12

• Be in-filled

• Be informed

If your life is not attractive and consistent

no one, really, will care what it is you say.

slide13

• Be in-filled

• Be informed

If your life is not attractive and consistent

no one, really, will care what it is you say.

If your answers are not sound, reasonable,

and appealing your Christian life will be little

more than a kind of wholesome novelty.

slide14

• Be in-filled

• Be informed

If your life is not attractive and consistent

no one, really, will care what it is you say.

If your answers are not sound, reasonable,

and appealing your Christian life will be little

more than a kind of wholesome novelty.

Both are essential in order to effectively defend your faith.

slide15

Be in-filled

A kind, courteous Christian is the most powerful argument that can be produced in favor of Christianity. (GW 122)

slide16

Be in-filled

A kind, courteous Christian is the most powerful argument that can be produced in favor of Christianity. (GW 122)

slide17

Be in-filled

A kind, courteous Christian is the most powerful argument that can be produced in favor of Christianity. (GW 122)

A kind, courteous Christian is the most powerful argument that can be produced in favor of the gospel. (HP 181)

slide18

Be in-filled

A kind, courteous Christian is the most powerful argument that can be produced in favor of Christianity. (GW 122)

A kind, courteous Christian is the most powerful argument that can be produced in favor of the gospel. (HP 181)

slide19

Be in-filled

You are the light of the world... let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Mt 5:14, 16 (ESV)

slide20

Be in-filled

You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit... Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. Mt 7:16-20 (ESV)

Note: not only will you recognize others this way,

but you also will be recognized this way.

slide21

Be in-filled

Let your language be always seasoned with the salt of grace, so that you may know how to give every man a fitting answer. Col 4:6 (WNT)

Note: here again we see the two-fold division of

1) what you say and 2) how you say it. Both the

message delivered and the method of delivery are

critically important.

slide22

Are you a true Christian?

To be an effective spokesperson for the Christian faith, you must yourself first be a Christian. Do you want to defend the faith? Do you first have any faith to defend?

The Gospel is more than a concept to be studied, appreciated, and defended. It is a life to be lived. Not by you, but by Christ inside of you. (see John 3:5-8; Gal 2:20; Col 1:27; John 14:16, 17; Gal 5:22-25)

slide23

Be in-filled

A kind, courteous Christian is the most powerful argument that can be produced in favor of Christianity. (GW 122)

A kind, courteous Christian is the most powerful argument that can be produced in favor of the gospel. (HP 181)

slide24

So just what is the Gospel?

A better question is: Who is the Gospel? The Gospel is a person. It is the good news about a person. (See Romans 1:1,3; 1Cor 15:1-8)

Hanging upon the cross Christ was the gospel. (6BC 1113)

slide25

Be in-filled

You must first be a Christian before you can hope to defend the Christian faith effectively. You cannot be a Christian if Christ is only outside of you. You must have Christ in you by His Spirit. You must be born again. You must be born of the Spirit. This is the first and most important step in effectively defending your faith. You must first live your faith. Not in your own strength, but by the power of the indwelling Christ.

slide26

Be in-filled

A well-defended faith is first and foremost a well-lived faith. The Gospel must be more than defended, it must be displayed.

slide27

Defending your faith is easy.

You need only do twothings:

• Be in-filled (with the Spirit)

• Be informed (with the facts)

slide28

Be informed

Christianity is true, objectively true. This is what we believe and teach. We should not, therefore, fear scrutiny. We should welcome it. If what we hold as dear is true, then we have nothing to fear from the facts. Many Christians are afraid of the facts and of intellectual conflict. The first Christians, however, were not. Should we--the last Christians--be any different?

slide29

Be informed

Those who desire to know the truth have nothing to fear from the investigation of the word of God. But upon the threshold of investigation of the word of God, inquirers after truth should lay aside all prejudice, and hold in abeyance all preconceived opinion, and open the ear to hear the voice of God from His messenger. (RH, March 25, 1902)

slide30

Be informed

Of all men upon the face of the earth, those who are handling solemn truths for these perilous times should understand their Bibles and become acquainted with the evidences of our faith... Those who are ambassadors for Christ, who stand in His stead, beseeching souls to be reconciled to God, should be qualified to present our faith intelligently and be able to give the reasons of their hope with meekness and fear. (2T 342)

slide31

Be informed

God never asks us to believe, without giving sufficient evidence upon which to base our faith. His existence, His character, the truthfulness of His word, are all established by testimony that appeals to our reason; and this testimony is abundant. Yet God has never removed the possibility of doubt. Our faith must rest upon evidence, not demonstration. Those who wish to doubt will have opportunity; while those who really desire to know the truth will find plenty of evidence on which to rest their faith. (SC 105)

slide32

Be informed

For the Seventh-day Adventist Christian, their faith must be defended on three levels .

slide33

Be informed

For the Seventh-day Adventist Christian, their faith must be defended on three levels .

Theism

(versus atheism)

slide34

Be informed

For the Seventh-day Adventist Christian, their faith must be defended on three levels .

Christianity

(versus non-Christian religions)

Theism

(versus atheism)

slide35

Be informed

For the Seventh-day Adventist Christian, their faith must be defended on three levels .

Seventh-day Adventism

(versus other Christian perspectives)

Christianity

(versus non-Christian religions)

Theism

(versus atheism)

slide36

Be informed

Theism

(versus atheism)

  • • Ex nihilo nihil fit (out of nothing, nothing comes)
    • - Atheism posits a universe that came out of nothing, for nothing, by
    • nothing, because of nothing. This is an article of sheer faith.
    • - Every thing that begins to exist has a cause. The universe began to
    • exist. Therefore the universe had a cause. That cause, must itself, be
    • uncaused. There cannot be an infinite regress of causation.
    • - Why is there something rather than nothing?
slide37

Be informed

Theism

(versus atheism)

  • • Life begets life
    • - Non-life has never been shown to give rise to life.
    • - Materialism must affirm that inanimate matter gave rise to life
    • somehow, sometime in the distant past. This is unscientific and, once
    • again, an article of sheer faith.
    • - Theism posits a living beginning to all subsequent life: God. God had
    • no beginning. He is the eternally existent one. He is the I AM.
    • - Where did life come from? And why? And how? And when? The
    • atheist has no answers. He accepts life’s origin on faith alone.
slide38

Be informed

Theism

(versus atheism)

  • • Life begets life
    • “The evidential situation of natural (as opposed to revealed) theology has been transformed in the more than fifty years since Watson and Crick won the Nobel Prize for their discovery of the double helix structure of DNA. It has become inordinately difficult even to begin to think about constructing a naturalistic theory of the evolution of that first reproducing organism.”
  • --Anthony Flew, former world-renowned atheist
slide39

Be informed

Theism

(versus atheism)

  • • A very special universe
    • - Our universe is perfectly tuned to permit the existence of life.
    • - This fine-tunedness is sometimes called the anthropic principle. This
    • notion suggests that the universe is too fine-tuned to have arisen by
    • chance. Self-reflective life is the purpose not a mere product.
    • - Atheism cannot account for this staggering fine-tunedness. They
    • believe it “just happened”. This is an article of sheer faith.
    • - The odds of a non life-permitting universe arising by chance and
    • natural processes are near-infinitely greater than the odds of a
    • universe such as ours arising by these means.
    • - The Bible says that God made the universe “to be inhabited”.
slide40

Be informed

Theism

(versus atheism)

  • • A very special universe:Uni or Multi?
    • - The theory du jour which seeks to account for the fine-tunedness of
    • the universe is the Multiverse Theory. It says that there are a vast
    • number (perhaps an infinity) of universes of which our is only one.
    • - There is no evidence for these other universes. Their existence is an
    • article of sheer faith.
    • - It is simpler to believe in one God than in an infinite number of
    • unknown and unknowable “other” universes.
    • - Some scientists are seriously suggesting that our universe is, in fact,
    • likely a fake--a computer-generated world created by super-
    • intelligent residents of one of the “other” real universes. No kidding.
slide41

Be informed

Theism

(versus atheism)

  • • The existence of self-reflective life
    • - Humans are unique in that they understand their place in the
    • universe. We are able to contemplate the universe and our place in
    • it. This simple fact has impressed many of the world’s greatest minds.
    • - Horses, trout, and kookaburras do not reflect on the amazing fine-
    • tunedness of the universe. They do not stare at the stars or look
    • longingly at a glorious and arresting sunset.
    • - Einstein remarked that the most incomprehensible thing about the
    • universe was its comprehensibility.
slide42

Be informed

Theism

(versus atheism)

  • • The existence of self-reflective life
    • You find it strange that I consider the comprehensibility of the world as a miracle or as an eternal mystery. Well, a priori one should expect a chaotic world, which cannot be grasped by the mind in any way. . . . The kind of order created by Newton's theory of gravitation, for example, is wholly different. Even if man proposes the axioms of the theory, the success of such a project presupposes a high degree of ordering of the objective world, and this could not be expected a priori. That is the "miracle" which is being constantly reinforced as our knowledge expands.
  • --Albert Einstein
slide43

Be informed

Theism

(versus atheism)

• The existence of self-reflective life

The enormous usefulness of mathematics is something bordering on the mysterious . . . . There is no rational explanation for it . . . . The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve.

  • --Eugene Wigner, physicist (nobel prize 1963)
slide44

Be informed

Theism

(versus atheism)

• The existence of self-reflective life

To me, belief in a final cause, a Creator-God, gives a coherent understanding of why the universe seems so congenially designed for the existence of intelligent, self-reflective life. It would take only small changes in numerous physical constants to render the universe uninhabitable. Somehow, in the words of Freeman Dyson, this is a universe that knew we were coming.

  • --Owen Gingerich,
  • former Professor of Astronomy and of the History of Science at Harvard University and senior astronomer emeritus Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
slide45

Be informed

Theism

(versus atheism)

• The existence of self-reflective life

It would be very difficult to explain why the universe should have begun in just this way, except as the act of a God who intended to create beings like us.

  • --Stephen Hawking,
  • Sir Isaac Newton Chair of Mathematics, Cambridge University
slide46

Be informed

Theism

(versus atheism)

  • • Which came first:mind or matter?
    • - The mind and the brain are not the same thing. For example, you
    • can change your mind, but not your brain. You can lose your mind, but
    • not your brain.
    • - Atheism, with its necessary materialism, cannot give adequate
    • account of the mind, for the mind appears to be immaterial.
    • Atheists, yes, typically believe in the existence of the mind, but
    • this is the result of experiential necessity not philosophical consistency.
slide47

Be informed

Theism

(versus atheism)

  • • Which came first:mind or matter?
    • - The mind cannot be merely an emergent property of the brain, for it
    • is fundamentally (substantively) different from the brain. The brain is
    • made of matter. The mind with its intentionality, volition, and mental
    • events is plainly not made of matter.
    • - Philosophical materialism cannot account for basic human realities
    • such as identity, consciousness, self-determination, moral
    • accountability, and the placebo effect.
slide48

Be informed

Theism

(versus atheism)

  • • Which came first:mind or matter?
  • The subjective character of experience is hard to capture in physicalist terms. How could consciousness have evolved from matter? Can matter think?... The simple fact of consciousness is a serious difficulty for physicalism [materialism]
  • --JP Moreland, author & philosopher
slide49

Be informed

Theism

(versus atheism)

  • • Which came first:mind or matter?
    • Science has proved that our brain is only a set of particles, and that biological life consists uniquely in a succession of chemical reactions, which, in their turn, consist uniquely in physical processes. On the other hand, consciousness transcends the laws of physics and cannot then be considered the product of biological and cerebral processes. This implies that our mind and our brain are not the same entity, but two different yet interacting entities.
  • --Marco Biagini, physicist & author
slide50

Be informed

Theism

(versus atheism)

• Which came first:mind or matter?

Every materialistic attempt to explain the existence of consciousness implies that what suffers, loves, desires, feels etc. in us are objects such as electrons or electromagnetic fields. The point is that [these] objects can feel nothing at all.

  • --Marco Biagini, physicist & author
slide51

Be informed

Theism

(versus atheism)

  • • Which came first:mind or matter?
  • No man can survey himself without forthwith turning his thoughts towards the God in whom he lives and moves; because it is perfectly obvious, that the endowments which we possess cannot possibly be from ourselves.
  • --John Calvin, protestant reformer
slide52

Be informed

Theism

(versus atheism)

We want to know whether the universe simply happens to be what it is for no reason or whether there is a power behind it that makes it what it is. Since that power, if it exists, would be not one of the observed facts but a reality which makes them, no mere observation of the facts can find it. There is only one case in which we can know whether there is anything more, namely our own case, and in that one case we find there is. Or put it the other way round. If there was a controlling power outside the universe, it could not show itself to us as one of the facts inside the universe -- no more than the architect of a house could actually be a wall, or staircase, or fireplace in that house.

slide53

Be informed

Theism

(versus atheism)

The only way in which we could expect it to show itself would be inside ourselves as an influence or a command trying to get us to behave in a certain way. And that is just what we do find inside ourselves. Surely this ought to arouse our suspicions? In the only case where you can expect to get an answer, the answer turns out to be Yes. . . Suppose someone asked me, when I see a man in a blue uniform going down the street leaving little paper packets at each house, why I suppose that they contain letters? I should reply, "Because whenever he leaves a similar little packet for me I find it does contain a letter."

slide54

Be informed

Theism

(versus atheism)

And if he then objected, "But you've never seen all these letters which you think the other people are getting," I should say, "Of course not, and I shouldn't expect to, because they're not addressed to me. I'm explaining the packets I'm not allowed to open by the ones I'm allowed to open."... It is the same about this question. The only packet I'm allowed to open is Man. When I do, especially when I open that particular man called myself, I find that I do not exist on my own, that I am under a law; that somebody or something wants me to behave in a certain way. I do not, of course, think that if I could get inside a stone or a tree I should find exactly the same thing, just as I do not think all the other people in the street get the same letters as I do.

slide55

Be informed

Theism

(versus atheism)

I should expect, for instance, to find that the stone had to obey the law of gravity -- that whereas the sender of the letters merely tells me to obey the laws of my human nature, He compels the stone to obey the laws of its stony nature. But I should expect to find that there was, so to speak, a sender in both cases, a Power behind the facts, a Director, a Guide.

  • --CS Lewis, Oxford scholar & author
slide56

Be informed

Theism

(versus atheism)

  • • Is anything really wrong?
    • - Atheism cannot account for objective, absolute moral standards. At
    • best it can create a kind of consensus morality.
    • - Is the torture of innocent children always wrong? Or could it be
    • justified in some extenuating circumstances?
    • - If morality originates in man, then it can be modified by man.
    • - Whose moral code should we adopt Hitler’s, Hefner’s, or the
    • Hebrews’? How can we judge between moral codes? Whose
    • standards would we use to judge, ours or theirs? Might what we call
    • immorality be decidedly moral in their culture and code?
slide57

Be informed

Theism

(versus atheism)

  • • Beauty, meaning, and love
    • - Atheism fails utterly to account for the most fundamental features of
    • human experience: friendship, love, beauty, meaning, and joy.
    • - Any philosophy which fails to account for that which is fundamental
    • to our experience and existence as human beings should be rejected
    • out of hand on experiential grounds alone.
    • - Even if atheism worked on the blackboard (which we have argued it
    • doesn’t), it cannot work where is matters most: in day-to-
    • day life.
slide58

Be informed

Theism

(versus atheism)

  • • Beauty, meaning, and love
    • If reality is fundamentally physical, then the primary force binding it together is electromagnetic. If, however, reality is fundamentally social, then the most powerful constituting force is that which binds persons together, namely, love.
  • --Millard J. Erickson, author & president ETS
slide59

Be informed

Theism

(versus atheism)

  • • causation (ex nihilo nihil fit)
  • • the origin of life (life begets life)
  • • a fine-tuned universe (the anthropic principle)
  • • self-reflective life (awareness of our place in space)
  • • the mind (identity, consciousness, self-determination)
  • • moral absolutes (‘Be holy for I am Holy’ Lev 11:44)
  • • human experience (love, meaning, joy, beauty, etc)
slide60

Be informed

For the Seventh-day Adventist Christian, their faith must be defended on three levels .

Seventh-day Adventism

(versus other Christian perspectives)

Christianity

(versus non-Christian religions)

Theism

(versus atheism)

slide61

Be informed

Christianity

(versus non-Christian religions)

  • This is really quite simple. Jesus staked his identity and claims on the fact of His prophesied resurrection from the dead (John 2:19). Paul said the very same thing about Jesus’ resurrection (1Cor 15:1-20). If Jesus rose from the dead, then Christianity is true. If He did not, then Christianity is not true. So the debate hinges right here on this question. Significantly, there is excellent reason to believe that Jesus did, in fact, raise from the dead as He Himself said he would.
slide62

Be informed

Christianity

(versus non-Christian religions)

  • The resurrection of Jesus acquires such decisive meaning, not merely because someone or anyone has been raised from the dead, but because it is Jesus of Nazareth, whose execution was instigated by the Jews because he had blasphemed against God. If this man was raised from the dead, then that plainly means that the God whom he had supposedly blasphemed had committed Himself to him. The resurrection can only be understood as the divine vindication of the man whom the Jews had rejected as a blasphemer.
  • --Wolfhart Pannenburg, theologian
slide63

Be informed

Christianity

(versus non-Christian religions)

  • If the coming into existence of the Nazarenes, a phenomenon undeniably attested to by the NT, rips a great hole in history, a hole the size and shape of the resurrection, what does the secular historian propose to stop it up with? The birth and rapid rise of the Christian Church remain an unsolved enigma for any historian who refuses to take seriously the only explanation offered by the church itself.
  • --CFD Moule, theologian, Cambridge
slide64

Be informed

For the Seventh-day Adventist Christian, their faith must be defended on three levels .

Seventh-day Adventism

(versus other Christian perspectives)

Christianity

(versus non-Christian religions)

Theism

(versus atheism)

slide65

Be informed

Seventh-day Adventism

(versus other Christian perspectives)

  • In a special sense Seventh-day Adventists have been set in the world as watchmen and light-bearers. To them has been entrusted the last warning for a perishing world. On them is shining wonderful light from the Word of God. They have been given a work of the most solemn import,--the proclamation of the first, second, and third angels' messages. There is no other work of so great importance. They are to allow nothing else to absorb their attention. (Ev 120)
slide66

Be informed

Seventh-day Adventism

(versus other Christian perspectives)

  • • sola Scriptura (“the Bible is our creed”)
  • • salvation by faith alone through grace alone (reformation)
  • • soon return of Jesus (signs of the times)
  • • seventh-day Sabbath/ law (near-universal Sunday observance)
  • • state of dead/ nature of man (rampant spiritualism)
  • • Jesus’ ministry as priest in sanctuary (1844)
  • • the Spirit of prophecy (prophetic guidance)
slide67

Be informed

Seventh-day Adventism

(versus other Christian perspectives)

Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus. Rev 14:12 (ESV)

slide68

Be informed

For the Seventh-day Adventist Christian, their faith must be defended on three levels .

Seventh-day Adventism

(versus other Christian perspectives)

Christianity

(versus non-Christian religions)

Theism

(versus atheism)

slide69

Defending your faith is easy.

You need only do twothings:

• Be in-filled (with the Spirit)

• Be informed (with the facts)

slide70

The faith needs to be lived even more than it needs to be defended.

Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus. Rev 14:12 (ESV)

slide71

The faith needs to be lived even more than it needs to be defended.

Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus. Rev 14:12 (ESV)

slide72

The faith needs to be lived even more than it needs to be defended.

Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus. Rev 14:12 (ESV)

slide73

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