Apologetics and The Whole Counsel of God
When Faith Defenders was first established, we recognized that if we failed to plan what we were going to do as an apologetics ministry, we were actually planning to fail. Instead of aimlessly wandering around in our study of the Scriptures, we decided to develop a comprehensive plan that would give us the scope of the Biblical topics which we should cover.
Your "vision" is composed of the goals which you set before you. These goals provide you with the REASONS why you must do or not do certain things. They also provide you with the MOTIVATION to persevere in the face of trials and suffering. The desire to reach your goals will enable you to sacrifice willingly to see your "vision" fulfilled. You will gladly spend your time, energy and money in order to see your goals realized.
I. THE NATURE OF YOUR GOALS
There are various kinds of goals which make up a person’s vision. We must understand what our goals are.
Short range or long-range goals: We must be careful not to expect the immediate fulfillment of all our goals. Instant gratification is not the Christian way. Some goals are fulfilled only after a long time of hard work or suffering. We often experience failed expectations because we wrongly identified long-range goals as short-range goals.
Consistent or inconsistent goals: If we fail to identify what our goals are, then we will be inconsistent in our goals. One goal may actually cancel out another goal. Thus we will experience failure and frustration as our goals fight against each other.
Material or immaterial goals: The child of God gives the greatest priority to the invisible goals of spirituality such as love, courage, justice, humility, boldness, kindness, etc. The goal of material wealth is proper as long as it is secondary (I Tim. 6:6-10, 17-19). Your character is more important than your possessions.
Comprehensive or incomplete goals: The Lordship of Christ is over all of life. No aspect of life is neutral or secular. Everything should be ordered according to the truths, values and priorities of Scripture. Thus in this apologetics Class we will deal with ALL of life.
Yourself or others as goals: We must not be self-centered or selfish in our goals. We must keep in mind that we exist to serve God and others (I Cor. 6:19-20). When we start to live for ourselves instead of living for Christ and His kingdom, we fall into grievous sins and bring shame to the Lord.
This life or eternity as goals: This life is so short that the priority of preparing for eternity must influence every decision (James 4:13-17).
II. THE ORIGINS OF YOUR GOALS
Your goals come from somewhere. They do not just pop into existence without an origin or source. We must ask ourselves from WHERE do our goals come? WHY do we desire them? There are only four possible origins of goals.
The WORLD around us may squeeze us into its own mold. Thus we find ourselves with worldly goals which are unbecoming of a child of God (Rom. 12:1-2; Eph. 2:1-2).
The FLESH (i.e., our sinful side) will provide us with all kinds of selfish goals (Gal. 5:17-21; Eph. 2:3).
The DEVIL is more than willing to give us harmful goals which destroy the soul (Eph. 2:1-2; 6:11-18).
The LORD has revealed our goals in Scripture so that even the youngest and weakest of His people can know His will (Rom. 12:2).
III. GOD'S GOALS FOR YOUR LIFE
When we desire to establish our goals in life, we must turn to the Scriptures as the only place where God has revealed His vision for our lives. The Bible is to be our rule in faith and practice (Isa. 8:20; II Tim. 3:l6-l7).
IV. THE COMPREHENSIVE VISION: THE LORDSHIP OF CHRIST OVER ALL OF LIFE
We must reject the idea that life is divided into "secular" and “sacred" sections. ALL of life is sacred. Christ's Lordship extends into EVERY area of life. There are no neutral or secular areas for "the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof and they that dwell therein" (Psa. 24:1). We must do all things for the glory of God (I Cor. 10:3l).
V. THE COMPREHENSIVE VISION AS GIVEN IN SCRIPTURE
God wants us to KNOW, BE AND DO certain things as:
NOTE: "KNOW" means the acquisition of Biblical knowledge.
"BE” refers to the development of a godly character.
"DO” means putting God's Word into action.
VI. THE DOMAIN OF APOLOGETICS
Most apologetic ministries have traditionally focused on how to deal with such cults as Mormonism and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Indeed, they have done a wonderful job combating these cults. But this has left many people with the impression that apologetics concerns itself only with fighting the cults or the occult.
Faith Defenders takes a different view of its role in the Body of Christ. Just as the Lordship of Christ is over all of life, apologetics must defend ALL that God has revealed in Scripture. Thus apologetics must be involved in developing a comprehensive world and life view that enables Christians to defend whatever Truth is under attack.
VII. THE NECESSITY OF SPIRITUALITY
We must always keep in mind that the grand goal of apologetics is not the winning of arguments but the conversion of rebel sinners to Christ. But repentance and conversion are not something that we can accomplish--- no matter how powerful our arguments. As Paul stated in 2 Tim. 2:25, our only hope of success is that “God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the Truth.”
Your apologetics can be as clear as ice and as cold as too! Do not fall into the trap of doing apologetics “in word only.” Instead, do your apologetics “in power and in the Holy Spirit.” (I Thess. 1:5)
Prayer must precede, accompany and conclude your apologetics. Your love of sinners must be manifest so that unbelievers and believers will see that you are “speaking the Truth in love.”
The following charts reveal the scope of “the whole counsel of God.” If you are going to defend it, you must understand it. As you read through the material, ask yourself if you understand these topics. If not, then you must spend some time educating yourself on the whole counsel of God before you run around doing apologetics.
VIII. Christ and Culture
Some Christians believe that we should withdraw from our culture. But we believe that we have the God-given responsibility of being “salt” and “light” in our culture. But how and in what ways can we be effective witnesses in our culture? Where do we as Christians fit into culture? Do we have a Christian view of “business ethics” that should us at work? What is the Christian view of art, literature, politics, science, math, psychology, UFOs, etc.? How are to apply the Lordship of Christ to all of life?
Apologetics must explain and then defend the Christian world and life view before a watching world. It cannot be reduced to fighting the cults or the occult.
I. GOD'S VISION FOR US AS INDIVIDUALS
The inspiration and origin of Scripture
Knowledgeable about the Bible
Bow before the Word of God
Read the Bible
Doctrine of God
Doctrine of man
Doctrine of salvation
Dependent on God
How to have devotions
Seek the Spirit
How to pray
Make right decisions
Give to God
The filling of the Spirit
Manage time well
How to develop godly habits
Join the church
Stewardship / money
Seek to minister
The fear of God
The priesthood of the believer
Live for Christ
Have right priorities
How to witness
How to manage your time and energy
Obtain wisdom and understanding
How to testify
How to counsel
Cope with things
The Christian world and life view
Cults / occult
Resist the devil
How to develop a good conscience
Healthy in mind, body and soul
Grow in grace / knowledge
Use all means of grace
Chastisement: its nature and our response
Keep eternity in view
Seek godly counsel
The Law of God in the life of the believer
Confess sin and ask for help and prayer
How to handle suffering and pain
Death, Hell and Heaven
Devices of Satan
Survey of the Bible
How to handle / solve depression
Basic books to read
II. GOD'S VISION FOR US AS FAMILIES
The origin, nature and structure of the family
A Christian home
Practice the principles
Accept roles given in Scripture
Have family devotions
Planning a Christian wedding
Create a theistic atmosphere
How to create harmony in marriage
Have family night
How to create a theistic atmosphere
Family devotions and worship
Train children for Christ
Date and marry only Christians
The needs of men and women
Why marriages fall apart
Communicate with mate and children
How to sweeten a sour marriage
Be united and consistent in discipline
Control anger and bitterness
Death in family
Do not neglect parents
Religious education in the home
Provide for children
III. GOD'S VISION FOR US AS A CHURCH
The origin, nature and structure of church
Biblically based and structured
The offices of the church
The responsibility of members
Body life concept
Minister to others through your gifts
Seek the purity of life and doctrine
Avoid causing divisions
Balanced in form and freedom
Learn to cooperate with others
Submit to the elders
Involved in ministering to other churches
Aspire to leadership
IV. GOD'S VISION FOR US AS A NATION
The origin, nature, functions and authority of the state
The right use of force
The just war theory
Understand the issues
How to overcome tyranny
Church / state issues
Speak out and protest
Be Christian first and American second
Justice and the poor
Run for office
Communism / socialism
God's civil law
The origin of the free enterprise system and democracy
The Charts Are Not Complete
These charts are by no means complete. We have always heard that the Bible was an "inexhaustible barrel," but now we know that this is true! As the years have gone by, more topics have been added to the list. New topics and insights are constantly being added. There is no end in sight! The Scriptures are as infinite as the Mind that inspired them.
Apologetics must be viewed in the context of the Lordship of Christ over all of life. Anything less than this is not a Biblical view of apologetics. Let us “defend the faith” in absolute dependence upon the power of the Holy Spirit.
If the vision outlined in this paper is your vision too, then join us as part of the team at Faith Defenders
Christian Life Issues
Cults & Occult
From the Desk
Journal of Biblical Apologetics
Young Adult Life
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