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Apologetics and The Whole Counsel of God

Apologetics and The Whole Counsel of God

Introduction
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
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:

       A. Individuals

       B. Families

       C. Churches

       D. Nations

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

KNOW                                              

BE

DO                     

The inspiration and origin of Scripture

Knowledgeable about the Bible

Bow before the Word of God

Hermeneutics

Saved

Read the Bible

Doctrine of God

Confident

Seek salvation

Doctrine of man

Consistent

Obtain assurance

Doctrine of salvation

Dependent on God

Pray

Assurance

Trustworthy

Resist temptation

How to have devotions

Spirit-filled

Seek the Spirit

How to pray

Obedient

Make right decisions

Obedience

Disciplined

Give to God

Temptation

Godly

Worship God

The filling of the Spirit

Charitable

Exercise gifts

Christian baptism

Zealous

Fear God

Guidance

Manage time well

Witness

Discipline

Hopeful

Attend church

How to develop godly habits

Loving

Join the church

Stewardship / money

Faithful

Seek to minister

Worship

Kind

Accept responsibility

The fear of God

Considerate

Practice one-anothering

The priesthood of the believer

Sensitive

Live for Christ

Spiritual gifts

Respectful

Have right priorities

How to witness

Moral

Seek knowledge

How to manage your time and energy

Honest

Obtain wisdom and understanding

How to testify

Careful

Persevere

How to counsel

Aggressive

Cooperate

Apologetics

Submissive

Cope with things

The Christian world and life view

Persistent

Handle emotions

Cults / occult

Hard working

Resist the devil

How to develop a good conscience

Healthy in mind, body and soul

Grow in grace / knowledge

Fasting

Successful

Use all means of grace

Chastisement: its nature and our response

Prosperous

Keep eternity in view

Good works

Responsible

Seek godly counsel

The Law of God in the life of the believer

Content

Admit weaknesses

Prophecy

Humble

Confess sin and ask for help and prayer

How to handle suffering and pain

Patient

Win converts

Death, Hell and Heaven

Joyful

Etc.

Devices of Satan

Peaceful

 

Christian hospitality

Stable

 

Church involvement

Mature

 

Survey of the Bible

Etc.

 

How to handle / solve depression

 

 

Bible doctrines

 

 

Backsliding

 

 

Apostasy

 

 

Basic books to read

 

 

Etc.

 

 

II.  GOD'S VISION FOR US AS FAMILIES

 

KNOW

BE

DO

The origin, nature and structure of the family

A Christian home

Think

Dating

Harmonious

Read the Bible

Sexuality

Peaceful

Practice the principles

Youthful lusts

Loving

Accept roles given in Scripture

Premarital counseling

Restful

Have family devotions

Planning a Christian wedding

Content

Create a theistic atmosphere

How to create harmony in marriage

Hospitable

Have family night

How to create a theistic atmosphere

Evangelistic

Resolve problems

Home standards

Mission-minded

Avoid divorce

Family devotions and worship

Stable

Seek counseling

Train children for Christ

Healthy

Date and marry only Christians

The needs of men and women

Joyful

Flee immorality

Why marriages fall apart

Prosperous

Communicate with mate and children

How to sweeten a sour marriage

Obedient

Be united and consistent in discipline

Singleness

Productive

Control anger and bitterness

Divorce

Consistent

Have right priorities

Remarriage

Disciplined

Be pro-life

Death in family

Friendly

Do not neglect parents

Religious education in the home

Open

Provide for children

Parental authority

Etc.

Etc.

Abortion

 

 

Birth control

 

 

Mercy killing

 

 

Euthanasia

 

 

Suicide

 

 

Cults / occult

 

 

Drugs

 

 

Christian schools

 

 

Etc.

 

 

III. GOD'S VISION FOR US AS A CHURCH

KNOW

BE

DO

The origin, nature and structure of church

Biblically based and structured

Think

The offices of the church

Christ-centered

Read the Bible

The responsibility of members

Charismatic

Join the church

Body life concept

Joyful

Minister to others through your gifts

Worship

Dynamic

Seek the purity of life and doctrine

Social action

Stable

Avoid causing divisions

Discipleship programs

Balanced in form and freedom

Learn to cooperate with others

Missions

Evangelistic

Submit to the elders

House churches

Involved in ministering to other churches

Aspire to leadership

Political action

Friendly

Etc.

Church goals

Etc.

 

Financial freedom

 

 

Etc.

 

 

IV. GOD'S VISION FOR US AS A NATION

KNOW

BE

DO

The origin, nature, functions and authority of the state

Free

Think

The right use of force

Righteous

Read the Bible

The just war theory

Just

Understand the issues

How to overcome tyranny

Faithful

Vote intelligently

Taxes

Aggressive

Get involved

Church / state issues

Compassionate

Speak out and protest

Social action

Lawful

Be Christian first and American second

Justice and the poor

Constitutional

Run for office

Communism / socialism

Capitalistic

Etc.

God's civil law

Etc.

 

The origin of the free enterprise system and democracy

 

 

Etc.

 

 

 

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.

 

Conclusion
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

 

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