A-1 - Encouraged by What You Read?

Are you prepared for apologetic engagement? In part 3 (of six) in this series, I’ll offer three practical suggestions to help prepare you for potentially life-changing interactions with nonbelievers. As noted in parts 1 and 2, the term Apologia Sophia (Gk: ἀπολογία σοφία) transliterates the Greek word endings and roughly translates to “apologetics wisdom.” These three points will help provide you with such wisdom, whether you’re a professional or lay Christian apologist.

1. Develop thinking, speaking, and writing skills.

Apologists need to think, speak, and write with clarity and cogency. The study of logic is the greatest way to develop superior critical thinking skills. Rhetoric (the study of speech and debate) can serve to sharpen your oratory abilities. Writing skills can be enhanced by mastering the basics of English grammar (for English speakers) and by seeking to develop an imaginative storytelling style. Apologists should not underestimate the critical importance of developing their thinking, speaking, and writing skills.

2. Learn to think worldviewishly.

The word “worldview” refers to the cluster of beliefs a person holds about the most significant concepts of life—such as God, the cosmos, knowledge, values, humanity, and history. A worldview is, therefore, one’s big-picture view of reality. You can improve worldview thinking by learning the basic philosophical categories of thought and how to evaluate worldview truth claims. An ability to compare and contrast what one worldview affirms with another will prove to be valuable.

3. Develop a specific area of apologetic specialization.

In addition to studying general Christian apologetics, you would do well to choose an area that is centrally involved in the apologetic enterprise, then develop a specialized understanding of the field. Such fields might include theology, philosophy, ethics, psychology, history, literature, religion, science, and mathematics. By developing a specialization, you will acquire relevant expertise for apologetic research and outreach.

The Book of Acts describes the apostle Paul’s apologetics practice:

As was his custom, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead. “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Messiah,” he said. Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and quite a few prominent women.

–Acts 17:2–4

If I were to start my training for a career in Christian apologetics all over again, I would rigorously pursue the three areas discussed above. The Lord by his grace uses our apologetics reasoning to draw people to faith in Christ. And God will honor your prudent preparation for such service.

Reflections: Your Turn

How has God used your preparation for his kingdom-building purposes? Which of the three suggestions above do you deem most important? Why? Visit Reflections on WordPress to comment with your response.

Resources

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About The Author

Kenneth R. Samples

I believe deeply that "all truth is God’s truth." That historic affirmation means that when we discover and grasp truth in the world and in life we move closer to its divine Author. This approach relies on the Christian idea of God’s two revelatory books - the metaphorical book of nature and the literal book of Scripture. As an RTB scholar I have a great passion to help people understand and see the truth and relevance of Christianity's truth-claims. My writings and lectures at RTB focus on showing how the great doctrinal truths of the faith (the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Atonement, creation ex nihilo, salvation by grace, etc.) are uniquely compatible with reason. This approach reflects the historic Christian apologetics statement - "faith seeking understanding." I work to help myself and others fulfill Peter's words in 2 Peter 3:18: "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen." As an RTB scholar I have a great passion to help people understand and see the truth and relevance of Christianity's truth-claims. • Biography • Resources • Upcoming Events • Promotional Items Kenneth Richard Samples began voraciously studying Christian philosophy and theology when his thirst for purpose found relief in the Bible. He earned his undergraduate degree in philosophy and social science from Concordia University and his MA in theological studies from Talbot School of Theology. For seven years, Kenneth worked as Senior Research Consultant and Correspondence Editor at the Christian Research Institute (CRI) and regularly cohosted the popular call-in radio program, The Bible Answer Man, with Dr. Walter Martin. As a youth, Kenneth wrestled with "unsettling feelings of meaninglessness and boredom," driving him to seek answers to life's big questions. An encounter with Christian philosophy in Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis led Kenneth to examine the New Testament and "finally believe that Jesus Christ is the divine Son of God, the Lord and Savior of the world." From then on, he pursued an intellectually satisfying faith. Today, as senior research scholar at Reasons to Believe (RTB), Kenneth uses what he's learned to help others find the answers to life's questions. He encourages believers to develop a logically defensible faith and challenges skeptics to engage Christianity at a philosophical level. He is the author of Without a Doubt and A World of Difference, and has contributed to numerous other books, including: Lights in the Sky and Little Green Men, The Cult of the Virgin, and Prophets of the Apocalypse. He has written articles for Christianity Today and The Christian Research Journal, and regularly participates in RTB's podcasts, including Straight Thinking, a podcast dedicated to encouraging Christians to utilize sound reasoning in their apologetics. He also writes for the ministry's daily blog, Today’s New Reason to Believe. An avid speaker and debater, Kenneth has appeared on numerous radio programs such as Voice America Radio, Newsmakers, The Frank Pastore Show, Stand to Reason, White Horse Inn, Talk New York, and Issues Etc., as well as participated in debates and dialogues on topics relating to Christian doctrine and apologetics. He currently lectures for the Master of Arts program in Christian Apologetics at Biola University. Kenneth also teaches adult classes at Christ Reformed Church in Southern California. Over the years Kenneth has held memberships in the American Philosophical Association, the Evangelical Philosophical Society, the Evangelical Theological Society, and the Evangelical Press Association. The son of a decorated World War II veteran, Kenneth is an enthusiastic student of American history, particularly the Civil War and WWII. His favorite Christian thinkers include Athanasius, Augustine, Pascal, and C. S. Lewis. He greatly enjoys the music of the Beatles and is a die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan. Kenneth lives in Southern California with his wife, Joan, and their three children.

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