In today’s world which attempts to undermine and throw away protocols, history, and learning from the past, words like “apologetics” and “theology” seem outmoded and outdated. What are they good for anyway?
Let’s look at the dictionary definitions.
Wow. I looked in the Cambridge dictionary. It doesn’t even list “apologetics” any more. Talk about throwing the past!
Here’s a definition of apologetics from the online Merriam-Webster dictionary.
Here is the defintion of theology from the same source.
So, what’s the point?
What we value and study individually spills over into the public life. Thoughts and beliefs set the tone for anything.
Let’s put it on a practical level.
In a classroom, if a teacher doesn’t make the idea pre-eminent that the objective of the class is to learn a subject in an orderly and disciplined manner, every child in the class will lose out. Because no one can learn in a disordered environment.
And if we do not learn about the things of God in an orderly manner, we will lose out in our lives. Godly, Jesus-Christ-centered…God the Father…God the Son…God the Holy Spirit…churches exist to bring the things of God in a structured manner into our lives.
There is a saying that “ignorance is bliss”.
That is totally contrary to the Word of God, which states, “My people are destroyed through lack of knowledge.”
People need to go to churches on a regular basis.
Hebrews 10:25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as the custom of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
Whatever church you go to, you should tithe to that church. You miss out on a huge blessing by not tithing and then you wonder why your life is not working.
Malachi 3:7 From the days of your fathers you have turned away from my ordinances, and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says Yahweh of Armies. “But you say, ‘How shall we return?’ 8 Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In tithes and offerings. 9 You are cursed with the curse; for you rob me, even this whole nation. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and test me now in this,” says Yahweh of Armies, “if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there will not be room enough for. 11 I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast its fruit before its time in the field,” says Yahweh of Armies. 12 “All nations shall call you blessed, for you will be a delightful land,” says Yahweh of Armies.
Even if you are in a position where you go to an online version of church, you should still tithe to that church. A physical, on-the-ground church is better so that you can fellowship with other believers and take part in other things offered, such as group prayer meetings or Bible studies or other events. Plus, you can serve at the church. There is a blessing in service. You miss out on a lot with an online church.
Exposing yourself to church will help take the blinders off your mind and heart. And if you don’t understand about Jesus Christ, there is a spiritual force that is blinding your mind.
2 Corinthians 4:4 in whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that the light of the Good News of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not dawn on them.
The Apostle Paul prayed this prayer for a spirit of wisdom and revelation.
Ephesians 1:15 For this cause I also, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which is among you, and the love which you have toward all the saints, 16 don’t cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of his calling, and what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to that working of the strength of his might 20 which he worked in Christ, when he raised him from the dead and made him to sit at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule, authority, power, dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in that which is to come. 22 He put all things in subjection under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things for the assembly, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
The prayer starts with “for this cause”. For what cause? Let’s go back up the chapter.
Ephesians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus, and the faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and without defect before him in love, 5 having predestined us for adoption as children through Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his desire, 6 to the praise of the glory of his grace, by which he freely gave us favor in the Beloved, 7 in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he purposed in him 10 to an administration of the fullness of the times, to sum up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth, in him. 11 We were also assigned an inheritance in him, having been foreordained according to the purpose of him who does all things after the counsel of his will, 12 to the end that we should be to the praise of his glory, we who had before hoped in Christ. 13 In him you also, having heard the word of the truth, the Good News of your salvation—in whom, having also believed, you were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a pledge of our inheritance, to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of his glory.
In other words, the Apostle Paul had just given a summary of what Jesus has done. It might be called a theological or apologetic summary. He is writing to a church, to believers. He’s summarizing some things, among which are “the adoption of children”, “the glory of his grace”, “redemption through his blood”, “forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace”, and more, you can read through the passage yourself.
But even to these believers, Paul is praying, “for this cause”, Paul is praying, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him, .
In other words, Paul felt they still didn’t understand fully, they still didn’t “get it”, as we would say today.
He is praying, to put it in terms we use today, that they “get it”, that the “lightbulb goes on”, that they “figure it out”, that it “makes sense”, that they “understand”. But this is not mere mental understanding, it is understanding with the heart.
The above prayer is a good prayer to pray today, for yourself or others.
Understanding the things of God, in a formal sense, is called theology or apologetics or revelation, and is very important. Without it we cannot relate rightly to God, or to God’s universe. Then, because we don’t relate rightly to God and to his kingdom, we end up in trouble and wonder why we have problems and what to do about them.
All this is covered in God’s Word and it keeps getting covered week after week in various sermons given in various churches. It is an ongoing learning.
We think the things of God are mysterious. But in one sense, they are really quite simple. It’s a matter of learning, believing, obeying.
For example, if you have a car that takes unleaded gas, you don’t put in diesel fuel. If your truck takes diesel fuel, you don’t put in unleaded gas. You understand there are rules and you abide by them.
The same goes for cooking. You cook certain foods, such as fish and fowl, at a high heat to kill any destructive pathogens. You learn the rules of cooking.
You don’t plant a garden in the middle of winter. It won’t work. You learn the rules of gardening.
But when it comes to the things of God, there is a thought that a person can do things in any manner that they feel like, in a lawless way, and if it doesn’t work out, just throw up a prayer to Go and God will mop up the mess. God may be merciful and help, but there are laws of sowing and reaping consequences, and sometimes there is a time of reaping of the consequences of disobedience. That suffering of the consequences can be the catalyst for someone to decide to turn to God, repent, and obey.
There are absolutely laws and principles that operate and if we don’t bother,don’t care, are slothful, or don’t believe that there are, then we are the ones who suffer for our ignorance and disobedience.
Yes, understanding theology and apologetics and revelation knowledge matters.
After publishing this, I received an email which happened to be on the topic of apologetics and since it is timely to the topic, Dr. D. James Kennedy’s book, Skeptics Answered; here is a link to their site.
Ravi Zacharias was very effective with college students and it sounds like a “Judge Kavanaugh hearing” attack has been placed on him. Link
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