When I first began to speak to people with a different view of salvation, like Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses, I was astonished to find that they proved their doctrines out of my own Bible. This sent me back to scripture time and time again to discover the truth – the truth about Christianity, and the truth about the way the cults were twisting the scriptures to their own use.
I learned the difference between exegesis – discovering the meaning from the text, and eisegesis – taking your meaning to the text and choosing only what seems to support it, also known as proof-texting. If you dip into the Bible and take one verse out of context, you can ‘prove’ all sorts of things. Did you know it says in the Bible “There is no God” ? Read Psalms 14:1 for the full quote.
I also discovered a dearth of Christian apologetics – so many unthinking Christians! So many people who could not defend what they believe, and so many who believed all sorts of strange doctrines because they had not checked them out against God’s Word.
For example, Mormons teach that God has a physical body, and support it with many Bible verses where God is referred to in anthropomorphic terms – using human terms to try to help us relate to God. There are verses that speak of God’s arms, eyes, heart etc., so they reason that they must be taken literally and God must have a body. But following this line of reasoning, we find many verses that refer to God’s wings: Ruth 2:12; Psalms 17:8, 36:7, 57:1, 61:4, 63:7 and 91:4 which says “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge.” So on that basis, God must be a chicken!
But we also find Isaiah saying “those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles.” (Isa.40:31) So why don’t Christians all have wings? Even a child will tell you, it’s because it is picture language.
Christian apologetics is not saying sorry, it is a defence and explanation of Christian beliefs, from the word apologia, meaning a legal defence. It can sometimes get quite technical, going into an analysis of the original Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek in which the Bible was written. But it works on a simple level too, just explaining what Christians believe and why.
Can I strongly recommend that you resolve to spend more time in the Bible, getting to know God’s word and why you believe what you do? And why leave resolutions for the New Year? Start now! You will find my Thinking Thursday posts helpful, as you think through some of the issues, and I always welcome comments or questions.