Thursday, July 30, 2009

Stand, therefore.

Apologetics have always given me the hives. "...sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence" (1 Peter 3:15). Read the rest of 1 Peter, and you quickly understand that this "defense" (apologia) is not a debate in the arena of ideas and worldviews, but in the context of criminal trial! Jesus spoke of the same situation, and of the source of "defense" (apologia) for the believer on trial:
  • "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues; and you will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given to you in that hour what you are to say. For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father Who speaks in you" (Matthew 10:16-20).
  • "But be on your guard; for they will deliver you to the courts, and you will be flogged in the synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them. The gospel must first be preached to all the nations. When they arrest you and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but it is the Holy Spirit" (Mark 13:9-11).
  • "But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and will persecute you, delivering you to the synagogues and prisons, bringing you before kings and governors for My name's sake. It will lead to an opportunity for your testimony. So make up your minds not to prepare beforehand to defend yourselves; for I will give you utterance and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute" (Luke 21:12-15).

Father, Holy Spirit, Jesus. Our true "defense" (apologia) finds its source not in clever arguments, scientific/archaelogical/logical proof, appeals to "felt needs," or bullying polemics. The source of our "defense" (apologia) has nothing to do with us - it is entirely Trinitarian. What is our role? Making up our minds not to prepare a defense!

I fear most believers study apologetics to steel themselves against the onslaught of the hurricane that is opposition to the absolutely authoritative, divinely inspired, infallible Word of God. Apologetics is a security blanket as they huddle in the dark clutching a Bible they weakly hope is what the preacher said it was. This is not our sure foundation or the position of a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ!

"...our conviction of the truth of Scripture must be derived from a higher source than human conjectures, judgments, or reasons; namely, the secret testimony of the Spirit...those who are inwardly taught by the Holy Spirit acquiese implicitly in Scripture; that Scripture carrying its own evidence along with it, deigns not to submit to proofs and arguments, but owes the full conviction with which we ought to receive it to the testimony of the Spirit. Enlightened by him, we no longer believe, either on our own judgment or that of others, that the Scriptures are from God; but, in a way superior to human judgment, feel perfectly assured - as much so as if we beheld the divine image visably impressed on it - that it came to us, by the instrumentality of men, from the very mouth of God" (John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, I.7.4,5).

We (the Church of the living God) exist for this sole purpose, to be the "pillar and support of the truth" (1 Timothy 3:15). This is not a human-centered or human-empowered endeavor, since "it is the Spirit Who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth" (1 John 5:6). We are but vessels! "But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth, for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and truth" (John 4:23,24). This is who we are. It is not a method, program, or system. It is not man-made. It is not one of many options available to the inhabitants of this hurtling rock. It is absolute reality. We testify to it in the power of the Holy Spirit, and trust that He will open the minds and hearts of those who hear. Where is the glory in a person convinced by our pseudo-philosophical, weakly logical, satirically scientific, humanistic apologies?

To the outside of the gates of the world's way of debating, saints (you're speaking the language of Babylon)! Come out of the city of man with its equality of viewpoints, people! Be nailed to the cross and determine to know nothing but its reality splayed over the pages of the Bible and standing unmovingly over the days of human history.

No comments: