Weekly Bulletin Articles
Most of us have likely heard one or more of the following statements: “I don’t believe in arguing the Bible;” “The truth doesn’t need defending;” “Debating is unchristian.” The devil couldn’t be more pleased with such statements —they contradict God and the Bible! Contrary to such thinking, Christians are obligated to think logically, to reason soundly, and to use logic and reasoning in defending the faith (Jude 3).
Paul states, “Prove all things; hold fast to that which is good” (1 Thess. 5:21). To prove is to try, discern (Phil. 1:10), examine (Gal. 6:4), and put to the test (1 Cor. 11:28). The conclusion being that Christians are to prove, try and test what is heard regardless who the speaker might be. The Bereans were of this disposition, “searching the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11). For this reason, “they were more noble than those in Thessalonica.”
Those who mix truth and error are consistently before us and we must ever be on guard. Subsequently, we must not only be studious, but questioning and testing what is said. Jesus warned, “Take heed what ye hear” (Mark 4:24). Our testing equipment in testing what we hear is the Bible. It is our measuring rod, our “yardstick” to determine correctness.
Peter exhorts, “sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer...” (1 Peter 3:15). The Greek word translated “give an answer” is a legal term used in court wherein the attorney talks his client off a charge levied against him [Wuest’s Word Studies, First Peter, p.89]. Since the Bible has no verbal defense except its believers, persons of faith must be its defenders. Therefore, Peter enjoins upon Christians the obligation to defend the faith in a verbal way —“give an answer.” The only restriction given is that it must be done with an attitude of “meekness” and “fear” in trusting God and His word rather than self.
God called upon Israel to “reason” (Isa. 1:18) and so Elijah debated the false prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:21). Religion needs to be constantly tested and tried as to its quality. In the cases of God and Israel, and Elijah and the false prophets of Baal, the genuineness of the two religions was tested and that which was not of God was shown to be vain and wanting.
One’s “Christianity” stands in its right to exist as the religion from God when it can be substantiated in faith and practice in light of Scripture. Children and servants of God are: 1) To not believe every speaker (1 John 4:1); 2) Not to succumb to a perverted Gospel (Gal. 1:6-9); 3) Beware of those who go onward and abide not in the Doctrine/Gospel of Christ (2 John 9- 11); 4) Mark them that cause divisions and occasions contrary to the doctrine of Christ (Rom. 16:17-18); 5) Contend (go to battle) for the faith once delivered (Jude 3); 6) Reason out of the Scriptures as Paul did at Athens and Ephesus (Acts 17:17; 19:8); 7) Expound more accurately to others the way of God as did Aquila and Priscilla (Acts 18:26); and 8) like Paul, be “set for the defense of the Gospel” (Phil. 1:17).
Valid and sound argument is not wrangling or contentious dispute, but is the method of giving proof and evidence. By reasoning truth, we confirm Jesus to be the Christ, the Son of God; the New Testament plan of salvation and worship; church polity, etc. We are confident in what we believe and practice because we have Scripture to witness to our intellectual hearts in the matter. Consequently, such confidence allows us to teach and preach with all boldness (Acts 4:29).