Have you ever felt ill-equipped when discussing your Christian faith with a skeptic, atheist or follower of another religion? Do you spend time actually studying why you believe what you believe, or do you settle for taking someone else’s word for it? While Christianity is absolutely a walk of faith, being a Christian does not require you to check your brain at the door. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. In 1 Peter 3:14-15 (ESV), the Bible says,“Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…” [emphasis added]. There are many encouragements like this in scripture; for Christians to learn, study and be prepared to explain their faith to others and to defend it when it is challenged. The branch of theology devoted to the study of the absolute truth and authority of Christianity is called “apologetics.” If that sounds complicated and confusing to you, thankfully there are Christian scholars who have already done the “heavy lifting” of reading and research, and have repackaged the information in a way that is relevant and easy to understand. The following are just a few of the helpful resources out there that you can use not only to strengthen your own faith, but to also be prepared to share Christ with others in a clear and compelling way.
The Berean Call
In Acts 17:11, the Bible says, “[The Bereans]…searched the scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth.” The Bereans were a group of Christians in the early church who didn’t just take their teachers at their word, but who actually dug into the Bible themselves to see if what they were being taught lined up with the truth of scripture. Sadly, many Christians today are unwilling to do this type of study for themselves and therefore end up misled, hurt and confused by false or incomplete Bible teaching. The Berean Call (TBC) exists to equip Christians to learn and adhere to sound doctrine and truth, and to identify erroneous Bible belief and teaching. Based out of Oregon, TBC’s ministry includes a website with a virtual treasure-trove of information, email newsletters, books, CD and DVD resources, and even an annual conference devoted to apologetics and sound biblical teaching. Particularly geared towards maintaining sound doctrine within the evangelical Christian church, TBC is a fantastic resource for those seeking to ensure that their own beliefs and/or the teachings of their church actually line up with the Bible.
Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry
If you’ve ever found yourself struggling to remember the difference between a Jehovah’s Witness and a Mormon, or stumbling to articulate the truths of Christianity in comparison to any other world religion, then the Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry (CARM) is your go-to resource. With a strong focus on identifying and communicating the errors found in false religions such is Islam, Buddhism, Wicca, Universalism, etc., CARM provides web-based training courses, a radio ministry, online discussion forums, and a valuable website; all geared towards equipping Christians to minister effectively to those who adhere to other faiths. CARM will also take email questions about virtually any world religions topic, and then post solid, Bible-based answers on their website as a resource for others to use.
Ravi Zacharias International Ministries
If you’ve ever heard the word “apologetics” before, there’s a high likelihood that you heard the name Ravi Zacharias mentioned at some point in the conversation. Regarded by many as the premier worldwide Christian apologetics organization, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) is an intellectual powerhouse of the Christian faith. Confronting the teachings of atheists, agnostics and secular humanists (such as outspoken evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins) head-on, RZIM’s mission is to “reach and challenge those who shape the ideas of a culture with the credibility of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” While RZIM has phenomenal online resources, as well as ministry initiatives around the globe, South Florida has the unique opportunity to access RZIM live and in-person through the Ravi Zacharias School of Apologetics (RZSA) at Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale. RSZA offers affordable, college-style evening courses that give students a wealth of apologetic knowledge; preparing them for the toughest of spiritual discussions. If you’re ministering to a skeptic who doubts the very existence of God, RZIM’s resources will provide you with the information you need to share Christianity from a rational and intellectual, yet loving and graceful, stance.
Know what you believe and why you believe it. Whatever path you choose to take to get educated, investing the time necessary to do so will only serve to bolster your own convictions, as well as sharpen you into a tool that God can use to reveal His truth to even the hardest of hearts.
Registration is open now for the fall semester of the Ravi Zacharias School of Apologetics at Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale. Find more information online at RZSA.org
Have you embarked on your own personal study of Apologetics? Have you used any of the resources mentioned in this article? Email us at Nicole@goodnewsfl.org