Lord as an Apologist
Job 9:3 -
If he will contend with him, he cannot answer him one of a thousand.
Apologetics is a field wherein a person is ready to answer questions put by people with regards to Bible scriptures or Christian belief. The term Apologist comes from the Greek word 'apologia' which means 'answer' and most people root Apologetics to the scripture 1 Peter 3:15. But the whole Bible right from the oldest book (Job) right unto Revelation shows the Lord as an Apologist who debates with the worldly man.
My journey into Apologetics started without my knowledge when I did not know what that word meant. I thought it was something to do with being an Apostle. It was like the Lord directly pushed me into the deep ocean, in shark infested waters to teach me swimming.
My first encounter was when I was yet a Catholic, not even baptized in the Holy Spirit and was ignorant of scriptures but would pay good attention to the Gospel reading during Mass. This incident happened was about 20years back when I was trying my hand at real estate and the Jehovah's Witness group approached me for a large land in outskirts of Mumbai to start a press (which is their lifeline) and community center. I was in a friend's house whose mother was a member of this group which is not a Christian group. I was surrounded by at least 9 to 10 Jehovah's Witnesses and that too among them were their senior most members who had come from Australia and other countries. They tried their best to grill me and convert me but even with the 2 cents I knew of the Bible I fought tooth and nail against them. After about 4 hours they gave up on me. At that time it was all about defending with not about attacking since I was ignorant not only about my belief but also of their belief.
The second time it was a better situation where I was well rooted in my understanding of scriptures and went to a Brethren's place to debate with some members from Church of Mount Zion, they believe in mother Jerusalem (their Jerusalem was a town in south India) and in mother god (similar to World Mission Society Church of God). At this time too I did not know much about Apologetics but I was in a better position than before because I knew my belief and was strong in my understanding of Scriptures. They were about 6 persons and I had taken a sister alone this time to accompany me for the debate.
When we started I let them ask questions and they spoke for about 15mins after that I started answering them and being led by the Lord unknowingly I took them through all their corrupt beliefs in the light of scriptures. I spoke for about 6hrs and they were just dumbstruck, none of us had any idea how the time passed and it was also 3 hours pass our lunch time for none had eaten. I came to know later after some days, 5 of that team had left that cult leaving for one person.
The third time was just some weeks back a brother who is a well-known Apologist messaged me in the middle of the night to accompany him to a Muslim debate in the morning. When I read it I was so happy that he considered me for the debate, later I came to know all others had ditched him and only when we landed at the venue and met the person whom we were to debate did I know why they did that.
Our landing there was not just simple, we were told to meet at a venue and when we reached there after some time we were given a call and asked to walk to another venue which was at some distance from that place. Even when we reached there we had to wait, before some young boys approached us. Later we realized these people were watching us from a distance for long before they approached us. When we asked them the venue they claimed ignorance of the address and told us to sit in a car and would drive us there (not knowing the address themselves!). Even then we sat and one was always on the phone talking to some people and taking updates. We did ask more than once about the venue and they again and again showed ignorance of the address. They stopped at one place and waited for a call before taking us further.
At the venue we met the person with whom we were to debate, he was the head of the research unit the largest Muslim apologetic group in India and known worldwide. He had split ways with the group and was now setting up his own group. He had called his disciples to that debate to strengthen his position. Soon the place was filled to maximum capacity with no leg room but he could not fit much people for the place was very small.
When I had landed there and came to know about him I was quite shaken for I thought he would really grill or toast us, my only confidence was with my brother in Christ who was experienced, trusting he would take care. But when we started I realized this wise man (doctor by profession) was a great fool. It took time for the debate to really take off because the difficulty was in coming to his level to communicate with him. Even though I was not experienced in debating, I wanted to take on this man myself.
I shared these 3 experiences for in each case my position was different, in the first I was totally ignorant including my own belief, in the second even though I was knowing my belief I was ignorant of the opponents belief and in the third I was not only aware of my belief but had a good knowledge of the opponent's belief so as to confront him.
In today's message we see Job says when we question God, we except an answer from Him but if He questions us a thousand questions, we would not be in a position to answer even His one question.
In today's message the Lord is not telling us to prepare to debate Him, but is telling us if we are His witness and represent Him in this world then are we prepared to confront the teachings of this world and defend the understanding of the Kingdom of God?
We are not called to do a PhD in other religions but are called to have basic knowledge (be aware) of their belief systems so that we are able to cross question them, while we answer their questions.
Jesus was very outreaching to the regular Jews but with the religious Jewish leaders which included the Pharisees and Sadducees His approach was different and we learn a lot about Apologetics from Him.
[ Prayer Starter ]
Lord, we pray this message ministers to the hearts of many that they take up Apologetics seriously and prepare themselves to be defenders of the Truth. This world is filled with corrupt teachings and is spreading in leaps and bounds since it lacks people who can confront lies with the Truth. Lord we pray for more and more of your Spirit on these people, Lord fill them with wisdom of your Kingdom...
This prayer we make in Jesus' Name, Amen.
[ Reference ]
1 Peter 3:15-16
15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,
36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,
42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David.
Mark 12:34 - And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.
Mark 11:29 - And Jesus answered and said unto them, I will also ask of you one question, and answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things.
Matthew 16:6 - Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware (be aware) of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
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