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Editorial Reviews. From the Author. It was such an honor and a blessing to have been asked to Is Your Church Ready?: Motivating . Who Made God?.
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- Is Your Church Ready?: Motivating Leaders to Live an Apologetic Life by Ravi Zacharias
- Living an Apologetic Life
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Your one stop blog for teaching information, author updates and a wealth of educational resources. Is Your Church Ready?: Book Overview Author Info and Events. About the Book A ministry resource for motivating all Christians to become thoughtful apologists of their faithAlthough apologetics is as crucial today as it has ever been, the classical model for defending the faith often seems irrelevant to the 21st century where people listen with their eyes and think with their emotions. Using personal examples and illustrations they address: This has helped me verify that, even without a formal study of apologetics, the method of my own personal study has been preparing me step-by-step toward a stronger and more defined understanding of why I believe what I believe.
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This understanding with thus allow me to better argue my beliefs or, at the very least, know how better prepared myself for coming arguments. In the same first chapter, Zaccharias continues to lay the groundwork for this book by sharing his Three Levels of Philosophy the same used in the average sermon which will help us argue biblically even with those who refuse to accept the authority of Scripture: From the very introduction of Chapter 3: Had he argued from this position of pastor-as-trainer in the beginning, I would not have so readily disagreed!
In Chapter 4, Peter Grant offers a goldmine of wisdom regarding pain and suffering, sharing 3 things we believers who suffer must remember: I am not simply to be ready to give answers to the unbelievers I meet and the men I disciple; I am also expected to do the same for my own children, which means that my leadership role never shuts off!
Can We Keep Them? Budziszewski also shares a very helpful list of twelve reasons college students or military lose their faith, offering as well some ways pastors, parents, and teachers can help prepare them for these. Because this book has more than I could share in this brief review, what with all the wonderful insights these various authors have to offer, I suggest that you get a copy of Is Your Church Ready?
Is Your Church Ready?: Motivating Leaders to Live an Apologetic Life by Ravi Zacharias
I well recall delivering a lecture at the Lenin Military Academy in Moscow some years ago. It was one of those experiences when halfway through my own talk I wondered why on earth I had accepted the invitation to speak. I was clearly an unwelcome guest in the minds of many of the officers compelled to sit in and listen.
One, in particular, kept giving me the choke sign.
Living an Apologetic Life
Trying to communicate my message through an interpreter with this constant intimidation was no easy task. But as soon as I finished, I realized the almost unpardonable blunder I had made. What do you mean by that term? How disconnected I had been from my audience. This was a roomful of atheists, and I had not taken the trouble to define my fundamental terms. We may shake our heads at this unfortunate oversight, but I have come to the conclusion that it is made behind our pulpits all over the world on a regular basis.
Even the term Christian in many parts of the world today is heard with immense prejudice.
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In the Middle East, for example, it is almost impossible for one to hear it without its historical baggage and distortion. The claims of Christ are repeatedly made in sermons, lectures, and testimonies, yet rarely do we explain what we mean when we say some of the most basic things. Many listeners have more of a perverted view of what it means to be a Christian than they do an authentic one.
Stereotypical answers no longer satisfy. Indeed, if the terms are parroted without understanding, the message is garbled and appears inauthentic. Let me make an important parenthetical statement here. One of the most fallacious ideas ever spawned in Western attitudes toward truth is the oft-repeated pronouncement that exclusionary claims to truth are a Western way of thinking.
The East, it is implied, accepts all religions as equally true. This is patently false. Every religion, without exception, has some foundational beliefs that are categorically nonnegotiable and exclude everything to the contrary. You see, truth by definition is exclusive. If truth were all-inclusive, nothing would be false. And if nothing were false, what would be the meaning of true? Furthermore, if nothing were false, would it be true to say that everything is false? It quickly becomes evident that nonsense would follow.
Buddhists forget or downplay the fact that Buddha was born a Hindu and rejected some of the fundamental precepts of Hinduism.
What, therefore, takes place in popular thought is a reflection of the way culture has been engineered to deal with truth issues. This is the nerve of the problem in communication. The first and foremost task of the apologist is to stand for the truth and to clarify the claims of the Gospel. Clarifying and defending the truth is the hard part of apologetics because this is foundational. Truth, very simply stated, boils down to two tests: Statements made must correspond to reality, and the system of thought that is developed as a result must be coherent.
The correspondence and coherence tests are applied by all of us in matters that affect us.
The question one may legitimately ask is whether he demonstrated that claim rather than just stating it without any reasonable defense. Hence it is very important when making truth claims before an audience to clarify them.
Is Your Church Ready?: Motivating Leaders to Live an Apologetic Life
This task is the first and most important step in apologetics. We can illustrate this process by using terminology from the field of electronics. If the subject is too vast for the pastor or leader to tackle, he or she must find resources or contacts that can help people wade through their questions. Pastors do not have to have expertise in every area, but they must be equipped to point people to resources that will provide answers for their questions.
Never before has so much written and videotaped material been available for helping people tackle the hard questions see the appendix at the end of this book.
Well-known exponents deal with issues that young minds grapple with, and in being aware of this material, church leaders demonstrate a cognizance of the issues. Second, leaders have a responsibility to remove obstacles in the path of listeners so that they can get a direct look at the cross and the person of Christ. I remember a time in the early years of my ministry when a young couple asked if they could spend a few minutes with me.
We sat down and began to talk, and their first question was about the existence of pain and suffering in this world. How could God be a loving God? As I was in the process of answering, I caught a glimpse of their baby sleeping in the pew behind them. I instantly noticed that the little one had been born with some very sad deformities. I then realized that the last thing they needed was an intellectually distant answer to their felt hurt.
There were obstacles to their belief in God that could not be set aside by an academic wave of the wand. To enable them to take a look at Jesus Christ without that barrier was the long, arduous task of response. Every proclamation necessitates anticipating barriers. And it is only when these barriers are removed by the message and the Holy Spirit brings conviction that the heart can cleave to the cross. Over the years I have witnessed repeatedly what the mature Christian already knows, namely, that ultimately the problems are not intellectual but moral. This knowledge, however, still necessitates a process by which the critic can be made aware of its truth.
Some years ago I was at one of the leading universities of the world. They had come ready to attack your lecture, but at the end when you opened it up for questions, they remained silent. So on our way back to the dorm, I asked them why they did not say anything during the time of questions.
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One of them said that your arguments were pretty tough to counter and held together quite well. I was surprised at their concession. There was silence, and then he added this: I began my lecture by saying that my task was to try to establish that, for most atheists, their atheism is based on a moral problem rather than an intellectual one.