There are a number of ways that "Christians" debate with each other and people of opposing viewpoints. Ravi Zacharias debates people on the behalf of Christianity; especially Christianity versus other religions or atheism. Tonight, I chose to watch William Lane Craig debate on the historicity of the resurrection because it's close to Easter. It seemed like an appropriate time to watch that particular debate.
The guy that he was debating was actually a confessing Christian who does not believe in the literal bodily resurrection of Christ. He is an ordained clergyman. It was interesting to hear these two guys debate in a civil way and yet disagree rather sharply. I was thankful that there were nice to each other. I get uncomfortable hearing people who get angry and mad at each other.
William Lane Craig
I agreed with Dr. Craig. I believe in a bodily resurrection of Christ. The interesting thing I found about the other fellow's argument was that he never seemed to be able to explain what happened to turn the apostles around. Obviously something big happened to go from people like Peter who denied Christ to saying in Jerusalem that He was risen from the dead. He tried to make the resurrection a big event that was not a bodily resurrection. I have a hard time imagining a big enough event that would cause me to say that Jesus was resurrected and then be killed for saying that Jesus was resurrected if He was not. I just can't imagine something that would be big enough to cause me to do that, but it did for all the apostles except Judas Iscariot. He departed the scene a bit early to have a shot at any resurrection appearances.
When I was in college, I got interested in the study of apologetics. Apologetics is the study of defending the faith or giving reasons for what we believe. Some people see the word and think we are apologizing for something and that is not the meaning of the word apologetics. Far from it, apologetics is the act of defending your position by intelligent (hopefully) argument. I read several books by Josh McDowell who was a well known apologist in those days. The study of how to defend the faith was very helpful. When I occasionally talked with someone who was an atheist or someone who did not believe certain key elements of the Bible, my study did help me to explain things in a way that was understandable.
I also learned that loving people was a big part of sharing my faith. I saw Christians go after non-Christians with a viciousness and a condescending language that just turned people off. You can have a great argument but not many people are going to listen to you if you are not kind and loving.
Unhelpful ways of debating
I have also found that a strong personal testimony about how Christ has changed your life is a wonderful element in sharing our faith. Some people are interested in the intellectual reasoning. I think more are interested in what God has done in your life. It's easy to just tell your story. You don't have to memorize a bunch of things. If Jesus is really alive, He ought to make a difference. Praise God He has so don't be afraid to tell it.
This is holy week for believers. Sunday is resurrection day. It is a great time to invite people to church that you have not invited in a while. Many people will come to church on Easter that might not come at other times of the year.
Glad that a resurrected Jesus gives abundant life
1. Apologists who speak for Jesus
2. Hopewell licensing John McMath to the Gospel ministry tonight
3. News that our Uganda mission team has landed safe and is ministering in Uganda