Apologists, Please Don’t Forget The Gospel

By Michael Sherrard

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. —ROMANS 1:16

As an apologist, let me encourage you to trust in the power of the gospel. Do not be ashamed to freely speak about the goodness of God’s mercy and kindness. I have said before that most people reject God because of emotional and volitional issues. Intellect merely hides these issues. Though we talk about evidence and logic and arguments, apologists must remember that the reason many people will not submit to God is their heart. But the loving-kindness of God’s grace can soften a hardened heart and will draw many to Him.

All people recognize two things: there is a God, and they have broken a standard of morality for which they should be judged (Rom. 1:18–2:16). All people struggle with guilt, and guilt is a powerful force that causes many people to run from God rather than to Him. Guilt often manifests itself in pride and the attempt to either rationalize sin or personally atone for it. Guilt sometimes results in depression, feelings of inadequacy, and the belief that no one should love them. Whatever it looks like, guilt is an obstacle to repentance.

But God is greater than our sin. His love is more powerful than our guilt. And His kindness will draw many to repentance. Don’t place your hope in logic, history, science, and argumentation. Trust in the beauty of the gospel and God’s mercy. Do not be ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God for salvation (Rom. 1:16). Share it as often as you can.

The most overlooked part of apologetics is the gospel. Apologists tend never to get that far in conversations with nonbelievers. We sometimes think that people won’t believe in the foolishness of the cross. So we resort to talking only about that which seems reasonable. But do not shy away from preaching what this world will consider foolish. Remember that apologetics is a servant of the gospel, and sometimes the servant just needs to get out of the master’s way.

Apologists, share the gospel with others and tell them how God’s grace has transformed you. You can offer the hope of a changed life. Tell your story. Explain what it’s like to be forgiven. Talk about your anticipation of heaven. And joyfully speak about the peace of God that now fills your life.

Invite skeptics to meet God and enjoy all that comes from life in Christ. Feel the freedom to tell them you know Him, that you’ve experienced Him, and they can too. There is value in your experience and personal knowledge of God. Talk about it. Some people say that you cannot argue with a changed life, but you can; I argue with the good and changed Mormons all the time. But there is value in your conversion, in the reality that God can be known and experienced. So tell people your story and invite them to enter into one for themselves.

 


Michael C. Sherrard is a pastor, author of Relational Apologetics, and the Director of Ratio Christi College Prep. RCCP is an organization that seeks to equip the church for effective evangelism by teaching high school students apologetics, fundamental Christian doctrine, and biblical evangelism.

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8 replies
  1. bob says:

    All people recognize two things: there is a God, and they have broken a standard of morality for which they should be judged (Rom. 1:18–2:16).
    So much for “apologetics”…

    Reply
    • Daryn Stockwell says:

      No the Good news is the Kingdom of God and Yeshua was the messenger. Acts 19:8 establishes which gospel he preached: “And he went into the synagogue, and spoke boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.” In many of his epistles, he taught the kingdom to Gentile congregations. His message was always the same. He continually preached, taught and referred to the kingdom of God.
      “I marvel that you are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that you have received, let him be accursed” (Gal 1:6-9).
      Paul states in Acts 20:25, 21,
      “I have gone preaching the kingdom of God…repentance toward God, AND faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” He preached the same gospel to both Jew and Gentile.
      Acts 3 Verse 21 describes God’s kingdom as the “restitution of all things.” Peter stated that this “restitution” (Christ establishing His kingdom) is something “God has spoken by the mouth of all His Holy Prophets since the world began.”

      Acts 28:30-31: “And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, preaching the kingdom of God, AND teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ.”
      First, Acts 19:8 establishes which gospel he preached: “And he went into the synagogue, and spoke boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.” In many of his epistles, he taught the kingdom to Gentile congregations. His message was always the same. He continually preached, taught and referred to the kingdom of God.
      Mark 1:1 refers to this message, when it states, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” The gospel of Jesus Christ was about the KINGDOM OF GOD—not something else! One must believe that gospel—not a humanly-devised counterfeit or substitute.
      The “truth of the gospel might continue with you” (Gal 2:5). So there is one true gospel—with all others false!

      Reply
  2. Brent Hurst says:

    Dear Mr, Sherrard,
    .
    The Gospel, the good news, grace, you have spoken of none of these. I so wished you would have spoken of how God called you even when you were dead, deaf, and blind, poured His Spirit upon you so as to open your ears to hear what others could not, touched your eyes to see what others are blind to by nature.
    .
    But all I see is you boasting about how righteous you are, so unashamed and obedient, and how those who are not Christians such as you DESERVE their destruction.
    .
    “””””Guilt often manifests itself in pride and the attempt to either rationalize sin or personally atone for it.”””””
    .
    And so as they experience the guilt for their sin they turn to pride, while you turned to humility, they rationalize, while you supposedly acknowledged your guilt. Yes, it is obvious you think yourself better qualified for salvation.
    .
    The Good News is that while we were yet sinner, while we were blind, while we were deaf, and while we were DEAD, God called us, breathing His Spirit into us so that we might see and hear, having been awoken by God’s grace. But you have stolen His grace to buffer your own self righteousness, choosing for yourself to become God’s servant, unashamed of His word.
    .
    Meanwhile those who suffer in their blindness and deadness, your have laid upon them even more guilt because they could not see when they were born blind, and they could not hear when they were born deaf. You have made it clear it is THEIR FAULT that they are lost, even though they were born dead to the Spirit and God has not called them to life by breathing upon them.
    .
    Even Jesus came only for those whom the Father had provided for them, to the rest He spoke in parables so that in hearing they would not hear, not because they were LESS obedient than you, but because they simply were not called to life.
    .
    I have no doubt you are a good apologist for Christianity, but the repetition of the statement “I am not ashamed” is simply a promotion of your own glory and self righteousness. And here is the blasphemy, the vanity of the Holy Spirit, when you have traded His Spirit, that which He has breathed into us to impregnate us with Spiritual LIFE, vision, and hearing,
    .
    and replaced it with your own righteousness as if there was anything good within us that would choose God to begin with. The Grace of God is that He has called a remnant, a chosen few for Himself, breathed His Spirit into them, opened their eyes and ears, and made them Children through His Spirit that became available through Christ and His death. Your God demands blood, and you have sold Christ to death so you might escape punishment.
    .
    My God demands Life and Holiness, so much so that He had to breath His own into me through His Spirit so that I might become alive in the Spirit, and thus be even capable of true repentance.
    .
    You have your choice, your free will, and a legal arrangement wherein God supposedly dumbed down His requirements so you might think you could choose your way into salvation.
    .
    I have the Spirit, God’s Spirit, which He breathed into the deadness of my natural being, His true grace as He has raised me from the dead into true Life by His Spirit, not of myself lest any man should boast of his own ability for it is not by might (actions), nor by power (of the will) but by HIS Spirit. And so I boast of what God has done and nothing I have done, His grace in that I DESERVED nothing.

    Reply
    • Daryn Stockwell says:

      Acts 19:8 establishes which gospel he preached: “And he went into the synagogue, and spoke boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.” In many of his epistles, he taught the kingdom to Gentile congregations. His message was always the same. He continually preached, taught and referred to the kingdom of God.
      “I marvel that you are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that you have received, let him be accursed” (Gal 1:6-9).
      Paul states in Acts 20:25, 21,
      “I have gone preaching the kingdom of God…repentance toward God, AND faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” He preached the same gospel to both Jew and Gentile.
      Acts 3 Verse 21 describes God’s kingdom as the “restitution of all things.” Peter stated that this “restitution” (Christ establishing His kingdom) is something “God has spoken by the mouth of all His Holy Prophets since the world began.”

      Acts 28:30-31: “And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, preaching the kingdom of God, AND teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ.”
      First, Acts 19:8 establishes which gospel he preached: “And he went into the synagogue, and spoke boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.” In many of his epistles, he taught the kingdom to Gentile congregations. His message was always the same. He continually preached, taught and referred to the kingdom of God.
      Mark 1:1 refers to this message, when it states, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” The gospel of Jesus Christ was about the KINGDOM OF GOD—not something else! One must believe that gospel—not a humanly-devised counterfeit or substitute.
      The “truth of the gospel might continue with you” (Gal 2:5). So there is one true gospel—with all others false!

      Reply
      • Brent Hurst says:

        Dear Daryn,
        .
        I’m trying to decide if you are seeking political office or just doing your best imitation of a parrot.
        .
        But at least you are consistently redundant

        Reply
        • Susan Tan says:

          Don’t be so hard on Daryn. He is only taking His God given spiritual mind for a spin.

          The Bible says it gives spiritual minds to people. That is a form of evidence. The spiritual mind in turn leads to action.

          The strange thing is atheist block their own spiritual development in favor of their natural mind and natural explanations.

          You have to obey God and be able to follow God’s directives to be able to prove God to yourself but atheists don’t because they are too busy validating their own natural minds.

          Validating our natural minds only keeps us spiritually blind unable to see God’s perspective.

          If you are spiritually blind then you cannot know unless Someone reveals Himself so the so-called blind evidence chase ensues.

          It is much easier to just acknowledge you are not greater than God and sit at His feet in the scriptures and learn than argue other people’s natural ideas.

          If you are spiritually blind and refuse to listen to God
          how can you make valid judgments about spiritual things.

          These are two different planes of existence.

          So why do we argue with atheists at all.

          It just gives them the false impression their false natural substitutions are valid.

          The Spirit of God says,

          “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Cor. 2:14

          Apologetics lets atheists run deeper and deeper into their natural minds all the time knowing God is the Revealer of Truth and He gave His Word to reveal Himself but some people are determined to refuse His Self-Revelation and you don’t humor the perverse minded by playing mind games with them.

          They need to stop their foolish error and learn to seek God for themselves.

          You can’t substitute the natural for the spiritual any more than you can substitute an apple’s nature for an orange and claim they are equal in nature. They are not.

          So I am working on my spiritual understanding with God so I can become a truly spiritual person like Jesus not out learning the world’s false substitutions to self sabotage my spiritual development like a lot of worldly people do.

          You can be in a state of arrested spiritual development if you are not obedient enough to God because sin still makes people prone to all kind of evil thinking. Evil means missing God’s mark.

          Why would someone intentionally miss God’s standard?

          But they do and I refuse to learn to naturally sabotage myself or genuflect to their idol which is man’s reason.

          Man’s reason does not control all circumstances.

          Only God does so I want to be reasoning along with God not learning man made rationalizations for rebelling and ultimately sabotage my own spiritual growth.

          Reply
      • Susan says:

        Daryn for ease of reference you might want to write down this article name with all the cross cites for olam and aion showing the translation errors.

        Context does not control all interpretation. There is a unified integrity to scripture which means you can do a verse check against other verses throughout the Bible.

        Here is the article with the extensive cross cites to verify the words are misused in certain passages.

        This is why people check for themselves. Once they surrender their thinking abilities to others then doctrines can become changed or corrupted like Wycliffe, Luther, Cranmer, Tyndall, Foxe, Wesley discovered.

        Time Periods of Salvation by Reid and Martin
        http://www.askelm.com/doctrine/d041101.htm

        Reply

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