"By Whose Standard?" - Answering Common Objections to the Faith
“In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” (2 Peter 3:15)
I know that I’ve changed over the years, and Lord willing, hopefully that has been towards being more scriptural. I had been taught many things as a young man that I often accepted wholesale, but it took time, wisdom and discernment in God’s Word to navigate through that and see the World through biblical framework. Though it seems that more of the younger generations have become less reliant on logic and more on emotive, experiential reasoning, that doesn’t mean that Christ followers should be any less persuasive in logical argumentation.
My wife and I have had many late evening discussions on arguments we hear out in the world, many coming from those who profess to be Christian, yet seem to lack a biblical worldview. It is out of one of these many discussions that I write this. Let me begin with an overarching principle: “By Whose Standard?” Presuppositional Apologetics (which I believe Jesus Himself used on a number of occasions) recognizes that everyone comes to an argument with a certain set of “presuppositions”, biases or lenses, by which they view it. They will be coming to the issue from a certain indoctrination, teaching, set of experiences, or mindset, and it may or may not align with God’s Revelation or His Design. The goal for a Christ-follower seeking to honor God is to realign one’s world view based upon what He has revealed.
I don’t have all the answers, but I will attempt to answer some common objections I’ve heard recently, and hopefully this is done with a loving spirit. From one “pastor”: “Christ’s greatest command wasn’t ‘convert your neighbor’, it was to ‘love your neighbor’”. He goes on to say, “We’ve deeply misunderstood the love of Jesus”. Presupposition: It would be “unloving” to warn your neighbor of hell. Principle: “By Whose Standard?” Who is informing this worldview? Is he being led by the values of this world, and which ones? Is he afraid of “offending” or being seen as “judgmental”? Why would a Christian see warning a neighbor about hell as unloving, if Jesus, his Master did so many times? True, it is possible to speak on hell in an unloving, vindictive way, but that usually comes from removing ourselves too far from the occasion! If we are to believe the Bible as God’s Word, “man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,” (Hebrews 9:27), then it would be the most loving thing to remind, even warn others of the judgment to come, especially if there is a way out! (Hint: read the next verse!)
Another “pastor” writes, “I just think it’s odd to consider everyone a potential convert. It makes friendship seem unreal.” Presupposition: Faithful, consistent witnessing involves lowering your estimation of a person from “friend” to “convert”. Presupposition #2: They can’t be both a friend and a “convert”. Principle: “By Whose Standard”? As a follower of Christ, if I truly believed that He saved me, therefore I live for Him, then it would be the MOST loving act to introduce someone to the One I love the most: “Have you met my Lord, Savior, and friend, Christ Jesus?” In fact, I don’t know how someone can be befriended by a true Christian without it coming out at some point. “I would loving hanging out with you, but I have this church event where we worship and learn more about Jesus in His Word. Would you like to come with me sometime and see why Jesus means so much to me?”
On marriages as defined by the world: “I don’t personally like it, but I don’t think we should tell other people who they should and shouldn’t marry.” Presupposition: There is no clear definition or design as to what marriage is. Presupposition #2: It is unloving to guide someone back towards God’s design. Presupposition #3 (see last paragraph): Niceness and the avoiding the risk of offending people is a higher value than loving them biblically. Principle: By Whose Standard? Here’s what God has revealed, "Haven’t you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." (Matthew 19:4-6) “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral” (Hebrews 13:4)
What does this tell you about marriage, and sexual boundaries? Which is better or even safer, to operate by the perceived standards of sinful society, or live by the One who wrote the manual?
If I am a true Believer IN Christ, then wouldn’t I want my life defined by His revelation? Do I not believe that the further we drift from His Word, the worse of we and our world would be? Should I not fight to preserve God’s Standard in the spheres of society God has placed me?
One final thought, and I get back to the topic of the last couple of newsletters: The world is corrupted, and people are in sin NOT because most have simply not understood or seen the Truth. (I used to think that, until I was informed by God’s Word, say 1 Corinthians 1 & 2?) They are in rebellion because they prefer going their own way! So all this must be accompanied with Prayer, and people must be moved by the Spirit of God. May this guide the way you interact with those who desperately need to know Him!