Why do I need to be prepared to answer skeptics?
It’s a question some Christians ask themselves, but not nearly often enough. What’s the big deal? Why should I personally be prepared to answer challenges to my faith? I mean, how often does it actually come up?
In 2009 two Jehovah’s Witnesses came to my door. They were kind, dedicated and well prepared. I stood there, dumbfounded. I knew that I knew Jesus. I knew I had the truth. I also knew that I had no thoughtful responses for their prepared statements about Jesus and the Bible (I’n my own defense, I had only been a believer for less than two years). I made a commitment that very day, to never be caught flat footed again when I had to answer a skeptic. I determined to know the reasons that we can have for our faith in our God and savior, Jesus Christ.
I submit to you there are a number of reasons that we must be prepared to answer skeptics.
1) We have been given this order to do so in the scriptures. The classic verse that orders us to have an answer comes from 2 Peter 3:15. This is an ORDER not a suggestion for God the Holy Spirit. The same spirit that turns heart into stone desires to use us, and our minds to contend for the faith.
2) These arguments are as much as for our own benefit as they are for others. Many folks, especially my beloved Mormon neighbors, depend on a feeling to “Confirm” what they believe is true. This assurance fades when they are faced with tough questions. This assurance will help us avoid being tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:14) These kind but misguided missionaries melt like butter in a saucepan when faced with a proclamation saturated in the scriptures. We are not vulnerable to that same heat. Our faith is REFINED by fire. Not undone because of it.
3) A well defended gospel, grounded in Christ, is used to save people. God uses people, and people who make arguments to save. Now, you may have more of a J.P. Moreland view where you can personally argue someone into the kingdom, but my theology is not quite the same as his. I believe that God uses us as tools to convert via the Holy Spirit and that our own arguments are simply a means that God uses to “remove the scales” from the eyes of an unbeliever.
What can YOU do to be more prepared? What are the first steps you think Christians need to take to be prepared to make a defense for the hope that is in us?