Evan Van Sickle
The use of apologetics
Glorify God: The primary goal of my life decisions and daily actions is to glorify God. This is the chief end of man according to the Westminster confession (in return we enjoy the fruits of God). Why should my small group be any different. So my first goal is for my study of apologetics to reflect and be part of a life that is bringing glory to my Lord. I do believe that God is glorified through this type of study, a case made in the next few points.
Present truth: the second goal of apologetics is to take such an interest in truth that the Christian faith is understood accurately and thoroughly through it. An accurate theology is fundamental to the practice of apologetics. This truth stands on a foundation of logic through God’s two great witnesses to us- natural theology and Scripture. Truth then goes out accurately through sound reasoning and accurate exegesis.
Equip believers: As Titus 1:9 says, leaders are to be able to teach soundly and accurately, and also able to refute the people that bring contradictory ideas. Accurate ideas are learned through sound theology, a practice I believe is for everybody that calls themselves a Christian. I also seek to see Christians to be more skilled in giving arguments and defenses for the truth of Christianity. Along with this is instilling the knowledge to expose the flaws of false world views in ways that are winsome and gracious, yet powerful and non-compromising.
Answer skeptics: Finally there is the goal that some would assume is my only goal in apologetics. I want to have routes for engaging in meaningful dialogues with unbelievers. I want to personally be used by God to bring people into His kingdom by His grace. I see this being done through the interests that He has gifted me in. Their barriers to the faith need to be taken seriously, addressed, exposed, and disproven while constructing a true world view that is accurate theologically as well as to their intellect, their conscience, and their heart. I want to present evidence to any that would be doubting that is so irrefutable that they would have to abandon their intellect in order to maintain a belief other than the Biblical world view.
Goals and vision
In my small group: I want my small group to be a place where Christianity is revealed as true from the ground up. I will teach in a logical sequence the beliefs that form the foundations of Christianity and good reasons for thinking these are true. I want to bring people in that have questions and strengthen those that want to be able to take on questions. As a result of attending my group, I want people to increase in their ability to think and reason so that they can become self-sustained and driven to take on objections to the faith from people in their day to day lives. I also present specific arguments so that people can learn to use them in the appropriate circumstances.
In the public: I believe vital questions and answers should be made public. The important issues should be encouraged to be discussed publicly. I hope that providing my E-mail address will open the door for skeptics and seekers to begin meaningful conversations about truth. I have not ruled out taking this up a level and seek opportunities to participate in public debates concerning the existence of God (or similar topics). I think this will spark a real interest in Christianity on a deeper level. I want to encourage places to set up question booths where the person can drop off their question in a non-threatening manner. This can be done at churches, where many of the young people tend to abandon the faith when they leave the house. Church run places of outreach could also benefit from implementing this. I’d like this also to be set up outside my house, where there will be a spot to submit questions. Then, I would encourage other people to take on a similar challenge at their house. Pamphlets explaining the basics of Christian apologetics should also be made for public use and distribution. Some of these could have a single significant point addressed. These would hopefully/ prayerfully open a person up to more personal continued dialogue.
In the churches: If there is a weakness in my local Christian churches I believe it is in the area of 1. Missions and (similarly) 2. Giving intelligent relevant answers to the cultures objections to Christianity. Apologetics is not the safe and easy Christianity that the American church has become increasingly accustomed to, but the church has always thrived amidst challenges and controversy. I want churches to encourage the study of Christian apologetics more. I would want to do question and answer sessions with high school aged youth groups. I want to train myself to be capable of hosting teaching and training sessions for people that want to become more skilled and knowledgable in defending and presenting their faith in the face of brutal unbelief. This means that I would be asking for certain churches to host such an event (or series).