“When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”
- Luke 12:11-12
“But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. And so you will bear testimony to me. But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. Everyone will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish. Stand firm, and you will win life.
- Luke 21:12-18
Within the past week, as of when I started writing this, Eric Metaxas was the guest on Dinner Conversations, a rerun, but I had missed the first half of the interview. I had also seen Episode 9 of the Dinner Table/Kitchen Table series on thirdspace.com.au with Rev. David Robertson and Rev. Stephen McAlpine. In this episode, that runs longer than they usually run, they interviewed John Lennox.
With these two highly intelligent men (Metaxas and Lennox), I was inspired and made shamefaced at the same time. I consider myself intelligent, and over the years, I have learned a great deal about a variety of industries, but when it comes to defending my faith, as someone in the blogosphere once wrote, my apologetics were not very good. I was amazed in that I did not know that I was doing ‘apologetics’ and doing it badly. More shamefaced embarrassment in not knowing.
Yet, I have become concerned for others around me. In comparison to my local peers, I was head and shoulders above them – in knowledge. I led the Evangelism team at our church for several years and one of my volunteers said this to me when I asked how they would defend their faith. He said, “I have no idea what I believe, but I can introduce you to the pastor and he can explain it.” At that point, I thought he did not believe anything at all, at least nothing of value. How could you not know what you believe? How can a life-saving belief be that impersonal?
Then, I listened to Eric Metaxas and John Lennox talk in language that I am familiar with and I was lost. And my confusion was not from the Metaxas New Yorker accent or the Lennox Irish brogue. They could simply articulate what they believed in intellectual terms. I then understood why I was told that my apologetics were not very good. As an industrial instructor for 30 years, I had to take nuclear physics, rocket science, and steel making (among many things) are dumb them down so that someone with a third-grade education who could not read could understand what I was saying. In so doing, he could learn what he needed to know to be able to do his job. I established rapport with the class, because I did not talk above them. In so doing, my own mind seems to have turned to mush.
If I am to reach the people in my neighborhood, what I have written in previous blog posts might be enough, but to reach those with whom I have worked, I need to step up my game. At least, I am feeling quite inadequate at this point.
And I challenge each and every one of you who is a true believer in Jesus Christ, be prepared to answer the tough questions. You do not have to know everything, for the Holy Spirit will take over if you have been adequately prepared in Bible study and you simply run out of things to say or Scripture to quote – as I have firsthand experience in having done. And if you are like me, you will get wrapped up in the conversation so tightly that afterward, you will have no idea what you said or where the quotations of Bible verses came from. Yes, the Holy Spirit can simply take over if you prepare and are willing.
But what of these videos? I will give a little commentary. Some of these are long, so I might hit a few highlights. Then you can decide if you wish to spend the time in viewing them. Maybe bookmark the post and come back when you have time to watch the videos.
John Lennox and Eric Metaxas
This first video was found while searching for the others. It is an episode of Socrates in the City. The video is a long one, 1 hour, 19 minutes, and 9 seconds. Metaxas starts with a nearly six-minute monologue that is a bit funny. He, also, in less than six minutes insulted me personally. He says that John Lennox is a professor at Oxford and not the one in Mississippi. I got my undergraduate degree at the university in Oxford, Mississippi. In his words, the wrong one. But, I was too interested in what they had to say to become offended. Maybe most of the offended people in the world today could learn from that – becoming too interested in what the other person has to say, maybe even to disagree, but not get offended. Note that John Lennox talks of the great scientists, like Newton, Galileo, Kepler, etc. were Christians and that they searched the universe through science to discover what the Creator had done, no thought of disproving the existence of God at all. In fact, Lennox states that science can disprove atheism.
John Lennox, David Robertson, and Stephen McAlpine
A new weekly video series on Third Space (thirdspace.com.au) is entitled “Kitchen Table”, but when they have a distinguished guest and they want the conversation to go longer than their usual 15 minutes, they call the episode the “Dinner Table,” in other words, more formal. This video, Episode 9, is 17 minutes, 39 seconds. In the previous episode, much longer, Lennox touches on a variety of subjects, but the Lennox discussion on human consciousness and its relationship to artificial intelligence is fascinating.
So, since Lennox says that we shall never figure out human consciousness, Sheldon Cooper may have a longer wait, more than simply missing it by “this much”… (I had to throw some comic relief into the mix of videos.)
Eric Metaxas on Dinner Conversations
Eric Metaxas claims near the beginning that all the really intelligent, interesting, and funny people that he has met were Christians. He is appalled at the secular elite narrative that you must be an idiot to believe in Jesus. That one statement had me focused in on the rest of what he had to say. Also, he, like my wife, came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ through a dream. This video is 46 minutes, 46 seconds.
J. I. Packer
And why is it urgent that we do this, this preparing to defend our faith? J. I. Packer recently passed away. This is what he had to say on the subject. This is the shortest of the videos, 1 minute, 52 seconds.
So, if you are a true believer, what are you waiting for? We need to take God seriously. We need to take God’s Word seriously. We need to be able to express what we believe. We need to know what we believe and how to put that into words. If we rely on the pastor to explain it for us, we are not taking our relationship with Jesus seriously and we are not taking the Great Commission seriously.
Jesus said that the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. He was not simply stating a fact. He was kicking each of us in the backside, in His gentle way. Go forth and explain your faith to those in your world, in words that they can understand. And if you have no faith or you have no story to tell, search God’s Word, the Bible, pray, and if you have not done so, accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, trusting in Him without reservation.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.