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answering objections
when your faith is under attack

greg bahnsen

Christians in the ancient world knew what it was to have accusations and ridicule directed at them for their religious convictions and practices. The report of Jesus' resurrection was taken as an idle tale (Luke 24:11), a lie (Matthew 28:13-15), an impossibility (Acts 26:8). For preaching it, believers were arrested by the Jews (Acts 4:2-3) and mocked by the Greek philosophers (Acts 17:32). On the day of Pentecost the disciples were accused of being drunk (Acts 2:13). Stephen was accused of opposing previous revelation (Acts 6:11-14). Paul was accused of introducing new gods (Acts 17:18-20). The church was accused of political insurrection (Acts 17:6-7). Experts openly contradicted what the Christians taught (Acts 13:45) and prejudicially vilified their persons (Acts 14:2). So, on the one hand, the Christian message was a stumblingblock to Jews and utter foolishness to Greeks (I Corinthians 1:23).

On the other hand, the early Christians had to guard against the wrong kind of positive acceptance of what they proclaimed. The apostles were confused for gods by advocates of pagan religion (Acts 14:11-13), given unwelcome commendation by soothsayers (Acts 16:16-18), and had their message absorbed by heretical legalists (Acts 15:1, 5). Twentyfirst-century believers can sympathize with their brothers and sisters in the ancient world. Our Christian faith continues to see the same variety of attempts to oppose and undermine it.

There is a large number of ways in which Christian truth-claims come under attack today. They are challenged as to their meaningfulness. The possibility of miracles, revelation, and incarnation are questioned. Doubt is cast upon the deity of Christ or the existence of God. The historical or scientific accuracy of the Bible is attacked. Scriptural teaching is rejected for not being logically coherent. Conscious life following physical death, everlasting damnation, and a future resurrection are not readily accepted. The way of salvation is found disgusting or unnecessary. The nature of God and the way of salvation are falsified by heretical schools of thought. Competing religious systems are set over against Christianity -- or some try to assimilate it into their own thought forms. The ethics of Scripture is criticized. The psychological or political adequacy of Christianity is looked down upon.

These and many, many other lines of attack are directed against Biblical Christianity. It is the job of apologetics to refute them and demonstrate the truth of the Christian proclamation and worldview -- to "cast down reasonings and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God" (2 Corinthians 10:5).

But how do we go about this task?

contents

the low road

the high road of sanctified argumentation

identifying the true defendant

This article as been adapted from the book, Always Ready: Directions for Defending the Faith, byDr. Greg L. Bahnsen. It is published by Covenant Media Foundation and republished here with their expressed permission.

© 1996 Robert and Virginia Bahnsen