- Written by Pastor Shawn Nettleton Pastor Shawn Nettleton
- Created: August 22 2018 August 22 2018
We all know many people who are outside the faith; those who are un-churched, those who are of a different religion, those who are atheists, and those who believe nothing and simply don't care. We know many people who need to hear and know about the good news of Jesus Christ! Every one of us is called to be salt and light in this unbelieving world (Matthew 5:13–16). Every one of us is also called to give a witness to the faith. St. Peter calls each of us to be prepared to give a reason, make a defense, for the hope that we have in Christ (1 Peter 3:15).
Sharing the faith, witnessing, starts with relationships. Effective witnessing starts with sharing the faith with those whom you know and have a relationship. That is, there must be a level of trust. Most of us won't give the person knocking on our front door, trying to sell us something we don't need, the time of day! Why? Because we don't know them and we don't trust them.
Sharing the faith starts with sharing the good news of Jesus; His death for sins of the world and His resurrection from the dead! There is no substitute for the proclamation of Jesus Christ crucified and risen! But what do you say to the person who rejects this good news out of hand? Is the conversation over? Do we simply say, “well, you've just gotta believe!”?
Effective witnessing also needs to be prepared to respond to and deal with roadblocks. There are always roadblocks. How can anyone believe in God anyway? Why should anyone believe the Bible is really God's Word? How do you know the Bible wasn't written by drunk monks in the fifth century? What makes Jesus so different? How do you know that Jesus is really who He claimed to be? How is Christianity any different than any other religion?
We believe the Bible is the Word of God, and it is. But why do we believe such? Do we simply believe it is because it says so? What separates the Bible from the Koran or the Book of Mormon?
We believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the second person of the Holy Trinity, who died for sins of the world and rose again from the dead. This the heart of soul of the Christian faith. But what is this faith, our faith, based on? Is it based on subjective feelings or is it based on sound historical evidence?
In an age of religious confusion, pluralism and persistent attacks on the Christian faith, a basic orientation in Christian apologetics is becoming increasingly vital for all Christians. What is Christian apologetics? Apologetics is a Greek word (apologia) that means "to defend a person or thing." The task of Christian apologetics is about removing the roadblocks of skeptics so that one can give a clear witness to and reason for believing in Jesus Christ.
Our evangelism committee is excited to host professor and Christian apologist Dr. Adam Francisco to speak here at Saint John's September 28–29. Dr. Francisco will give a Friday evening presentation titled “Is There Good Reason to Believe that God Exists?” He will also lead a half day conference on the basics of Christian apologetics on Saturday; “Confessing the Faith in an Unbelieving World.” I strongly encourage you to attend one or both of these events. I know that all of us will find something beneficial for the task of giving a reason for the hope we have in Jesus Christ!
Rev. Shawn Nettleton is Senior Pastor at Saint John’s Lutheran Church. You can reach him in the church office, by email at nettleton@StJohnsFC.org or at 970-305-2420.