Why do Apologetics?

 

I’ve been teaching an introductory class of apologetics at Clearwater Church here in Fort Collins over the last few weeks. I’ve started to record these lectures in a hope to really grow a bit of a YouTube following. This is a bit longer than my regular posts here, but I thought some of you may be interested to see my intro to apologetics talks so here is installment 1 of 6! Enjoy!

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Why we must find truth with not only our hearts, but also our minds according to Paul

Many religions in the world claim to be the true one. Of course we know that not all them can be true, because they contradict. Islam says Jesus isn’t God, Christianity does. Hinduism says hell doesn’t exist, western religions do. Buddhism says this world is an illusion, Judaism says that God created the very real world that we see. So how do we determine which one is true?

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“To say there is only one way to God is limiting God.”

This last weekend I was at an open house at the local Mosque here in Fort Collins. I was encouraged to see that there were many visitors who, like myself, clearly weren’t part of the Mosque ourselves. I think it is important that we are able to dialogue, communicate and fellowship with those who don’t believe in the same things that we do.

As the open house winded down I found that I was in a minority even among the visitors that day. They had a panel answering questions and dialoguing about interfaith relations when the Jewish leader that was a part of the panel dropped this bomb: “to say there is only one way to God is limiting to God.”

I was a little surprised by the comment. Not so much by the comment as much as I didn’t expect it to come from the Rabbi in the group. I more expected that the Universalist reverend on the panel to say a statement like that rather than the Rabbi. But it still had me thinking ‘Am I limiting God when I say that there is only one way to God?”

In short my answer to this as I think about is ‘no’. The fundamental thing that I think a statement like this is misunderstanding is that we decide the ways to God. When I say that I believe that there is only one way to God it isn’t because I’ve made it that way, it’s because God made it that way. I don’t say there is only one way to God because I want to limit God or that I believe God could only make one way, I say it because my understanding is that God has only made it that way.

When Jesus says, “I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me” it seems pretty clear that there is only one way. So am I limiting God? No. I am saying simply what God has said.

Could God have made it another way? My understanding of theology seems to say no, which is another subject entirely, but for the sake of argument let’s just say that God could have allowed more than one way to Him. If God could have made another way and yet as He says in John 14:6, he has only made one way to him, am I limiting God? No, I am not. God is limiting God. There is only one way to God. He has made that clear. It wasn’t my choice. I would even like to say that there is more than one way to God, but if that isn’t true I am not going to say it to make others feel better.

I often think that someone who says ‘we are limiting God by saying there is only one way to him’ are saying it because it doesn’t feel good. And they are right. I wish it was another way. But if a friend of mine wants to cross the highway where it isn’t safe and there is only one safe place to cross the highway do I let him cross where he wants to because he will feel good about it? Absolutely  not! I could care less what makes him feel good, I would rather have him alive than happy and then dead, because I didn’t speak the truth because I didn’t want to hurt his feelings.