JR. Forasteros - April 8, 2018

A Defense of the Faith

Monday Messiah

Does the idea of fighting about religion make you nervous? Of course it does! But we’re so often taught that we have to defend our faith against people who don’t believe. After all, Jesus himself said, “I am the Way”. But what if Jesus’ words weren’t a line in the sand, but an invitation to life? How can we find a better way to engage our non-believing neighbors with vulnerability and love?

From Series: "Monday Messiah"

We like to claim that Jesus' resurrection changed the world. But how? How does it matter that Jesus was raised from the dead not on Sunday, when we worship, but on Monday, when we dive back into our ordinary lives? In this series, we explore the "I Am" statements Jesus makes in John's Gospel to see how the new life Jesus offers us is as immediate and relevant as ever, right where we live, work and play.

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I was my high school biology teacher’s worst nightmare.

Not because I was good at biology – I really wasn’t. But because I walked in on the first day of class and warned him, “If you’re going to teach evolution, we’re going to have problems.”

And sure enough, on the day it came time to teach Evolution, I was locked and loaded.

My church had prepared me to go into my public school ready to defend my faith! It’s what Christians call ‘apologetics’, which for me growing up meant being able to out-argue all the atheists and scientists I encountered. I had to defend God’s honor.

The only minor complication was that my science teacher was also a Christian. I can still remember the pained look on his face as he taught biological evolution to our class as I sat loading my rhetorical clip with all the ammo my church had sent me with.

I saw myself as a righteous warrior.

I was preaching God’s Honest Truth to my class, holding back the tide of godless lies flooding out of our textbooks and off the chalkboard.

It never occurred to me to wonder why my classmates didn’t seem grateful, why none of them seemed even the least bit curious to meet this God I was so stridently defending.

It never occurred to me to wonder whether God found my defense particularly helpful.

I want to talk a little bit about apologetics, about how Christians go about defending our faith. Because if you look around, or listen to some of the loudest Church leaders, you’d think our sole mission is to stand against a sweeping tide of secularism and pluralism and fight back.

That approach is all wrong. God doesn’t now nor has God ever needed us to defend anything. And if there’s any account we are to offer the world, it’s a self-sacrificial, vulnerability that invites those outside the faith to come closer to God. Today, we’re going to find a vision for how we interact with our friends, neighbors, coworkers and family who don’t share our faith.

Our ‘defense’ should be grounded not in combat and suspicion, but in grace and humility.

Join us Sunday as we learn how to invite rather than defend.

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