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Defending the Faith With Gentleness, Respect
By Dave Arden
Adam Groza, vice president of enrollment and student services at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, spoke at the Leadership Conference to a packed house on Friday morning, Nov. 15, at Emmanuel Baptist Church.
His focus on the subject of apologetics, which he defined as “sharing and defending our faith,” encouraged believers to communicate the many reasons that we can stand up for our faith.
“If you’re not doing apologetics, you’re simply not engaging the lost,” said Groza.
The primary foundation came from 1 Peter 3:15-16:
In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.
Recognizing that so many people love to argue and debate for the sake of doing so, Groza put strong emphasis on sharing our faith with gentleness and respect. “Let your gentleness be known to all. The Lord is near,” he quoted from Philippians 4:5.
According to the Golden Gate exec and Phoenix native, “Apologetics is good for those who don’t believe, and apologetics is good for when we doubt.” That is, we all go through times where we need fortification to stand.
At the heart of the presentation were Ten Questions about Faith We Need to be Able to Answer for a Secular World.
“How do you know there is a God?” Groza questioned the attendees. Offering both biblical support and critical thinking, he offered a practical defense. “God made us in His image. Much of human life is a testament to the faith,” he said.
His rationale: if we do something wrong and nobody is around, do we feel guilty about that, even if nobody sees it? The fact that we generally do means that we are in created in the image of God.
Other evidence for the existence of God included: the Word, Jesus rising from the dead (John 11), the majesty of Creation (Psalm 19) and more.
Another question Groza contended with, “How could there be such a loving God when there is so much evil?”
“What is evil?” he asked, and “if there is not a God, then what makes evil, ‘evil’ itself?”
Other questions included, “What about all the other evil done in the name of God?”
Also, “Is Jesus God?”That is, “Believing in God does not a Christian make?” He remarked from James 2:19, which says “demons believe in God, and shudder.”
As with this question, (and throughout the presentation) Groza provided an exhaustive Biblical foundation to questions that our secular world will ask.
Next question, “How do we know Jesus rose from the dead?”
“Without the Resurrection, we can pack it up and go home. That’s according to Paul himself,” Groza stated. (1 Corinthians 15:13-14)
Pressing on with practical wisdom, he brought answers to the rest of the questions as well:
“How do we know the Bible is true?”
“Hasn’t science replaced our need for God and religion?”
“What is Christianity” and, “Why are Christians intolerant?”
Especially interesting is how Groza established many of the early scientists such as Newton, Galileo and Copernicus as believers who -- seeking answers to what’s behind creation -- really helped fuel the fire to the scientific revolution.
Check your brain at the door as a Christian? Let it never be. With lawyer-like effectiveness, each one attending was given a battery of defenses by which to stand firm in the Truth.