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Stepping Stone Or Stumbling Block?


“If your parents never had children, chances are you won’t either.” (Dick Cavett)


Obvious, haha. Logic conflated with Humour. Of course – if you weren’t here, then there would be zero chances for your children to appear. Surely a little chuckle is permitted here.


Riddles and brain benders tease the mind and suggest there are other ways of viewing the same thing. Pocoyo offered one teaser: “What's the one thing that all wise men, regardless of their religion and politics, agree is between heaven and earth? What is it?”

And if you are as mentally nimble as I think you are, you’ll say, “The word ‘and’.” Correct and clever; but really what use is knowing this for daily life? Step out to your garden or any park and look around. Can you see “and”? Nope, “and” has gone home – it’s not there but we are still here. Still taunted by all kinds of perplexing questions.


Have you ever been asked: Can God build a wall so high, He can’t jump over it? Or, Can God make a ball so heavy, He can’t carry it? This looks like a classic case of “Heads, I win – Tails, you lose”. Some students are tickled by the cunningness embedded in the sentence construction and hope to lure their smarter classmates (or even teachers) into disentangling themselves mentally. In all, a day well spent in school.


The problem is not with God’s ability or implied limitations. In the first place, why would He want to build that wall or make that ball? By definition, God is not restricted as we are. Otherwise, He is disqualified. He can do things we can’t ordinarily imagine. Just take a look at our own body – how amazing, spectacular and wonderful it is (Psalms 139:13,14). In fact, it’s simply miraculous in its creation and maintenance – every second it is functioning purposefully, even when we are asleep and unaware. Do we know that if all our blood vessels (arteries, veins, capillaries) were laid end to end, they would be approximately 60,000 miles long? They could wrap around the Equator twice. Mind-blowing. And all packed in one human body.


Even if something is possible to explain, there is no guarantee it will be understood. The recipient may not be capable of handling the facts and figures. It would be like trying to explain Rocket Science to a Primary One child. Let him/her grow up and acquire more knowledge and learning over time. Even then, there’s no guarantee adulthood confers the ability to absorb all the relevant information.


Ray Bradbury jostles the mind (and tickles the funny bone) as he opines: “The beginning of wisdom, as they say – when you're seventeen, you know everything. When you're twenty-seven, if you still know everything, you're still seventeen.” Go figure that out. Behold, that splitting headache returneth to roost.


On our part, we try to help our children and grandchildren (and those young Christians we seek to disciple and mentor) to know what they believe, who they believe and why they believe. We are blessed by the writings and teaching of many Christian apologists (Lee Strobel, Josh McDowell, and William Lane Craig, to name a few better known ones) who can help anchor them in apologetical basics, by strengthening their faith in the authority and reliability of God’s Word and the illumination and wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Our faith makes sense. It has stood the test of time.


What’s next? Here’s good advice from Bobby Conway: “Apologetics at its core is not about winning arguments or engaging in philosophical debates; it is about sharing the gospel and winning souls for Christ. Furthermore, apologetics makes evangelism more effective because it makes us explain the gospel to non-believers, give them a rationale for believing it, and answer their questions. And even though we cannot make them have faith, we can provide them with enough information to challenge their beliefs.”


Apologetics at its core is not about winning arguments or engaging in philosophical debates; it is about sharing the gospel and winning souls for Christ." By Bobby Conway

Apologetics is not the preserve of scholars and platform speakers. We have good biblical examples in Paul (Acts 17:1-3) and Apollos (Acts18:27-28). Whether a gallant defense in an intellectual setting or a simple, quiet sharing of why we trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are obeying 1 Peter 3:15, which states … “but 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.”


Makes sense. Let’s do it.


Dr Andrew Goh is the editor of Impact magazine.

 

VOL. 47 NO. 3 of IMPACT Magazine

PEOPLE NEED ANSWERS, NOT ARGUMENTS. By Peter Teagle WHAT IS TRUTH? By Eugene Low 'I LEAVE YOU ALONE. YOU LEAVE ME ALONE.' MAYBE. By Glenn Myers KNOWING GOD... To know and truly know. By Joel Sim WELL-KNOW YET UNKNOWN... The tragedy. By Mary Yeo-Carpenter WRAP YOUR HEAD AROUND IT... Surely God is no egotist? ~ The Impact Panel responds ~ DON"T FORGET THE BASIC TRUTHS OF OUR FAITH. By Ajith Fernando LIVING A QUIET LIFE. By Tan Gee Paw


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