The Necessity of Apologetics in Spiritual Warfare

 

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“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons of our warfare are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

“Arguments,” “pretensions,” “against the knowledge of God,” “every thought,” what kind of language is this? This is the language of ideas. Ideas are non-physical realities that deal with two concepts only: truth and falsehood.

The entire enterprise of apologetics is dedicated to discovering, developing, and defending[1] the truth of the Christian faith (and the existence of God more generally). But who are we defending this against? Sure, we do defend the truth of the Christian faith against any other human person that might launch an assault on the veracity of our claims to truth. Sure, we do defend the truth of the Christian faith against ourselves, when we begin to run into the dry season of serious doubt. But, ultimately, what is fueling these doubts? What is fueling the assaults launched against the veracity of the Christian faith and existence of God? What is fueling the war on truth in general?

Well, it’s not really a question of what; it’s a question of who. The enemy of the truth, the father of lies, the deceiver, the persecutor of the Saints of Truth; it is he, though not a human person but a spiritual person, that hunts like a lion just waiting for the right time of vulnerability to sink his teeth into his victim with a vice grip so powerful that they cannot escape. His name is satan. Satan pounces on our vulnerable emotions attempting to elevate them to the level of truth. Indeed, satan’s modus operandi is to convince us that what we feel is equal to what is true; of God, of the world, and of other people.

When we closely examine many of the agnostic/atheist arguments against God, we ultimately must conclude the majority of them are primarily rooted in the subjectivity of emotions rather than the objectivity of evidence and reason. This is most readily illustrated in the so-called “Problem of Evil Argument(s) Against God’s Existence.” There is a clear-cut case of “I don’t like that God did “X” or allows “Y” so, therefore, God does not exist.” rather than “It is logically fallacious that God did “X” or allows “Y” therefore God cannot exist.” However, if we do not understand the difference between emotional appeal and objective reasoning, we will not be able to distinguish between the two cases above, and thus we fall into the trap of allowing foolish arguments to be raised up against God without the ability to deflect and demolish them rationally and reasonably. This is apologetics.

Apologetics teaches us not only what to think but – and more importantly, I think – how to think. When the Lord Jesus tells us to “…love God with all of our mind…” (Mark 13:30) and Paul tells us to “…be transformed by the renewing of our mind…” (Romans 12:2) they are primarily instructing us to change the way we think about things; how we think about things. The way man thinks when he is separated from God is almost entirely rooted in emotional appeal. Self-centered, self-focused, self-profiting. When one thinks that the world should revolve around oneself, this way of thinking cannot be focused on objective reasoning, since it is objectively true that focusing everything on oneself cannot, and will not, bring about that which is good, pleasing, or beneficial to either oneself or the world. More than anything else, satan wants us to remain focused on self, to remain enslaved by a method of thinking rooted in emotional appeal. The old self, as Paul would call it, thrives on sifting the life out of others for its own personal gain. This is the root of all evil, this is the root of all brokenness, and this is the root that satan wants to drive deeper into a world system of lofty promises with diminishing returns. This is a system of thinking that we are born into, and it must change if we are to win the spiritual war against satan and be transformed into Christ-likeness. When one is restored to right relationship with God through Christ, they have the opportunity to be transformed by learning how to rely less on emotional appeal and rely more on objective reasoning, which is the heart of truth, and the heart of God. Apologetics helps us to build a framework of objective reasoning which thereby fulfills the imperative of Jesus to love God with all our mind and fulfills the imperative of Paul to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. This is apologetics.

Ultimately, the entire enterprise of apologetics is geared towards tearing down the strongholds of falsehood that satan has erected utilizing our subjective emotions and resurrecting the kingdom of truth founded upon objective evidence, logic, and reason; all of which are attributes of God.[2]

Apologetics is, primarily, for the purpose of silencing satan, the enemy of God, by teaching us how to think in a similar manner to the way God thinks.

The only way for us to win the spiritual war with satan when he inflames our emotions against the truth is to be transformed by the renewing of our mind by learning truth, what is true, why that truth is true, and how to act on that truth. This how we love God with all our mind.

This is apologetics.

[1] 1 Peter 3:15 says, “…always be prepared to give a “defense” for the hope that you have…” The word “defense” in Greek is the world “apologia,” which is where we derive the discipline of “Apologetics.”

[2] Indeed, the Second Person of the Trinity is called the “Logos,” which is where we derive the term “logic.” God is a God of evidence (always using the refrain, “… remember when I did ‘X’ or ‘Y’…”; this is the language of evidence); God is a God of reason (“…come, let us reason together…” Isaiah 1:18).

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