All believers are to defend as well as proclaim the gospel. Apologetics is not an elite task for scholars and pastors.
Scripture: Acts 10
- This passage reveals the global scope of the Christian mission in which apologetics plays a role (1 Peter 3:15).
- All believers are to defend as well as proclaim the gospel. Apologetics is not an elite task for scholars and pastors.
- The church goes out in the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit with the mission to reach the whole world (Acts 8; cf. Matt. 28).
- In light of the universality of the gospel seen in Acts 10, we're instructed about how to respond to religious pluralism.
- Pluralism teaches that many sincere beliefs and ideas are equally valid as paths to God, and religion is reduced to a subjective psychology. Pluralism leads to the abandonment of every core doctrine of Scripture.
- If you share your faith for the purpose of conversion, you're seen by many today to be committing an immoral act of violence.
- Inclusivism says that, although Jesus is the only Savior, the exclusive claims of Christianity that require faith in Christ are not fair. As long as you are sincere and follow a moral code you're saved by Christ, they say.
- If the triune God is the only Author of salvation, then there is no thinking, believing, or doing, that will make us right with God outside of Christ.
- It's the most frightening arrogance to put ourselves on the judgment seat in place of God to determine the conditions of salvation.
- Exclusivism: The apostles were committed to the truthfulness of the gospel account, and its binding authority over all peoples for salvation.
- Jesus is the only Saviour, and faith in Christ is necessary for salvation (cf. Acts 17:30).
- There are many instances of God giving special revelations of Jesus to those who respond positively to what they already know by His general revelation.
- If we're under the judgment of God it is because we don't obey what we already know about Him (Romans 1:18). Jesus says that from those to do not have, even what they have will be taken (Matt. 13:12). God is the only judge of those who have not heard the gospel.
- The early church faced a hostile, pluralistic and immoral culture; our own challenges pale by comparison.
- Peter is still wrestling over the transposed application of ceremonial holiness laws and the scope of Christ's salvation for the Gentiles.
- Stupendously, God calls a Jew to declare salvation in Jesus to a Gentile. God is telling Peter that no person should be called unclean.
- Peter learned apologetics on the job, as he was led and taught by the Holy Spirit. So too, God will teach us as we actively engage in sharing our faith.
- We've idolatrously made our experience to be a god that trumps the Bible. God's Word always stands, modified in application only by further revelation from God Himself in Scripture.
- Peter assumed the continuity, full validity and authority of the Word of God; but his cultural prejudices blinded him to God’s revelation.
- Present cultural assumptions do not trump Scripture. Scripture, not our experience, interprets Scripture.
- When you share the faith, the message and the messenger can't be separated. We have a unique preparation from God ourselves, and at the same time God is preparing people for us to share the gospel with.
- The Spirit of God is interested in the conversion of men and women – more than we are.
- The gospel is delivered without partiality to every nation (Is. 19:24-25).
- The privileges of Israel were so they could be a light to the nations.
- We in the West have enjoyed much privilege; but we too, like Israel, will be cast off for faithlessness.
- In your own words define pluralism, inclusivism, and exclusivism.
- How does Acts 10 set out the exclusivism of Christianity? What other texts confirm the exclusivism of biblical Christianity?
- Is it morally permissible to talk about God as if we had the only correct view about Him? Explain.
- Why are theistic assumptions, a sincere faith, and a general morality insufficient for salvation? Give scriptures texts to support your answer.
- What should be our approach to learning and applying apologetics in daily life? What holds us back from sharing the faith?
- God's revelation is not a cooperative project between you and God. Outline the authority of God’s Word for our lives? Why do we resist?
- How are we a privileged people, and what obligations are entailed?