Defending The Faith Like The Early Church

~ Stephen Presley

The good work of defending the Christian faith is nothing new. The Apostle Paul inaugurated the tradition of Christian apologetics when he ascended Mars Hill and engaged the Athenians.[1] In the ensuing years, many other early Christians, especially in the second century, received and applied Paul’s apologetic methods. In fact, many of the earliest Christian writings outside the New Testament are apologetic works aimed at a Greco-Roman audience that was less than tolerant of Christianity. Some of these early Christian apologists include: Quadratus, Aristides, Justin Martyr, Melito of Sardis, Athenagoras of Athens, and Theophilus of Antioch. Their stories and writings are handed down in a variety of ancient sources.

For example, in his apology addressed to the Emperor Antoninus Pius, the passionate apologist Justin Martyr defends the moral and theological superiority of the Christian faith. He readily admits that Christians who commit crimes against the state ought to be punished, but he goes on to say that injustice reigns when Christians are wrongly persecuted for their faith. In one of his writings, entitled First Apology, Justin advises the emperor on the basics of Christianity and dispels myths and rumors about Christian belief. He also warns the emperor that unrighteous persecution of Christians simply will not stop the proclamation of the Gospel. In Justin’s words, “You are able to kill us, but not to hurt us.”[2]

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What Really Is Faith and What Does It Mean?


There is a lot of confusion about the nature of faith in our culture today. If you ask someone to define “faith” you will likely hear something along the lines of “Believing something without evidence” or “Belief without proof.” There are traditions in both religion and philosophy that accept such a view. However, there are other understandings of the nature of faith in Christ that take evidence to be important. That is, many hold that a credible faith is a rational faith. It is not just that faith and reason are not only consistent. Rather, faith in some sense, depends on reason.

First, there are those who think that faith and reason are unrelated. The name for this school of thought is fideism. This is the view that faith neither depends on reason nor is it based on evidence. Instead, it is a non-rational belief, or perhaps even an irrational one. If faith and reason come into conflict, faith loses.


3 Reasons Success And Failure Work Together

“Success is on the same road as failure;
success is just a little further down the road.”

– Jack Hyles

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Why Are There Different Names for God in the Old Testament?

Why the Biblical Word, “YHWH” is a Big Deal

For thousands of years, God’s people have prayed a prayer of confession called the Shema. Among its well-known lines is this one: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might (Dt 6:4-5).

You may have seen these lines in writing and wondered why “LORD” is written in all capital letters. The following video seeks to answer this question.

That name is God’s personal name; this is how God introduced Himself to Moses in the third chapter of Exodus. God is wanting to free His people from Egyptian enslavement and Moses asks God what name he should use when people ask who is doing this miraculous rescue. God commands Moses to tell them that “EHYEH” has sent him. EHYEH means “I will be” and connotes the idea that God is self-sufficient and lacking in nothing. It would be pretty weird, though, for Moses to go to people and say, “I will be” so God also tells Moses to use the name of “YAHWEH”, which communicates that this is the God of their ancestors and means “He will be”.

YAHWEH appears over 6,500 times in the Hebrew Old Testament.

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Will We Have Our Own Homes in Heaven?

Perhaps you’re familiar with Christ’s promise in John 14: “In my Father’s house are many mansions. . . . I go to prepare a place for you” (v. 2, KJV). The Vulgate, the Latin Bible, used the word mansiones in that verse, and the King James Version followed by using mansions. Unfortunately, that rendering is misleading if it makes us envision having massive lodgings on separate estates. The intended meaning seems to be that we’ll have separate dwelling places on a single estate or even separate rooms within the same house.

New Testament scholar D. A. Carson says, “Since heaven is here pictured as the Father’s house, it is more natural to think of ‘dwelling-places’ within a house as rooms or suites. . . . The simplest explanation is best: my Father’s house refers to heaven, and in heaven are many rooms, many dwelling-places. The point is not the lavishness of each apartment, but the fact that such ample provision has been made that there is more than enough space for every one of Jesus’ disciples to join him in his Father’s home.” [1]

The New International Version rendering of John 14:2 is this: “In my Father’s house are many rooms. . . . I am going there to prepare a place for you.” Placeis singular, but rooms is plural. This suggests Jesus has in mind for each of us an individual dwelling that’s a smaller part of the larger place. This place will be home to us in the most unique sense.

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Anyone can say they are committed

Anyone can say they are committed, but . . .

Amazing, indeed