Apologetics Class 12-6-2015

Currently, we are reading the book Unsilenced: How to Voice the Gospel by James Boccardo.  It is a great book about evangelism that also includes some information about Apologetics.

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Hi All,

Class today was good as usual.  Thanks for all your participation.  We finished the book today!  The last chapter was chapter 9, which was only 4 pages long.  Here are the questions we used to drive our discussion:

Unsilenced Chapter 9 ‘Final Encouragement’ (4 pages:  pg. 167-170)

  1. (pg. 167)  How often should we expect discouragement and disappointment when sharing our faith?
  2. (pg. 168) How might other Christians react when you get bold and start sharing your faith?  Will other Christians always share your enthusiasm?
  3. (pg. 170) What kind of “pain” might sharing your faith bring?
  4. (pg. 170) Why don’t you take a small risk and start sharing your faith?
  5. (pg. 170) Everything you do a_______ you put your f________ in J_________ counts in e______.

We started off the class by watching a video:

You Know What’s Funny About The Whole Jesus Thing?  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ywumx3BcKN0

It is about a 6 ½ minute witnessing clip of Ray Comfort talking to an atheist who was wearing a “666” hat.  Pretty good.  The video made mention of Mithras – one of our class participants gave a good overview of that.  I added on that the Zeitgeist Movie was very popular with young people and communicated this idea about Jesus was just a legend copied from prior mythologies.  Here are a few articles on these objections and how to respond to them:

  1. The Zeitgeist Movie & Other Myth Claims About Jesus: http://www.str.org/articles/the-zeitgeist-movie-other-myth-claims-about-jesus#.VmSMR79HSMJ
  2. Is Christianity a Copycat Religion?  http://coffeehousequestions.com/2015/09/26/is-christianity-a-copycat-religion/
  3. Is Jesus a Copycat Savior? (Cold-Case Christianity Broadcast #1): http://coldcasechristianity.com/2014/is-jesus-a-copycat-savior-cold-case-christianity-broadcast-1/
  4. How to Respond to Claims Jesus Is a “Copycat Savior”: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2014/how-to-respond-to-claims-jesus-is-a-copycat-savior-free-bible-insert/

Finally, we spoke about where we’ll go next.  We decided that we’ll start with a short booklet “The Ambassador’s Guide to Pluralism”, then, about 5 weeks later, we’ll switch over to the idea of exploring 1 question or objection per week!

I’m excited about our direction of the next few months!

See you next week.

Ps. Here are all the content/questions that we covered while reading the Unsilenced book:

Goals for this portion of the Class

  1. That we would gain an understanding of a way to share our faith with others
  2. That this would result in action: actually sharing our faith.
  3. That we would share our successes and “failures” with the class, although, I believe if you just get in the batter’s box, there are no failures.

Unsilenced Chapter 1 (4 pages long.  Pages 3-6)

  1. (pg. 3) If we claim the truth (that Jesus is the only way to be saved), how can we look silently at all these unsaved people around us?  Why is it the case that we do look silently at them?
  2. (pg. 3) Are we more concerned about “going to Christian Schools” and “not getting drunk” (than sharing our faith – the uniqueness of our message)?  Why is that?
  3. (pg. 4) Have you ever invited someone to lunch and asked if they wanted to hear about Jesus?  If not, why not?
  4. (pg. 5) Have you ever begged for someone to listen to you about your Savior?
  5. (pg. 5) How is it damaging to our witness when we become “people who are really good, while everyone else isn’t”?
  6. (pg. 6) What is the “uniqueness of our message”?
  7. (pg. 6 – last sentence) What should we be known for?

Unsilenced Chapter 2 (7 pages long.  Pages 9-15)

  1. (pg. 9) What is sin?
  2. (pg. 10) What is the purpose of the Law (the 10 commandments)?
  3. (pg. 10 and top of 11) What would happen if God were only “fair with us”?
  4. (pg. 12) What do we have to offer the world? (What is the “good news”?)
  5. (pg. 12) How does the Old Testament sacrificial system tell us about the Gospel?
  6. (pg. 12) How is God not “overlooking sin” by forgiving believers?
  7. (my own question – pg. 13 top) How is it just to punish a “3rd party” (Jesus) for sins I commit against another person?
  8. (pg. 13) How does the Christian concept of ‘substitution’, compare with other religions way of turning away the anger of “the gods”?
  9. (pg. 13 bottom / 14 top) When we say we are “saved”, what are we saved from?
  10. (pg. 13 bottom / 14 top) How are we saved from sin’s power over us?
  11. (pg. 14) What does “born again” mean?  Do most non-believers understand the phrase “born again”?  What kind of reactions have you heard from non-Christians about the phrase “born again”?  From where in the Bible do we get information about “born again”?
  12. (pg. 14) Was it your experience when you were saved that you felt different about your sin?  If so, how did you previously think about it?  And how do you think about it differently now?  How is this a sign of repentance and regeneration?
  13. (pg. 15) At what point is a person “justified” before God?
  14. (pg. 15) Does being made right with God have anything to do with “doing good things”?

Unsilenced Chapter 3 (3 Pages long.  Pages 19-21)

  1. (pg. 19) How did the first followers of Jesus live in light of the message they were entrusted with?
  2. (pg. 19) What is one of the biggest issues with Christians today according to the author?
  3. (pg. 19 bottom and 20 top) What does the account in Acts 4 tell us about what the first Christians were like?  What did the Christians in Acts 4 pray for?
  4. (pg. 20 middle) What were the first Christian’s attitudes like regarding suffering for Christ?
  5. (pg. 20 bottom) Paul tells us to “Imitate me, as I also imitate Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1).  What was he doing in Acts 17 that we should be imitating?
  6. (pg. 21) Do we have any excuses for not sharing our faith?  If we don’t share our faith are we still saved?

Unsilenced Chapter 4 ‘The Famous Excuse List’ (19 pages long.  Pages 25-43)

  1. Church Services are the best way to reach people:
    1. (pg. 25 bottom, 26 top) Why is inviting someone to Church (instead of just sharing the Gospel with them yourself) sometimes not good enough?
    2. (pg. 27) Do you sometimes overlook certain “types of people” as potential candidates for sharing your faith with?  If so, why?
    3. (pg. 27) How would you react if someone you were talking to said “religion is stupid”?  What is the distinction between “religion” and “the Gospel”?
    4. (pg. 27) If you’re honest with yourself, how many opportunities (to share the Gospel, or to do something of eternal significance) do you waste?  How many opportunities to “get in the batter’s box” have you squandered?
    5. (pg. 27) Why don’t the thousands of people who go to churches just share their faith in Jesus with everyone they know?
  2. You Don’t Believe the Unreached Go to Hell:
    1. (pg. 28) How do we know that God won’t give people a second chance to accept Him after they die (having either rejected Him their whole life OR never having heard of Jesus)?
    2. (pg. 29) How is it “fair” for God to send someone to hell that has never heard of Jesus?  Is it reasonable that this doctrine (God sending someone to hell who’s never heard of Jesus) would prevent someone from accepting Christ themselves?
    3. (pg. 30) What will actually happen to us if God is “fair and does the right thing”?  (Think of the definitions of grace and mercy – are grace and mercy “fair”?)
    4. (pg. 31 – top) What kind of thinking does it lead to if believe that God will let people into heaven who’ve never heard of Jesus?
  3. Share Your Faith, but Be Friends First (pg. 31):
    1. (pg. 31-32) Was your impression that you had to be friends for a while before sharing your faith?
    2. (pg. 32) What kind of apprehensions would you have in sharing your faith with a Muslim like Mosab Yousef?
    3. (pg. 33) Have you ever been brave enough to share your faith with a stranger or “short term” acquaintance?
    4. (pg. 33-34) What does the apostle Paul’s approach in the book of Acts tell us about whether we need to make friends before sharing the gospel with someone?
    5. (pg. 34) How do conversation skills help us in sharing the gospel?
  4. Most People are “Led to Jesus” Through a Close Friend (pg. 34):
    1. (pg. 34) What percentage of people are led to Christ through a close friend (according to statistics)?
    2. (pg. 35 – top) If you think you need to be good friends in order to share your faith, how does this show lack of faith in Christ?
  5. Everyone in my area has heard this already (pg. 35):
    1. (pg. 35-36) Once you hear that someone already goes to Church, how does that affect your desire to share the Gospel with them?
    2. (pg. 36-37) Does everyone who goes to a Church hear and understand the Gospel?
  6. Fear of all kinds (pg. 39):
    1. (pg. 39) Why do “being outgoing” and “being fearless for Jesus” not necessarily go together?
    2. (pg. 40) When we see or hear examples of people being brave enough to share their faith, how does it make us feel?  (read Philippians 1:12-14 and discuss):
      1. Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.
    3. (pg. 40) Do you have the belief that most people are hostile toward the Christian faith?  If so, why?
    4. (pg. 40-41) Have you prayed for the courage to share your faith?
    5. (pg. 41 – middle) What does it mean to “start fearing the right things”?
  7. So, after you heard all these excuses, do you have any excuses that are not on the list?

Unsilenced Chapter 5 ‘What Should I Say?’ (21 pages: 47-67)

  1. (pg. 47) What kind of tone should you have when you start to talk to someone about eternal things?
  2. (pg. 48) How long will a conversation about Jesus take?
  3. (pg. 49) What does it mean to be “comfortable with being uncomfortable”?
  4. (pg. 49) Are you afraid of rejection?
  5. (pg. 49) Have you ever been surprised by someone that was willing to talk about spiritual things?
  6. (pg. 50) Have you ever seen love open someone’s ears to hearing the gospel who initially didn’t want to hear it?
  7. (pg. 51 – top) What is our basic “If, then idea”?
  8. (pg. 51) What makes “asking people about their views on the afterlife” a great way to start?
  9. (pg. 52 – top) What is the biggest hurdle you have to overcome?
  10. (pg. 52 – bottom) What will you learn when you ask “the question”?
  11. (pg. 53 – bottom) What about the “I don’t think anything happens” guy?
  12. (pg. 54-55 top) Why would a skeptic change their mind on the afterlife when asked about Hitler? What is “the great switch”?
  13. (pg. 56 top/middle) What is the follow-up question that we should ask after the first question?
  14. (pg. 58-59 top) What is it important to do after you walk people through the commandments?
  15. (pg. 60 middle) Why is it important to “include yourself” when talking about having committed sins?
  16. (pg. 61) Why do you need to convince people they are in “massive trouble”?
  17. (pg. 62 bottom) What is a great question to ask someone after they’ve admitted that they’re guilty before God?
  18. (pg. 63 top) What information is necessary for Jesus’ sacrifice to “make more sense” to people?
  19. (pg. 63) What is a “sin-record-eraser”?
  20. (pg. 63-64) What 2 things do people need to do in order to have their sin records erased?
  21. (pg. 64) Is it biblical to tell people to “accept Jesus into their hearts”?
  22. (pg. 67) What is the one question you want to end with?

Unsilenced Chapter 6 ‘Bumps in the Road’ (32 pages:  pg. 71-122)

  1. (pg. 71) Where is “the power”? (Romans 1:16)
  2. (pg. 72) What is the analogy about “air in the tank”?
  3. (pg. 73) Problem #1: God Will Send Someone to Hell for Lying?  That’s Ridiculous.
    1. (pg. 73) How does 50 years of sin equal and eternity of punishment?
    2. (pg. 74) How is this similar to the chemistry test in college?
  4. (pg. 75) Problem #2: Everyone is a Sinner
    1. (pg. 75) Is it reasonable to think that God “grades on the curve”?
    2. (pg. 75 bottom / 76 top) Why is it important to say “us” rather than “you”?
  5. (pg. 77) Problem #3: I Think We’re in Hell Right Now
    1. (pg. 77) What questions can you ask a person who thinks we’re in hell right now?
  6. (pg. 78) Problem #4: Oh Please, What if Christianity Isn’t True?
    1. (pg. 78-80) What would you say to the charge “Look, the Bible was written by a bunch of illiterate sheep herders 2,000 years ago.  And by the way, a man in a huge boat escaped a big flood?!  Give me a break”?  (See page 78 bottom and 79 top for answers)
    2. (pg. 80) Are you just throwing out evidence to win an argument?
    3. (pg. 80) After giving the evidence, it is important to get back to the Gospel.  Why?
  7. (pg. 81) Problem #5: You’ve Never Been to Heaven or Hell, so You Can’t Tell Me About It!
    1. (pg. 81) What question can you ask someone who states the charge above?
    2. (pg. 81/82) What are some prophecies that Jesus fulfilled and why can we know that they weren’t “written in later”?
    3. (pg. 82 bottom) Is it possible for anyone else to have fulfilled these prophecies?
  8. (pg. 84) Problem #6: The Bible Was Written by Man, and We Don’t Even Have the Originals!
    1. (pg. 84) Why doesn’t this objection work?
    2. (pg. 84) How is this similar to Darwin’s notes?
    3. (pg. 85) Why is it ridiculous to think that any handwritten notes about God are automatically to be considered false?
  9. (pg. 86) Problem #7: There Are so Many “Interpretations” and “Translations” of the Bible
    1. (pg. 86) What is the difference between an “interpretation” and a “translation”?
    2. (pg. 86-87) What is the common misconception about how we got our modern English translations of the Bible?
    3. (pg. 87) Where can you look up the pictures of the ancient manuscripts?  http://www.csntm.org/
  10. (pg. 90) Problem #8: Who Says the Bible Is True Anyway?
    1. (pg. 90) What 2 questions should you ask someone who says “who says the Bible is true anyway”?
    2. What should you say if someone asks if you’ve read the Book of Mormon or the Qur’an?
  11. (pg. 92) Problem #9: What if Someone Never Hears About Jesus?
    1. (pg. 92) Has anyone lived a “good life”?
    2. (pg. 92) What should you say to a person who brings up the problem about people who’ve never heard of Jesus?
    3. (pg. 93) Why is it important to get the focus off of “unknown people half way around the world”?
  12. (pg. 95) Problem #10: No One Can Be Sure He’s Going to Heaven.
    1. (pg. 95) How can you answer this objection in a way that points people to Jesus (and not to yourself)?
    2. (pg. 95) What’s the difference between “acting religious” and “pointing people to Jesus”?
  13. (pg. 97) Problem #11: God Could Never Forgive Me of All the Wrong I’ve Done.
    1. (pg. 97) How could you use the story of Moses, Paul or even David to minister to someone who says the above statement?
  14. (pg. 99) Problem #12: Well That’s Good for You, but It’s Not True for Everyone Else.
    1. (pg. 99) How could you give an example that if something is true, it is true whether someone knows it or not?
    2. (pg. 99-100) What would Jesus have said about the above statement? Did He make any exclusive claims in the Bible (like in the book of John)?
  15. (pg. 101) Problem #13: Well, All of the World Religions “Teach the Same Things.”
    1. (pg. 102-103) Provide an example showing that all world religions do not teach the same thing.
  16. (pg. 105) Problem #14: A Lot of People Have Had Followers Like Jesus.
    1. (pg. 105-106) How are Jesus’ followers different than those of the likes of David Koresh (Waco, TX)?
  17. (pg. 107) Problem #15: I’ve Done a Lot of Good Things.
    1. (pg. 107) What example could you give to cast doubt on the idea that people who do more good things than bad things go to heaven?
    2. (pg. 107) Why is it important to make a person see that doing good things has nothing to do with being forgiven of a crime?
    3. (pg. 108) Why does the “fine have to be paid” in order for the sin to be removed from your record?
  18. (pg. 110) Problem #16: There Are “So Many” Contradictions in the Bible
    1. (pg. 110) What question could you ask someone who claims there are a lot of Bible contradictions?
    2. (pg. 110-111) Several common examples of contradictions brought up by skeptics could be understood as ______________ rather than _______________.  What is an example?
  19. (pg. 112) Problem #17: I Don’t Like When People Push Their Religion on Me
    1. (pg. 112) It is hard to share the Gospel with someone who says this.  What question can you ask them that may open a door (or “call their bluff”)?
    2. (pg. 112) Besides someone pushing their religion on them, is there an alternative reason why someone may not want you to share your faith with them?
    3. (pg. 113) Don’t “push your religion” on them, but do what instead?
  20. (pg. 114) Problem #18: What About the Guy on Death Row?
    1. (pg. 114-116) We’re all “on death row”…  150,000 people die each day.  Does anyone really know when that final breath will come?
    2. Can you provide a biblical example of a “deathbed conversion”?
    3. What do the guy on death row and the average person have in common in God’s eyes?
  21. (pg. 117) Problem #19: What about the “Sinning Christians”? Those Hypocrites!
    1. (pg. 117) What would happen if people saw how serious their sin was in God’s eyes?
    2. (pg. 117) Is everyone who calls themselves a Christian actually a Christian?  What did Jesus say about this?
    3. (pg. 118 – top) Since Christians still sin after they become Christians, why aren’t they necessarily hypocrites?
    4. (pg. 118) What question could you ask someone to get them to consider the fairness of judging all Christians by the “hypocrites”?
  22. (pg. 120) Ending notes:
    1. (pg. 120) How are we supposed to take advantage of “the stunned moment” after answering an objection?
    2. (pg. 121) Is it always your fault if someone is not interested and just walks away from you?  What does Jesus say about this in John 7:7?
    3. (pg. 122) How do you handle an awkward pause in the conversation?  What questions can you ask?
  23. Todd Friel video – witnessing tips:
    1. Start in the natural
    2. Swing to the supernatural
    3. Open God’s Law
    4. Warn of God’s Judgment
    5. Law to the Proud, Grace to the Humble:
      1. If the sinner is proud and self-righteous, uphold the law.
      2. If the sinner is broken-hearted and contrite, offer grace.
    6. Share the Good News!
    7. Call them to repentance and faith

Unsilenced Chapter 7 ‘More Than Knowing What to Say’ (11 pages:  pg. 125-135)

  1. (pg. 125-126) How is sharing your faith mysterious?  What does Mark 4:26-29 teach regarding this?  What is our job?  What is God’s job?
  2. (pg. 128-129) What are some things you should keep in mind after long periods of sharing the gospel without seeing any results?
  3. (pg. 130) We should share what we believe about Jesus with our ________s and our ________s.
  4. (pg. 129-130) What does the phrase “Good Works: Don’t Just Do Them, Use Them” mean?
  5. (pg. 131-133) What purpose do Gospel tracts serve?
  6. (pg. 134-135) How can we be persistent in sharing our faith?

Unsilenced Chapter 8 ‘The Varsity Team’ (25 pages:  pg. 139-163)

  1. (pg. 140-142) What 2 things to Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses have in common that distinguishes them from Christians?
  2. (pg. 143-144) What does 2 Nephi 25:23 (in the Book of Mormon) say and how does that compare with Ephesians 2:8-9, Titus 3:5 and Galatians 2:21?
  3. (pg. 144-145) Did David forfeit his inheritance in heaven because of his adultery with Bathsheba, or was he saved despite his many sins?  Why and how?
  4. (pg. 145) How would you respond to the argument that Abraham was saved by good works based on James 2:21?
  5. (pg. 146) We’re not saved from _____ and don’t enter ______ by ________: only through _______.  That _______ will result in _______ because of the _________ that God gives us.
  6. (pg. 147-151) Where in the New Testament does it say that Jesus is God? Explain the difference between ‘direct references’ and ‘indirect references’.
  7. (pg. 150-151) Does the phrase ‘firstborn’ in Colossians 1:15 mean that Jesus is not eternal? What does Psalm 89:27 tell us about the phrase ‘firstborn’?
  8. (pg. 152) Why worry about people who say, “Don’t worry about me, I’m good with the Lord”?  Well, they might ___   ___________.
  9. (pg. 152) How does Matthew 7:21-23 speak about the issue?  Jesus is talking about people who ________  ________  ________  Him.
  10. (pg. 153) What is a question that you can ask a self-proclaimed “Christian” that tell you a lot in less than 10 seconds?
  11. (pg. 154) If the person says yes to the above question, but sounds shaky, what follow-up question can you ask them?
  12. (pg. 152-154) Should we just assume that every person attending church is saved? One of my favorite lines is “Tell me about ________  ____________  _________.”
  13. (pg. 156) Do you have to be knowledgeable about other religions before you can talk with someone of another religion?
  14. (pg. 158-160) Why does DNA give evidence that God exists?
  15. (pg. 159-160) In order for the first cell to replicate like Darwinists thought it did, what needed to happen with respect to DNA?  Why is that compelling evidence of intelligent design?
  16. (pg. 160) What critical thing is needed to get from a single cell to a more complex organism?
  17. (pg. 162) What is the “famous fruit fly experiment” and why doesn’t it prove Darwinian evolution?
  18. (pg. 162) The big idea to focus on is not just that there is a d_______, but w____ h_____ when you m____ H___.  Your job is not to d______ e______; it’s to l_____ p_____ to J_____ so that their sins can be f_________ and so that they can have e_____ l_____.
  19. (pg. 163) How did the conversation with the college microbiology student go?

Unsilenced Chapter 9 ‘Final Encouragement’ (4 pages:  pg. 167-170)

  1. (pg. 167)  How often should we expect discouragement and disappointment when sharing our faith?
  2. (pg. 168) How might other Christians react when you get bold and start sharing your faith?  Will other Christians always share your enthusiasm?
  3. (pg. 170) What kind of “pain” might sharing your faith bring?
  4. (pg. 170) Why don’t you take a small risk and start sharing your faith?
  5. (pg. 170) Everything you do a_______ you put your f________ in J_________ counts in e______.
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