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Do you have questions about Christianity?

April 22, 2013

I have been involved in Christian apologetics professionally for sixteen years. My interest began about twenty-eight years ago.

Something I’ve noticed about the current practice of apologetics is that we apologists, if we aren’t careful, sometimes fall into the rut of answering the same few questions that are of interest to us (or that we think we have really good answers to!). We often–or perhaps most of the time–address challenges posed by people in academia, questions that aren’t on the front burner for most people.

With that in mind, I’m tossing out the question in the title to everyone. I want to know what questions most people are asking about Christianity.

I am no great authority on all things Christian, but I do have a significant enough background that I think I can help some people understand what we believe and do. I grew up in a Christian family who attended and participated in church faithfully (a conservative Presbyterian church). I turned away from things of God as a young teenager but came back  at age 24 (I’m now 57). My education includes an undergrad degree from a Bible college which included (if I remember correctly) thirty-six hours of Bible and theology (with sixteen hours of Greek thrown into my communications major). After that I earned an MA in theology and philosophy of religion. Later I completed a master of humanities program which didn’t include Bible or theology but which helped me think about Christianity in a broader context. Since 1997 I’ve worked with an apologetics/worldview training organization where I’ve had the opportunity to think about a variety of issues related to Christianity and challenges to it.

Here are a few guidelines.

  1. This isn’t an opportunity for critics of Christianity to rant. Frankly, I don’t find those “discussions” helpful to anyone. Contemporary atheists sometimes see my attitude here as cowardice (they often use more vulgar words for it), but I see such people as simply being argumentative. There are plenty of places online for people who want to engage in an intellectual slugfest. This isn’t one of them. This is for people who are truly curious and would like some clarification or explanation.
  2. This doesn’t mean there can’t be any questioning or doubting after I give my answer! If it doesn’t ring true, come back and say so and I’ll try again. I won’t, however, let these differences drag out.
  3. This also isn’t for digging into the minutiae of Christianity theology (and certainly not for defending one school of theology against another). I’m interested in knowing what genuine questions people have about the basic beliefs and practices of this religion called Christianity that has been so formative in the West but which is unknown to or misunderstood by many people in these early years of the 21st century.
  4. I have no clue whether many or even any questions will come in; this is an experiment. My time is relatively limited, so I’ll respond as I can.
  5. If I don’t know the answer to a question, I’ll say so. I’ll do what I can to find it, but I can’t promise to satisfy everyone. I might even point people to other web sites where better (or fuller) answers can be given than I can give here.

And now, one more very important thing. Since some people really know next to nothing about Christianity, I’ll use something called the Apostles Creed as a summary of essential Christian beliefs. This isn’t to direct questions in a particular direction. It’s just so the reader can know what my basic beliefs are.

“I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

“I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, and he is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

“I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.”

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From → Apologetics, Doctrine

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