Apologetics for the Average Christian: Calling the Bluff

trainThe ordinary agnostic has got his facts all wrong. He is a non-believer for a multitude of reasons, but they are untrue reasons. He doubts because the Middle Ages were barbaric, but they weren’t; because Darwinism is demonstrated, but it isn’t; because miracles do not happen, but they do…because Christian art was sad and pale, but it was picked out in peculiarly bright colors and gay with gold; because modern science is moving away from the supernatural, but it isn’t, it is moving towards the supernatural with the rapidity of a railway train.

G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy.

Chesterton’s quote reminds us of an important apologetics principle–calling the bluff of the challenger. I have found that quite often unbelievers will toss out a challenge to the Christian faith that has no merit, but they are hoping the Christian won’t know better. “The Gospels have been corrupted,” they say. “There are error in the Bible.” “Jesus never claimed to be God.” “Scientists have proven that we all evolved from a single creature.”

Sometimes these statements reveal a blind trust in some authority–a college professor, a best seller by Bart Ehrman, or something they heard from other skeptics. They may not even know that such statements are not true. I flew on a plane once with a man who told me Jesus had sinned. When I asked him when Jesus sinned and where in the Bible it said so, he couldn’t give specifics. I was able to demonstrate that he was mistaken, and it cleared a hurdle for further discussion about the gospel.

It is important that Christians don’t simply accept these bluffs. Such statements can be challenged simply by asking questions like, “What makes you think that?” and “What do you base that on?” You will often find that your conversation partner can’t give any support. He may have just been bluffing, and by calling his bluff you remove one more obstacle to belief.

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