2 Specific Areas of Apologetics to Focus on in Your Women’s Ministry
- Rachel Baker Crosswalk Contributing Writer
- 2022 31 Jan
Last fall, as I began preparing materials and curriculum to include in my women’s ministry’s study on apologetics, I realized that conversations around faith might boil down to two specific topics. When talking about our Christian faith—or evangelizing—to someone who may not share our faith it might be helpful to establish a foundation for the conversation. To do this well, implementing various apologetic tools might actually help get these important and yet sometimes difficult conversations off the ground.
Before we ever engage in sharing why we have faith with unbelievers or skeptics—or even someone who is struggling within the context of their Christian faith—we need to collect data. This may sound like a dry and boring exercise, but please hear me out. By collecting data, I mean asking questions.
Some Simple Questions to Consider
Does the person you are engaging with have a faith background?
What has their experience with Christianity been like?
What do they perceive of Christianity that may or may not be true?
Have they experienced a “hurt” at the hands of the church or someone of the Christian faith?
Are they members of a different religion?
What is their cultural background?
How old are they?
Are they an atheist, agnostic, deist, or something else?
Do they consider themselves spiritual?
Do they believe in the possibility of multiple gods?
Do they consider the need for a god at all?
Gathering this type of information in the context of conversation can very well set the stage for deeper and more profound dialogue around faith. In order to get there, we probably need to start with a posture of genuine interest. If we’re engaging in conversation with the hope of simply converting someone, odds are that individual will see right through us. A wall will go up and our conversation just won’t have much fruit.
If we approach others with an interest in relational equity and seek to learn more about their perspectives and experiences, we might actually have a shot at sharing the gospel with them one day. Hear me clearly, this is not a one-and-done conversation. These types of conversations often take time, and I mean a lot of time.
If you’re in for the time and ready to make a relational investment into someone else’s life, consider implementing the following two apologetic foundations into those conversations:
1. The Need for God
Understanding the need for God’s existence is critical to any conversation around faith, whether you’re practicing those conversations in the context of your women’s ministry, or just with people in general. The premise of an existing god, or creator, could potentially take up the bulk of those faith-centered conversations. Perhaps the individual you’re sharing with grew up in an atheist home, maybe they come from a background of faith but have become disenchanted with religion and as an outcome fail to acknowledge the existence of a creator. Ultimately each of us has an opinion on the existence of a creator, whether we’re aware of it or not.
There are all sorts of incredible arguments and philosophies that point to the intentionality of our universe. Likewise, there are compelling arguments that do the opposite, so when having these conversations it can be helpful to understand the various different arguments. If you’re inspired to do a little homework or research, perhaps begin with the fine-tuning and cosmological arguments.
Study the Following Arguments in Your Small Groups & Women’s Ministry
- The Fine-Tuning Argument: The Life Permitting Range of the Universe
- The Cosmological Argument: The Causation of the Universe
- The Ontological Argument: If it is Possible that God Exists, then God Exists
- The Moral Argument: Can Mankind be Good without God?
Follow that research up with poignant questions like:
“What do you think caused our universe to come into existence?”
“Do you think that things can occur without a cause?”
“Assuming a creator or “god” did exist, do you think, that existence would need a cause?”
“Do you think our lives matter? Why or why not?”
“What gives our life purpose?”
We have to understand, that not a single one of us has the power to force a person into a belief in God. And really, what sort of conversion would a forced conversion be anyway? Inauthentic, if anything else.
What we’re striving for in asking these questions is unlocking thoughts and suppositions and long-held personal beliefs, in order to share the hope that we have in God. So, we must do our due diligence, and engage in thought-provoking and difficult conversations around the existence of God, with the hope of ultimately pointing to the life, ministry, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus.
2. The Resurrected Christ
Recently, at a Bible study summit, I taught on the personhood of Jesus. I recommended that new Christians, or individuals seeking to understand the personhood of Christ, read through the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. My suggestion was that as they read through the text they focused specifically on the words of Jesus Christ himself.
Consider the following questions:
- Who does Jesus say he is?
- How does he define his relationship with God the Father?
- How does Jesus discuss or express the Spirit?
When applying apologetics to our Bible studies and areas of personal study we can use these same questions to flush out the divinity of Christ, keeping in mind that each of these questions hinges on the crucifixion and subsequent resurrection of Christ.
During this time of study, reflection, and pondering we must hold firm to the words of Paul as expressed in 1 Corinthians 15:14, “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.”
In fact, all of our Christian faith is utterly worthless if Christ is not risen. As we dig deep into our assignments, we must be sure that we are searching on the basis of “we believe because he is risen,” not “he is risen because we believe.”
Notice the difference in the statement above. When we’re sharing our faith with others, we must hold the burden of proof upon ourselves. We must approach this conversation from a standpoint of historical accuracy when sharing with a skeptic or unbeliever. And we must ask ourselves, “does the history hold up?”
I believe that the accounts of the crucifixion, resurrection, and ultimately ascension to Heaven does hold up to scrutiny. However, a statement expressing our belief that Christ is risen may not help the skeptic along. Instead, we need to provide good evidence that what we believe is in fact true.
There is a plethora of resources available to us in the modern world to support these wildly audacious and life-altering claims. And so, I encourage you, either individually or in small groups, to do your homework. Dive deep into this area of study, apply this study to your evangelism, become a scholar of sorts and use that knowledge to give a good defense for the gospel.
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…” —1 Peter 3:14
My Favorite Resources to Get Started:
Why Do You Believe That, MaryJo Sharp
Reasonable Faith, William Lane Craig
Cross Examined, Frank Turek
Cold Case Christianity, J. Warner Wallace
Women in Apologetics
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Justin Kendra
Rachel Baker is the author of Deconstructed, a Bible study guide for anyone who feels overwhelmed or ill-equipped to study the word of God. She is a pastor’s wife and director of women’s ministries, who believes in leading through vulnerability and authenticity. She is a cheerleader, encourager, and sometimes drill-sergeant. She serves the local church alongside her husband, Kile, in Northern Nevada. They have two amazing kiddos and three dogs. Rachel is fueled by coffee, tacos, and copious amounts of cheese. For more on her and her resources to build your marriage, see her website: www.rachelcheriebaker.com or connect with her on Instagram at @hellorachelbaker.