Apologetics Series Handouts

Apolgetics Series

Allison Tobola Low, MD, MA 

Apologetics

*1 Pet 3:15 = Always be prepared to give a defense to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence

What is it?

-Giving logical, reasonable and Scriptural proofs for the faith

-Do not lose sight of the person you are speaking with

-Primary goal is to share the Gospel and help others to encounter Christ more deeply

-The Church always proposes and never imposes. The Church also never compromises the truth

*Pope BXVI: “Charity without truth would be blind; truth without charity would be like a clanging cymbal.” “Without truth charity slides into sentimentalism. Love becomes an empty shell to be filled arbitrarily.”

Keys with dialogue:

-Be joyful not angry. Always be an authentic witness of Christianity in words and how you live

-Do not criticize or condemn. Always be loving and respectful

-Be compassionate

-Find common ground and build from there

-Never forget the Holy Spirit is the primary evangelizer. My job is to plant seeds and leave the rest to the HS to work in their hearts as conversion is the work of the HS alone.

-Be prepared: know the faith, respond to some questions, have resources where they can find answers

-Define terms to help with dialogue

-Understand what your opponent believes

Christian Denominations

Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary evaluated data and determined as of the year 1800 there were 500 denominations, the year 2008 there were 39,000 and as of 2014 there were 45,000.

 

Comparison: The Founders

Catholic Church – Jesus Christ

1517 Martin Luther, Germany = Lutherans

1534 King Henry VIII, England = Anglicans

1555 John Calvin, Switzerland = Calvinists

1560 John Knox, Scotland = Presbyterians

1605 John Smyth, Amsterdam = Baptist

1744 John and Charles Wesley, England = Methodist

1789 Samuel Seabury, America = Episcopalians

1827 Alexander Campbell, Kentucky = Disciples of Christ, Church of Christ

1865 William Booth, London = Salvation Army

1901 Charles Parham, Kansas = Assemblies of God (Pentecostal Movement)

1975 Chuck Smith, California = Calvary Chapel

 

Christian denominations Timeline Graphic (click for link/image)

 

Summary of Some Beliefs (Generalizations for the different faith traditions are given as there can be variations found even within a given denomination)

 

Pentecostals, example: Assemblies of God

*Authority: Bible is the infallible sole rule of faith / the only authority necessary

*Salvation: assured but conditional based on continued faith and repentance (influenced by the Holiness Movement)

*Sanctification: Is a process, separating from evil ways and turning to God

*The Church: Invisible, made up of all believers / all Christians

*Baptism: Immersion only, “ordinance” for the saved, outward sign of faith/symbolic only

*Holy Communion: “ordinance”, open to all, symbolic sharing of the divine nature of Jesus and memorial of His suffering and death

*“Baptism in the Holy Spirit”: Should seek this as it is a distinct experience of salvation; evidence of this is speaking in tongues and other gifts

 

Baptist; example Southern Baptist Convention

*Authority: Bible is the infallible sole rule of faith / the only authority necessary; doctrines should be explicitly present

*Salvation: Saved by grace through faith alone in Jesus Christ

*Substitutionary Atonement = Jesus Christ died as a substitute for sinful humanity by taking on Himself all the guilt and punishment of sin

*All true believers endure to the end and will never fall away

*Sanctification: Is a process, separating from evil ways and turning to God

*The Church: Invisible, made up of all believers / all Christians

*Baptism: Not necessary but if done immersion only and is symbolic of faith

*Holy Communion: “Lord’s Supper”; Symbolic, act of obedience to commemorate the Lord’s death, varies how often done

*Priesthood of all believers: Laymen have same rights to preach and serve as the ordained

*Other: Influenced by Evangelicalism Movement

 

Lutheran

*Authority: Bible is the infallible sole rule of faith / the only authority necessary; Luther taught Bible is clear, literal, explicit and straightforward so anyone can interpret with guidance of the Holy Spirit [some debate on this now]

*Salvation: saved by grace alone through faith but good works are the natural result

*Substitutionary Atonement = Jesus Christ died as a substitute for sinful humanity by taking on Himself all the guilt and punishment of sin

*Good Works: Good works are the fruits of faith, if absent faith is absent but good works have no role in salvation

*No longer compelled to keep God’s laws but encouraged to freely and willingly love God and serve others

*If truly aware of seriousness of sin, repentant and have faith you cannot fall away. Those who can fall away are those who lack understanding of sin and who either do as they please or think their works can earn salvation

*Sanctification: Is a process, separating from evil ways and turning to God

*The Church: Invisible, made up of all believers but also visible and they are that Church

*Baptism: Infants and adults, rebirth, necessary

*Holy Communion: Consubstantiation / Sacramental Union; Real Presence but not transubstantiation and not merely symbolic

*Holy Orders: pastors are ordained; pastors preach/catechize, administer Sacraments (Baptism and Holy Communion) and pastors hear confessions

*Their views on “apostolic succession” vary across the world; some hold they have it through the bishops, others are indifferent

*Other: Liturgical

*Original Sin: Original Sin is the chief sin committed by Adam and Eve and the root of all actual sins humanity commits and now people are unable to avoid sin; sinners can do outwardly good things but no good works can satisfy God’s justice; every human thought and action infected with sin thus everyone deserves hell. But because of love Jesus Christ became man and died on the cross for our sins and was the perfect satisfaction and reconciliation of humanity. By God’s grace made known in Jesus Christ one is forgiven, adopted as God’s son and saved. Jesus Christ covered all our disobedience embedden in our nature so that it is not reckoned as condemnation but is pardoned and forgiven

*Honor Saints in heaven, believe they pray for us; reject practice of asking them to pray for us

 

Methodist

Split from Church of England; Variations in beliefs/practices

*Authority: Bible is the infallible sole rule of faith / the only authority necessary

*Salvation: Saved by grace through faith alone in Jesus Christ; Reject eternal security

*Faith and good works inseparable but not earning salvation; Similar idea of grace to Catholics

*Sanctification: Is a process, being transformed and made holy by grace

*The Church: All believers belong to an invisible Church but there is also a visible Church through which you hear the Word of God and receive the Sacraments (they are a part of it)

*Baptism: Sacrament; Sign of faith and sign of regeneration, initiates the covenant, enter the Church, means of grace

*Holy Communion: Sacrament; Real Presence of Jesus Christ (Holy Communion); Bread is the sign of the crucifixion and blood is the sign of the blood shed; Not transubstantiation, but in some sense a Real Presence [it was explained to me that the belief is that it is mere bread and wine when on the table but becomes Christ one you consume the blessed bread and wine]. This is seen as a means of grace, reception is open to all

*They also perform Confirmation, Holy Orders, Holy Matrimony, funerals, Anointing of the Sick BUT these are not considered “Sacraments”

*Other: High Church versus Low Church liturgically

*Other: Influenced by Holiness Movement = Christian (one born again) can attain holiness which is being free from original sin or depravity possible by the Holy Spirit; becoming perfect in love; it does not mean one will not face temptation; must continue to pray and repent; able to choose not to sin; one can lose salvation

*Other: Recognize historic creeds; Do not pray to Saints, do not believe in purgatory or relics

*Hierarchy: ordained ministers are elders and deacons; bishops are certain elders consecrated to fulfill an episcopal function

*Hold they have “apostolic succession” through John Wesley; this is the handing down of the teachings of Christ through the Apostles and then through the ordained ministers though they hold it does not have to be a bishop specifically (can be priest or bishop)

 

Reformed (from Calvinism but many variations); examples Presbyterian, United Church of Christ

*Authority: Bible is the infallible sole rule of faith / the only authority necessary; vary on views about inerrancy

*Salvation: Saved by grace through faith alone in Jesus Christ

*Substitutionary Atonement = Jesus Christ died as a substitute for sinful humanity by taking on Himself all the guilt and punishment of sin; Christ died in our place so believer can be accounted righteous

*Total Depravity = because of original sin our nature including our will is sinful and cannot avoid sinning, though outwardly good things can be done their sinful intentions affect nature and actions so not pleasing to God

*Justification = God pardons sin of believers, arises by God’s free act

*Sanctification = God makes believer holy

*Good works: sign of faith but not necessary for salvation

*The Church: Invisible, made up of all believers / all Christians but also a visible Church and they are the true Church

*Baptism: Infants/adults; entry into visible Church; sign and seal of the covenant graces

*Holy Communion: not symbol, Real Presence but Spiritual presence of Jesus Christ

*Other: “Double Predestination” = Because of depravity God predestined some to be saved and others to be condemned; unconditional not based on the person

*Other: No icons, no musical instruments, only worship based on what is found in the Bible; initially liturgical but now varies among groups

*Do have “ministers” (elders/pastors/overseers/bishops) who administer the “sacraments” and church discipline

*“5 Point Calvinism” [Not all agree with all 5 points]

T – Total Depravity = enslaved to sin, not by nature inclined to love God, unable to choose God

U – Unconditional Election = God has chosen from all eternity those He will save based on God’s mercy alone not on the person, if not chosen received deserved wrath

L – Limited Atonement = Jesus’ substitutionary atonement was definite and certain but only sins of the elect atoned for. Hold this because believe that if God intends something He will make it happen so those God intends to be saved, He will provide the means for this; God cannot desire something and it not happen. They hold that when Jesus died on the cross it would not have been in vain. We also know that not all will be saved as the Bible tells us. Therefore, since not all are saved not all were intended to be saved and thus Jesus death on the cross was only for those God intended to save – the elect. The others were not intended to be saved and thus Jesus did not die to redeem us all but only to redeem the elect.

I – Irresistible Grace = efficacious grace; grace applied to the elect and overcomes their resistance to obeying the gospel bringing them to a saving faith; HS cannot be resisted and HS graciously causes the elect to cooperate, believe, repent and follow Christ

P – Perseverance of the Saints = the elect God has called will persevere in until the end, cannot fall away

 

Restorationism; examples: Disciples of Christ

Restore the apostolic early Church; rejection of creeds; abandon denominations

*Authority: Bible is the infallible sole rule of faith / the only authority necessary

*Salvation: Saved by grace through faith alone in Jesus Christ

*Sanctification: Is a process, separating from evil ways and turning to God

*The Church: Invisible, made up of all believers / all Christians

*Baptism: adults who believe and repent, it is necessary for salvation, receive the HS and forgiveness of sins, immersion, regenerative

*Holy Communion: “Lord’s Supper”; Symbolic, to be held first day of every week

 

*Other: Restorationism: Church of Christ

*In addition to above, believe they are the one true Church found by Christ and believe have existed since the time of Jesus (claim because have “Christ” in their name this is proof)

*Need to be a member of the Church of Christ to be saved

*No creed as all beliefs are evident in the Bible

*Adamantly reject use of musical instruments

*Baptism is necessary for salvation and is only immersion and not for infants

*Elders/presbyters are the overseers and governing body chosen by local congregations and serving under them are deacons, teachers, evangelists and ministers

*Reject idea of apostolic succession through the bishops

 

Anglican

British monarch is the Supreme Governor of Church, no role outside of England, largely appoints bishops; others with local governing structure; Archbishop of Cantebury precedence of honor, first among equals, chairs Lambeth Conference; no international jurisdiction/organization; all autonomous but collaborative

**The Episcopal Church is the American province of the global Anglican communion

*There are divisions within Anglicans and Episcopalians as to beliefs especially related to the Liturgy/Sacraments and Morality

*Authority: Bible is the infallible rule of faith but also look to reason and tradition

*Salvation: Saved by grace through faith alone in Jesus Christ

*Justification: views vary [some retain a Catholic understanding, some strongly influenced by Protestantism]

*Sanctification: Is a process, being made holy

*The Church: they believe they are a part of the one true visible Church founded by Christ

*Baptism: infants and adults, necessary for salvation, receive the HS and forgiveness of sins, regenerative

*Holy Communion: varies High Church versus Low Church

*Hierarchy: Bishops, priests, deacons, they believe they have “apostolic succession”

*High Church versus Low Church –

High Church – No magisterium, Book of Common Prayer is key with all doctrines; Liturgical with Mass, vestments, clergy, 7 Sacraments; believe they have the Eucharist which they hold to be the Real Presence (believe it is “transubstantiation”); observe Eucharistic adoration; rosary; intercession of Saints

Low Church – Influenced by the Reformed movement; More evangelical; emphasize baptism and the Eucharist but other Sacraments are considered “lesser rites”; worship less liturgical; sometimes support reformed views rejecting candles/incense/bells/vestments; believe in the “Real Presence” but more like Luther’s view of a spiritual presence / “sacramental union”

 

“Nondenomiational”

Various tenets – usually combinations from the other various traditions, varies locally or regionally

 

Morality

Great variation among Protestants even among specific denominations

Example: Stance on Marriage

Sanction Same-Sex Marriage: Episcopal Church of the United States, Evangelical Luther Church in America, Presbyterian Church (USA), United Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ

Support Traditional Marriage: American Baptist Churches, Assemblies of God, Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, National Baptist Convention, Southern Baptist Convention, United Methodist Church, Presbyterian Church in America

 

Topic: Common Objection = Authority

Unity and Truth

*Rom 16:17 = take note of those who create dissensions and difficulties in opposition to the doctrines which you have been taught; avoid them, for such persons do not serve the Lord

*1 Cor 12:25-26 = we are one body in Christ and “I appeal to you…that there be no discord/dissensions among you that you be united in the same mind and same judgment”

*1 Tim 2:4 = God desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of truth

*1 Cor 14:33 = God is not a God of confusion but of peace

*Jude 1:3 – the faith was once for all handed on to the holy ones (Jesus gave the fullness of truth)

*John 17:17-23 = Jesus prays that all may be one

*Eph 4:5 = one Lord, one faith, one baptism

*1 Cor 12:12-13 (also 1 Cor 10:17; Rom 12:5) = we are only one body in Christ

*2 Thess 3:6 = Keep away from any brother not in accord with traditions you received from us

Source of Truth?

*2 Tim 3:16 = All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, reproof, correction and for training in righteousness…

*1 Tim 3:15 = …the Church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth

*Eph 3:10 = through the Church the manifold wisdom of God might be made known…

*Eph 1:23 = the Church which is His (Christ’s) Body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all

Did Jesus establish a Church?

*Matt 16:18 = “I tell you, you are Peter and on this rock I will build MY CHURCH” (singular)

*Matt 18:17 = if there is an unresolved dispute, “take it to THE CHURCH” (singular)

*We see the above in action when there is a dispute in the early Church regarding the necessity of circumcision for Christians. How is this dispute is settled? They take it to the Church – Acts 15.

Apostles and Church Leaders Hand on Truths Revealed by Christ And This Was Primarily Done Orally 

*1 Thess 2:13 = …the word of God which you heard from us…it really is, the word of God

*2 Thess 2:15 = hold to traditions you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter

*1 John 4:6 – whoever knows God listens to us, and he who is not of God does not listen to us

*2 John 12 – John has “much to write” but says he instead will come to teach them face to face

*Matt 28:18-20 = go, make disciples, baptizing, teaching them to observe all I have commanded

*Mark 16:15 = Go into all the world and preach the gospel

*Luke 10:16 – he who hears you hears me

*John 20:30; 21:25 – not everything Jesus did or taught was written down

Fullness of Truth Given, Protected and Handed Down Through Apostles and Their Successors

*John 14:26 – the Spirit will teach you all things, bring to your remembrance all I have said

*John 16:13 – when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you to all truth

*Matt 16:18 (to Peter); Matt 18:18 (to the Twelve) – “whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven”

*John 14:16 – “the Holy Spirit will be with you (the Apostles) always”

*Matt 28:20 – “I (Jesus) will be with you (the Apostles) always”

*John 14:18 – “I (Jesus) will not leave you (the Apostles) orphans”

*Matt 7:24-27 – Jesus the wise man builds His house (the Church) on rock, it does not fall

*Matt 16:18 – on this rock I will build my Church, the gates of hell will not prevail against it

*Acts 1:20 – “Let his bishopric/office another one take”

*1 Tim 3:1 – “if a man desire the bishopric/office of bishop…”

*Col 1:25 – “…the Church of which I became a minister according to the divine office which was given to me for you to make the word of God fully known…”

*Acts 20:28 – (to church leaders) “take heed to yourselves and to all the flock in which the Holy Spirit has made you bishops to feed the Church of the Lord…”

*1 Tim 6:20 – “Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you”

*2 Tim 1:12-14 – I am sure that He (Christ) is able to guard…what has been entrusted to me…(Timothy) guard the truth entrusted to you by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us

*Titus 1:5 – this is why I (Paul) left you in Crete…appoint presbyters/elders in every town

*2 Tim 2:2 – …and what you have heard from me…entrust to other faithful men who will be able to teach others also…

 

The Bible reveals there are four marks (necessary characteristics) of the one true Church founded by Jesus Christ: His Church is one, holy, catholic (universal) and apostolic (leaders can trace themselves back in an unbroken line of succession to the Apostles). Christians have recognized these marks from the very beginning and we even profess this still today in the Nicene Creed, written in the 4th century: “…We believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.”

Since Jesus promised to always protect His Church we can know that His Church still exists today. Since Jesus’ Church is the source we are to look to in order to settle disputes when they arise, His Church is going to be a visible / identifiable Church. Jesus gives absolute truths so His Church will not teach contradictions and will have one faith – one set of truths – that have been handed down for almost 2000 years. Jesus also built His Church on the Apostle Peter, giving him a primacy among the other Apostles in regards to authority (Matt 16:18; Luke 22:31-32; John 21:15-17). And Peter and the Apostles faithfully handed on the faith without error, appointing successors throughout the world to continue guarding the deposit of faith. So among the thousands upon thousands of churches that claim to be the Church founded by Jesus Christ, which one of these thousands is HIS Church bearing ALL four marks?

The answer – The Catholic Church.

 

A Few Quote from the Church Fathers

Bishop Ignatius of Antioch, 110 AD, Letter to the Smyrnaeans: “Wherever the bishop shall appear there let the multitude be, even as where Jesus Christ is there is the Catholic Church.”

Bishop Irenaeus of Lyon, 180AD: “It is within the power of all, therefore, in every Church who may wish to see the truth to contemplate clearly the tradition of the apostles manifested throughout the whole world; and we are in a position to reckon up those who were by the apostles instituted by bishops in the churches and to demonstrate the succession of these men to our own times; those who neither taught nor knew of anything like what these heretics rave about.” He continues by saying the Apostles were establishing men as their successors in these various churches so why would they hide any mysteries from these men as it was their mission to build up the Church universal. These bishops would have been given the fullness of truth. He will also say that we can identify the true Church by looking to the leaders of the various churches and see which can trace itself in an unbroken line back to the Apostles. He says there is only one Church that can do that as in the Catholic Church all bishops can trace their ordination back to the Apostles. He then gives the example of the bishop of Rome and shows how the current pope of his time can trace his ordination back to St. Peter. (Against Heresies, Book III, Ch. 3, 1-3)

Origen (3rd century): As there are many who claim to know what belongs to Christ and some of them do not agree with others about many things, let everyone keep the Church preaching (Tradition), which was delivered to us by the Apostles by order of succession and which continues to remain in the Churches up to the present day. The only truths that must be believed are those which do not differ in anything from the Ecclesiastical and Apostolic Tradition. (De Principiis, praef, N. 2)

Vincent of Lerins 5th century: Because not all accept Sacred Scripture in the same sense on account of its loftiness; but this one and that give the sayings of Scripture so many different significations that there are almost as many minds as there are men…Consequently it is absolutely necessary that on account of so many errors, the line of prophetic and apostolic interpretation must be drawn according to the direction of the Ecclesiastical and Catholic sense. (Commonit., C. II) We must hold what has been held always, everywhere and by all; this is truly and properly Catholic…this can be obtained if we follow universality, antiquity, consent. (N.3)

 

Salvation

Have you been saved?

“Yes, I’ve been saved the Bible way – through the gift of God’s grace. But this salvation is a process as Scripture tells us – so I have been saved as in Eph 2:8/Rom 8:24; I am in the process of being saved and remaining in the right relationship with God as in 1 Cor 1:18, 1 Cor 15:1-2, 2 Cor 2:15 and Phil 2:12; and I hope to be saved by remaining faithful to Christ as in Matt 24:13, Mk 13:13, 1 Cor 3:15 and 2 Cor 7:10. And I must persevere to the end as in Heb 3:14, 1 Cor 9:27, 1 Cor 10:12 and Rom 11:22, otherwise I will be “disqualified” and “cut off”. By cooperating with God’s grace I can have faith and good works. This process includes being baptized in obedience to Christ as in 1 Pt 3:21, Gal 3:27 and Rom 6:3-4. I must also persevere in my faith and good works throughout my earthly life. My salvation past, present and future is all through the grace of Jesus Christ. I simply must respond to the love given to me.”

Definitions:

Salvation

Redemption

Atonement

Justification

Sanctification

Grace

Common Objection: Saved By Faith Alone Not Works:

Passages Used in Support of “Saved by Faith Not Works”:

*Romans 3:28: For we see that a person is justified by faith apart from works of the law.    

*Ephesians 2:8-9: For by grace you are saved through faith and not of yourselves, for it is the gift of God. Not of works that no man may boast.

*Rom 10:9: For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.

Passages to use in Response:

*Matt 19:16 “Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good work must I do to get eternal life?” Jesus replied “If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.”

*Romans 2:13 “For it is not the hearers of the law who are just before God but the doers of the law who will be justified.”

*Romans 2:8: “To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life”

*Matthew 25:34–40, “Then the King will say to those at His right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world, for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink…as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.”

*Matt 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven”

*John 15: Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. Jesus says we must abide in Him AND we must bear fruit. If we do not bear fruit we will be broken off of the vine and thrown into the fire and burned. Works/fruit are necessary, if you have faith without works you will be thrown into the fires of hell.

*1 Cor. 13:1-3, 13 = “…if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing…So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love”

*Jn 3:36 = “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life but the wrath of God rests upon him.”

*James 2:14-26 = “What does it profit my brethren if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him?…So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead…But some will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works and I by my works will show you my faith. You believe God is one, you do well. Even the demons believe and shudder. Do you want to be shown (do you want proof), you foolish fellow, that faith apart from works is barren? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works…You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone…For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead.”

Another Passage used for “faith alone”: Romans 10:8-10 says that “if you confess that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For man believes with his heart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so he is saved.” All that I must do is accept Jesus into my heart and confess that He is God and I am saved.

Response:

Faith saves us yes, but what is faith? Faith is possible only by grace (Eph 2:8-9). It is a faith that involves obedience to God (Jn 3:36; Rom 1:5). It is a faith that works through love (Gal 5:6). Paul even tells us that in this new covenant we are under a law of faith (Rom 3:27-31) and this law is fulfilled in love (Rom 13:10). And Paul tells us because of the divine life now within us we are enabled to be obedient to God’s law (Rom 8:4). Grace is a gift that enables us to have faith and be obedient which includes loving God and our neighbor and this is all tied up together, these are intertwined. They all have a role in our salvation. We are saved by grace alone but our faith and obedience and other good works are evidence of our cooperation with this grace. It is not a matter of earning one’s salvation: that has been done once and for all by Jesus Christ on Calvary (Heb 7:27, 10:10). But we must accept the gift of grace and “work out our salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12).

Common Objection: “Once you are saved you cannot fall away”:

Passages they use to support this idea:

*They use: Jn 10:27-28 – “My sheep hear my voice and I know, they follow me, I give eternal life to them, they shall never perish and no one will snatch them out of my hand”

Response: Amen, nothing external can force/coerce me out of God’s hand but I can freely choose to reject God/walk away. When I sin I am freely choosing to separate myself from the love of God. This passage does not mention anything about this reality. Additionally, the tense of the Greek word used for “they follow me”, is an active tense indicating this applies to those in the present, actively choosing to be a disciple of Jesus at that moment in time.

*They use: Rom 8:31-39 – “If God is for us who is against us…Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?…Nothing present or things to come, no powers, nor any other created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God”

Response: Again, this passage speaks nothing of my free choice to sin and walk away from God. No created thing – no human person, no fallen angel, etc. – can separate me from God’s love without my free choice in the matter. These created things can tempt me to sin but cannot force me to sin, however, once I make the free choice to commit a mortal sin, I have chosen to separate myself from the love of God.

Passages to use in Response to the idea that you cannot lose your salvation:

*1 Tim 5:15 – “For some have already strayed after Satan”

*Heb 19:26-27 – “For if we deliberately sin after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful prospect of judgment…”

*1 Cor 9:27, Paul talks about how he is running this race to win but he is careful so that he is not disqualified

*1 Cor 10:12 – “Therefore whoever thinks he is standing secure should take care not to fall.”

*1 Tim 1:18-19 – “I entrust this charge to you Timothy…Through them may you fight a good fight by having faith and a good conscience.  Some, by rejecting conscience, have made a shipwreck of their faith.”

*2 Tim 4:3-5 – “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

*Prodigal Son – Lk 15:11-32 [Verses 24 and 32 are key: For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found”]

*Luke 8:13 – Sower and the Seed: Some fell onto the Path, Rock, Thorns and then Good Soil. When explaining this parable Jesus says the seed on the rock represents those who have heard the Word of God, received it with joy, they believe for awhile but because it has no root then with temptations they fall away

*2 Peter 2:20-22 = “For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them. It has happened to them…’the dog returns to its own vomit’ and ‘a sow after washing returns to wallowing in the mire’.”  (This last line refers to a sow after washing, this is baptism! Then says that by becoming entangled the baptized person, or sow in this analogy, returns to the mud!)

*Heb 3:12-14 = “Take care brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God…For we share in Christ, if only we hold our first confidence firm to the end.”

In Hebrews there is the comparison with the Exodus narrative and Heb 3:18-4:16 exhorts the Christians to not be like the Israelites – they had received the good news but did not enter the Promised Land because of disobedience and unbelief

*Romans 11:22 = “See, then, the kindness and severity of God: severity toward those who fell, but God’s kindness to you, provided you remain in his kindness; otherwise you too will be cut off.”

 

Resource Recommendations:

Topic: Doctrine/Theology

Theology and Sanity, by Frank Sheed

Introduction to Christianity by Cardinal Ratzinger

Mere Christianity by CS Lewis

Topic: Apologetics/Answers for Non-Catholics

Unabridged Christianity, by Fr. Mario Romero

The Essential Catholic Survival Guide, by Catholic Answers

Catholicism and Fundamentalism, by Karl Keating

A Biblical Defense of Catholicism, by Dave Armstrong                                                     

Beginning Apologetics Series by Fr. Chacon and Jim Burnham

Topic: Atheists and non-Christians

Answering Atheism by Trent Horn (on atheism)

The Last Superstition by Edward Feser (on atheism)

Inside Mormonism (former Mormon) by Isaiah Bennet

Jehovah Witnesses Answered Verse by Verse (former JW) by David Reed (also “Subject by Subject”)

Topic: Apologetics = The Bible

Why Catholic Bibles are Bigger, by Gary Michuta

The Case for the Deuterocanon by Gary Michuta

Where We Got the Bible by Henry Graham

Topic: Church History

Compact History of the Catholic Church, by Alan Schreck

History of the Catholic Church by James Hitchcock

Bearing False Witness: Debunking Centuries of Anti-Catholic History by Rodney Stark

How the Church Built Western Civilization by Thomas Woods

Topic: Intro to Understanding Scripture

Walking With God, by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins

A Father Who Keeps His Promises, by Scott Hahn

Does the Bible Really Say That?, by Patrick Madrid

Topic: Church Fathers

The Four Witnesses, by Rod Bennett

The Fathers of the Church, by Mike Aquilina

The Fathers Know Best, by Jimmy Akin

The Mass of the Church Fathers, by Mike Aquillina

CDs

Staples vs Gregg Debate

Jimmy Swaggert Made Me Catholic, by Tim Staples

The Sword of the Spirit, by Tim Staples

The Gospel Truth About Mary, by Tim Staples

Websites:

http://www.catholic.com/radio/calendar

www.ewtn.com (radio program: Called to Communion)

www.biblechristiansociety.com

www.calledtocommunion.com

http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/audio.htm

*Cathedral of Immaculate Conception in Tyler, Adult Faith Formation: http://www.thecathedral.info/pages/faith-formation/adult-faith-formation/past-adult-faith-formation-classes

*Institute of Catholic Culture: www.instituteofcatholicculture.org/complete-library

*Short Videos for Kids/Teens, check out: www.pillarandfoundation.com/catholic-videos

* http://streetevangelization.com/dallas/  (scroll down and on left hand column will see where you can download audio files of Dr. David Anders from EWTN responding to various topics)

 

Addendum:

Is this found in Scripture? Yes or No?

______ “‘And when we heard the call to guidance, we believed in it. And he who believes in his Lord has no fear of loss or injustice. And some of us submit to God and some of us have deviated from the right course. And those who submit to God — it is these who seek the right course.’”

______ “Boast not of tomorrow, for you know not what any day may bring forth. Let another praise you–not your own mouth; Someone else–not your own lips. Stone is heavy, and sand a burden, but a fool’s provocation is heavier than both. Anger is relentless, and wrath overwhelming– but before jealousy who can stand? Better is an open rebuke than a love that remains hidden. Wounds from a friend may be accepted as well meant, but the greetings of an enemy one prays against.”

______ “Wherefore, a man being evil cannot do that which is good; neither will he give a good gift. For behold, a bitter fountain cannot bring forth good water; neither can a good fountain bring forth bitter water; wherefore, a man being a servant of the devil cannot follow Christ; and if he follow Christ he cannot be a servant of the devil. Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually. But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.”

______ “O daughter of Babylon you devastator! Happy shall he be who repays you with what you have done to us! Happy shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!”

_____ “O you who have chosen to be graced with belief! Stand up firmly for justice, witnesses for God, even if it is against yourselves, your parents and your relatives, and whether the case is of a rich person or poor person. God is nearer to them than you are. Do not follow your emotions lest you fall short of justice. If you distort your testimony or turn away God is aware of all your actions.”

How do you interpret this sentence:

“I never said you stole the money”

 

4 comments on “Apologetics Series Handouts”

  1. JAMES PENDER Reply

    I ran into your talks on Apologetics surfing you tube. They are the most comprehensible
    that I have listen to. Great Job!!

    Thank You
    In Christ Jesus
    James Pender

    • Allison Reply

      Thank you! I am glad you found them helpful! God bless!
      In Christ,
      Allison

    • Allison Reply

      Thank you! And yes! Amen! God’s grace is an awesome gift!
      God bless!
      Allison

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