Principles for Engaging People on the Truth of Christianity

Apologetics is a large topic. I know. I wrote a 752 page book on it called Christian Apologetics. However, several foundational principles can equip you to interact wisely on the matter whether Christianity is true, rational, and pertinent to live. Here are a few.

1. Listen to what they think about Christianity and to what their own worldview is and why.
2. Be patient. Try not to rush in with the Gospel at a the wrong time.
3. Explain those aspects of Christianity that are pertinent in that discussion.
4. Live a life that causes people to ask you what you believe and why.
5. Know the content of the Bible.
6. Study the religions and worldviews that are most available in your situtation, so that you are ready to discuss them.
7. Whether or not you are a philosopher or professional apologist, read apologetics books regularly. All Christians are to be defenders of the faith (1 Peter 3:1`5-16).
8. Evaluate your own Christian worldview to find where it is strong and weak. Work on making the weak places stronger.
9. Pray at all times (Eph. 6:19).
10. Work with others who are apologetically engaged. Contend together for the truth.
11. Give people some appropriate literature to read, but do not throw books at people. That is a waste of money and is overly aggressive.
12. Perhaps suggest that your interlocuter read some portion of the Bible that fits with the conversation.

Author: Douglas Groothuis

Author of Christian Apologetics, Truth Decay, On Jesus, On Pascal, and others. Professor of Philosophy, Denver Seminary since 1993. Head of The Apologetics and Ethics Masters Degree Program and Co-Director of The Gordon Lewis Center for Christian Thought and Culture. Senior Fellow for Apologetics.com.

4 thoughts

  1. Dr. Groothuis,

    Why the sudden flood of images on your new blog? Before your used to write about “the humiliation of the Word” through overuse of images. Have you slid in your principles?

    Now your blog is just one of many image soaked media sites.
    The layout of your new site resembles a website like TMZ where the focus is on the images and media, not the words.

    Your old blog was arresting because of its emphasis upon words. This new approach no longer gives privilege to text. I lament this.

    Dan

  2. “Principles for Engaging…” Indeed! I call it Q&A Evangelism. Everyone asks a question concerning the reason for our hope. Some do it with sincerity, while others do it with ridicule and a sneer on the lip. Nevertheless, both are asking for the reason of our hope just as they did with Paul in Athens. Paul segues from his opening salvo about the standing idols in the market square through the philosophical nitpicks tossed around to the gospel. Those who ridiculed Paul as a babbler used philosophy as their career or past time. But their reason was evident: seeking for hope. Paul presented that hope, and they raised a defense mechanism: ridicule. Many stayed around to hear more.

  3. What do you think about asking people the following? If one were talking with a total stranger, I don’t think the following questions should be the first things to say in order to start a conversation. I was thinking of asking them after a conversation was started.

    What do you think happens after people die? How do you know that? How did death come into existence in the first place? Would you like to hear what the Bible says about that?

    If a person asks about why he should believe what the Bible says about death or life after death, then one can give reasons why he believes that the Bible is the word of God.

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