How To Defend Your Faith When Questioned
March 17, 2011 Blogs by: Tim Jennings, M.D.

How would you advise someone who is a new convert, and is still learning Bible truth to have the confidence to defend their faith whenever another Christian come to them with false teachings?

How would you advise them to respond to the teachings they recognize are contrary to what they have learned about God, yet they don’t yet know how to recall Bible texts?

Thanks for such a great question. There are several lines of questions to ask to expose error and help discern the truth. And several anchors to hold onto when someone tries to confuse you.

Questions to ask include:

  • Those that explore the conclusion, outcome or meaning if the idea put forth were true. If that is true what would that say about God? What kind of God would God be if that idea, concept, doctrine were true? What would it mean if our loved ones are alive and watching us from heaven right now? Would a mother be happy in heaven if her child is being molested on earth?
  • Why? Why is it necessary? (i.e. why is it necessary for God to inflict torture on people? If God is love why would He do this? If God is love why does He need to be pled with by His Son to forgive? Etc.)
  • What evidence do you have for that?
  • What would Jesus do? Jesus is the exact representation of God – so always ask, what would Jesus do.
  • Ask, is the idea being quoted or claimed based on misunderstood symbolism? We are saved by the “blood of the Lamb.” We are obviously not saved by red corpuscles of an animal or of Jesus. The “blood of the Lamb” is symbolic. Jesus said in John 6 we must eat his flesh and drink his blood – ask, what does this mean? So if people put ideas forth heavy in symbolism, ask what do the symbols mean?
  • Ask, to whom was the text written, in what context, for what purpose? Not all Scripture applies to all people in all times. So ask, is this a local instruction for a particular people, in a particular place, for a particular purpose? Then ask, what was the underlying reason, or principle involved?
  • Don’t stop with “the Bible said” but ask “what does that mean?” and “how does that apply to my life?”
  • When someone quotes passages in which God is talking always ask, to whom was God talking, what was the situation, what was God trying to accomplish and then ALWAYS ask, what did God actually do? In OT scripture God frequently raised His voice and threatened unruly children, but what happened was God removed His hand of protection, at their insistent rebellion, and snakes/scorpions came in, the Assyrians and Babylonians came and destroyed, not God.
  • On the occasions when God did directly intervene – ask, “For what purpose?” Was it for the purpose the other person is suggesting? If so, why is He not doing it today? Is the situation so much better today?
  • Differentiate the proclamation statements from the historical facts of what transpired. Jesus’ life, lived out, is historical fact which enlightens and gives meaning to the text, “God is love.”

Anchors which hold us in safe paths:

  • Jesus is the lens through which we understand God
  • Jesus is the lens through which we understand Old Testament sanctuary symbolism. We don’t study the Old Testament symbols, create an elaborate scheme and then pigeonhole Jesus into our scheme, but understand the OT symbols through the life of Jesus!
  • God’s testable laws – the law of love, liberty, worship, health, nature. All God’s laws are testable and reproducible and evidence Him and His kingdom.
  • Require scripture and science to harmonize. Don’t study scripture without science nor science without scripture, doing so leads to error, humanism/evolutionism on one side, distorted theologies about God on the other side.

So, the bottom line is be a thinker, reason things out, ask questions, require sensible, and evidence based answers.

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Tim Jennings, M.D. Timothy R. Jennings, M.D., is a board-certified psychiatrist, master psychopharmacologist, Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, Fellow of the Southern Psychiatric Association, and an international speaker. He served as president of the Southern and Tennessee Psychiatric Associations and is president and founder of Come and Reason Ministries. Dr. Jennings has authored many books, including The God-Shaped Brain, The God-Shaped Heart, and The Aging Brain.
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