“Contend earnestly for the faith which was once
for all delivered to the saints.” (Jude 1:3)
One of the goals in teaching, as you already know, is to exhort your listeners with sound doctrine, explaining to them what is right. But another goal is refuting those who are wrong, those who contradict sound doctrine.
In fact, being able to do so is a requirement for pastors. Paul told Timothy:
“For the overseer must be…holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.”
Faithfully teaching God’s Word in an expository way will go a long way in helping your listeners understand and walk in sound doctrine. But they also need help seeing the errors of those who contradict sound doctrine.
As you are aware, there are a variety of groups that offer alternative, aberrant, and even heretical views of certain Scriptures (e.g., Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Muslims, homosexuals, emerging church leaders, word of faith teachers). The wise shepherd who is concerned for the wellbeing of the flock will be on the lookout for opportunities to lovingly “refute those who contradict” sound doctrine.
For example, when he comes to a verse that affirms the deity of Christ (e.g., John 8:58, 20:28), rather than just affirming what it says, he might also take the time to refute the typical Jehovah Witness response to the verse. When teaching through a passage that is commonly attacked by critics, such as God’s command to destroy the Canaanite cities (Deut. 20:16–18; Josh. 6:21), he might spend some time responding to the critics’ objections. This is preaching apologetically. This is contending for the faith (Jude 3).
Your listeners should not be getting apologetics once or twice a year when a guest speaker is brought in. They should be getting this kind of help throughout the year.
To help you contend for the faith in the pulpit, I encourage you to keep a copy of The Big Book of Bible Difficulties (previously titled When Critics Ask) by Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe on your desk. It addresses in book-by-book order, just about every passage in the Bible that the cults twist or that critics scoff at. Another helpful book is Commonly Misunderstood Bible Verses by Ron Rhodes.
This short article was excerpted from Charlie’s book
Teaching and Preaching God’s Word.
CHARLIE H. CAMPBELL
is the founder of the ABR Apologetics Ministry, a popular guest teacher at churches and conferences in the United States and internationally, and the author of several books and DVDs, some of which include:
• The Bible’s Scientific Accuracy and Foresight
• Scrolls & Stones: Compelling Evidence the Bible Can Be Trusted
• Evidence for God
• One Minute Answers to Skeptics
• Archaeological Evidence for the Bible
• Answering Atheists
• The Case for the Resurrection
• If God is Loving, Why is there Evil and Suffering?
• Homosexuality and the Bible: Answering Objections to the Biblical View
• Teaching and Preaching God’s Word
• Apologetics Quotes
WOULD YOU LIKE CHARLIE TO SPEAK AT YOUR CHURCH?
Charlie frequently speaks—free of charge—at churches, conferences, retreats, etc. If you are a pastor and would like to inquire about him speaking at your church or event, please contact ABR here and let us know the date(s) you'd be interested in, and someone will email you back shortly.