Thursday, September 29, 2011

You will die! - One approach to Christian apologetics.

Dear readers, whoever you are. 

This isn't exactly what one usually would consider when they think of defending the Christian faith; the statement, "You will die."  It's not pretty.  It's not nice.  We try not to think about it.  We try to push death out of our minds.  That's why they call them casualties and not deaths!  That's why they call them viruses, or the bird flu, or the swine flu, and not plagues!  We don't want to think about death!

To quote the Black Sabbath song, "After Forever," "When you think about death do you keep your cool?" 

Well to quote the song more, "I'll be prepared when you're lonely and scared at the end of our days."  The answer in that song by Black Sabbaath of course is "Jesus Christ is the only way to love."

I know a pastor who sets up shop at UCLA.  He shares the good news of salvation with people.  However, if a person rejects the news.  If they are complacent, if they are ambivalent, he challenges them to consider the alternatives... what if there is no God, then you die and you are in the ground.  What if there is a God?  And you have rejected him? What if that God is Jesus?  What then?  Are you so sure... do you keep your cool when you think about death?

He told one student, "Well, just remember you are going to die."  And the student left the conversation at that, but came back to him a month later and said, "Do you remember the last thing you said to me?"  The pastor did not.  The student said it had troubled him ever sense talking to the pastor.  He finally came face to face with his own personal death, and was he so sure... was he so certain that he would be reincarnated as his faith taught.  The pastor shared, Jesus will save you from that death if you trust in him and turn to him for salvation.

Part of apologetics is just properly explaining the Christian faith, and God's Word can be divided into two camps, Law, and Gospel.  God's Law shows us that we are sinners, that God's wrath is upon us and that we justly deserve his eternal punishment.  God's Gospel shows us our savior.  To learn more about Law and Gospel, click on the "What's in the Bible?" link at the top, left of this blog page and then click on the Law and Gospel article. 

So, you will die.  Worried?  Well, maybe you shouldn't be complacent?  Don't put off considering what lies beyond this life.  To be fair, I'll say look to all religions, but I'd recommend looking to Christianity first, and say this because it is objective, read 1 Corinthians 15 to know what I mean. 


  1. And That Is The Truth - -
    Believe it or Not -Jesus is God
    We are all Gonna Die -Once
    U dont gotta die Twice
    The second death Is Eternal Seperation from God.
    Psalm 34:8 - -Taste and see that the Lord is Good..
    Try Jesus...

  2. You are right. We don't have to die twice. We all will face the punishment of physical death, but we don't have to face the punishment of eternal death if are found in Christ! Amen.

    I'm sure some Christians will protest this approach because they would say that having a relationship with Jesus shouldn't be made out of fear of punishment or for escaping hell. In response, I would say, Jesus is called Savior. That is his role in the Trinity. He saves us from sin, death, and the devil, and yes, I run to him for salvation.

    Some people have to come to their senses, or to be cut to their heart - think the prodigal son or the first Christian converts in Acts 2. That comes from a heavy dose of hitting the wall and frustration of God's law, and from that conviction of sin, turning in repentance to the Father who forgives us on account of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior!

  3. I've tried it, you will lose friends (I know this from experience.

  4. Death is an absolute in a world set on ignoring absolutes. So is birth. It's no wonder that the bible uses both as an illustration entering into faith, i.e. baptism. In our postmodern, relativistic culture, using these undeniable absolutes to establish common ground, or at least parameters, is not a bad idea for an apologetic approach.

    I find the approach of "what's going to happen to you after you die" as an apologetic usually only effective for the tender- minded. This does not mean that there is anything wrong with proclaiming it to the hard-minded, as it is the truth, but it usually makes them more stubborn, in my experience.

    One approach with death that could be effective with the hard-minded is asking them "why death?". It is important to emphasize why, not how, as naturalists often want to divert the topic into the process of death. Emphasizing the why may at least put a rock in their shoe and give them something to think about, and it could provide the opportunity to explain the biblical teaching. Asking this question also provides the opportunity to point out that many world religions and worldviews look at death as something good, i.e. a bemoaned step to necessary improvement ( evolution, re-incarnation, etc.).