Evangelism is at the core of every relationship with Christ. At the 2017 Oklahoma State Evangelism Conference (SEC) on Jan. 30-31 at Del City, First Southern, those in attendance will hear from top evangelists and, in Frank Turek’s case, a world-renowned apologetics teacher. Turek is president of CrossExamined ministries, an award-winning author and a cultural commentator. The Baptist Messenger recently spoke with Turek, about what he will be presenting at the SEC and how evangelism and apologetics go hand-in-hand.
Messenger: Thank you for joining us to discuss your upcoming appearance at SEC Jan. 30-31. Your life’s work is Christian apologetics. Explain the link between apologetics and sharing one’s faith as evangelicals.
Frank Turek: Today it seems that apologetics, which is giving evidence for the Christian faith, is necessary in order to do evangelism with people. Fifty years ago you could say “The Bible says…” and people believed you. Today if you say that, many people dismiss the Bible and say it isn’t true, so you have to give them evidence. People now also have other objections to the Bible that make them unwilling to even consider the Bible as truth until someone can explain to them what the Bible says about hot topic issues in the world today.
Messenger: We hear about new atheists and other challenges to our faith. What are the best ways Christians can be equipped?
Turek: You need to be well-versed with the best answers to questions with which you will be confronted. CrossExamined has books, videos and an app that helps in getting equipped with the right questions and right answers to help you navigate difficult conversations you have with people.
There are only four questions you need to answer to show Christianity is true and (there are) four categories of questions you need to answer that are objections to Christianity. Then you can be effective in evangelism.
To show Christianity is true, you need to be able to answer: Does truth exist? Does God exist? Are miracles possible? Is the New Testament reliable? If yes, then you can conclude that Christianity is true. We then put questions into four categories that begin with an “E”:
1. Why is there Evil?
2. What about the Ethics in the Bible? Meaning why is there slavery in the world? Why did God kill the Canaanites?
3. Is Evolution true? What does the Bible say against it?
4. What about Eternity? Will God send me to hell because I don’t believe in Him?
People have a difficult time accepting in their heart what they doubt in their minds. If you can get good at providing evidence for the four questions and get good at answering the four E’s then you are prepared to evangelize.
1 Peter 3:15 says, “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” It is not just an option, we are commanded to be able to give an answer when questioned.
Messenger: You developed the phrase I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist, what do you mean by that and what does that phrase mean to you?
Turek: It plays on the definition of faith that our culture thinks is the true definition. Culture thinks you believe something against the evidence, it’s blind. That’s what people think faith is. Biblical faith is trusting in what you have good evidence to believe is true.
Using that definition that faith is blind. When you look at reality, you realize that there is a lot of evidence for the Christian world view, and you only need a little bit of faith.
When it comes to the atheistic view, you need a lot more faith to believe there is no God and completely overlook all of that evidence. Everyone thinks religious people have a lot more faith than atheists, but they (atheists) have to believe everything just happened, without a cause. Whereas people saw the resurrected Christ and went to their death proclaiming it, because it really happened.
Three out of every four Christian young adults leave the church once they leave the home. The number one reason is they begin to doubt intellectually why Christianity is true. So if we’re losing three out of four kids, we have to change the way we are doing church based on emotions. Emotion won’t get you through a hostage college professor trying to talk you out of your faith.
Turek will speak on Tues. Jan. 31 at SEC in the evening session, which begins at 6:30 p.m. He will address miracles. Turek will explain how, not only are miracles possible, but the greatest miracle of all has already occurred and there is scientific evidence for it.
There is no cost to attend SEC. To pre-register, visit www.bgco.org/sec.