Monday, November 12, 2007

Addressing Objections to Christianity

In a recent post on the blog, Steve Mathewson raises the idea of addressing objections to Christianity. In part, he says,

"One of the ways that I’m trying to speak to the non-believers who attend our worship services is to take a couple minutes in each sermon to address an objection to Christianity. I got this idea from Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC. He points out that almost every text we preach speaks to one of the major objections to Christianity.

"Tim Keller identifies six objections to Christianity. He calls them “defeater beliefs.” That is, these are six reasons why people argue that Christianity can not be true. Recently, I’ve been trying to address one of them in every sermon I preach. Here is a paraphrase of the six objections.

1. Christianity is not superior to other religions; there are many ways to God.
2. Evil and suffering argue against a God who is powerful, good, or loving.
3. Truth is a personal matter, not something the Bible can legislate.
4. Christians are condemning, exclusive, and intolerant.
5. The God of Christianity is condemning, judgmental, and angry.
6. The Bible is unreliable."

The entire blog post can be read at:

I like this idea a lot, but I am not sure about including it in every sermon. That seems a little slavish. But in thinking back to recent sermons, it could have worked.

I am preaching on Psalms of Thanksgiving in the three weeks preceding Thanksgiving. There are 13 of them and I have just selected three to raise up.

Yesterday, I preached on Ps. 124 and giving thanks to God for his intervention in difficult times and recognizing "What Might Have Been" I spoke a little bit (not as much as was in my notes) on what misinterpretations we make of God's delay in "rescuing" us. I could have used #5 and addressed the misunderstanding that God's delay or his failure to act is interpreted by some as proof that God is angry & condemning. It could also have addressed #2-bad things happening are seen as some that proof that God doesn't not exist. It would have been an easy transition into the ways that God works, even when we misinterpret his actions (or his silences).

The week before was on Psalm 30 and how God is a God of new beginnings and we can thank & praise him for that. Again the myth that "Christians are condemning, exclusive, and intolerant." could have been raised in addressing that we serve a God of new beginnings. It seems a little forced in that text, but could be made to work.

Interesting idea. What do you think?

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