William Lane Craig responds to “No one has ever been argued into the kingdom of God!”

Here is a short clip by William Lane Craig on the common objection that people can’t be argued into the kingdom. In my own experience, people who say nobody is argued into the kingdom confuse the relationship between evangelism and apologetics.

When someone asks us why we believe what we believe, it may lead to both an evangelistic and apologetic encounter.  Evangelism is the telling of the good news about Jesus the Messiah and the way of salvation through him.  Also, evangelism is not defending the reliability of the Bible or defending the historicity of the resurrection.

Apologetics removes the barriers that hinders people from considering the Gospel as the way to have a restored relationship with God.  The word “apologia” means “to give reasons, make a legal defense” (Acts 26:2; 2 Tim. 4:16; 1 Pet 3:15). Peter commands his followers to ‘always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have with gentleness and respect’ (1 Peter 3:15).

Did the apostles combine apologetics with their evangelism? Absolutely! Biblically speaking, the apostles approach to spreading the message of the Good News is accompanied using reason and evidence (Acts 17:2; 18:4; 19:8; 26:2; 2 Tim. 4:16; 1 Pet 3:15). They are seen utilizing an evidential model by appealing to fulfilled prophecy and the resurrection as the basis for the evidence for Jesus’s messiahship (Acts 2:14-32-39; 3:6-16, 4:8-14; 17:1-4; 26:26; 1 Cor. 15:1-8). The writers of the New Testament appeal to objective eyewitness testimony (Lk. 1:2-4; John 1:14; 19:31-35-36; 20:24, 30-31; 2 Peter 1:16; 1 John 1:1-3). Furthermore, Paul wrote of ‘defending and confirming the gospel’ (Phil. 1:7). Luke records that Paul spent time reasoning and explaining that Jesus suffered and rose from the dead. (Acts 17:2–3). Also,” Every Sabbath [Paul] reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks” (Acts 18:4). Paul also appealed to what is called ‘natural theology’[1] in Rom.1: 18-21. Here, Paul lays out the basic principle of cause and effect. Paul says since God is the Designer (God is the cause), His “everlasting power and divinity” are obvious, “through the things that are made” (this is the effect). Notice Paul never says we can see God directly. But we should be able to make a rational inference to see that Paul says that God’s existence and attributes can be “clearly seen” through the world of nature.

 

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