This talk was graciously provided to us by Melissa Cain Travis, one of our associate Mama Bears. It is from Mother’s Day 2016, and is from Hope Point Church in Houston, Texas.
Here’s a summary of what Melissa talked about:
– Believer from young age
– Surrounded by people growing up who didn’t talk about their beliefs
– Moved to big city, and suddenly surrounded by people of various beliefs – and ones with “Oprah Winfrey theology” (which claims that all paths lead to God)
– In order to carry out great commission, one must first be able to be obedient to great commandment – love Lord with all heart, soul, and mind
– Pursuing theological and apologetics understanding is walking in obedience to the great commandment, and pursuing one particular aspect of Christ likeness
– Thought she was going to be the missionary to her science lab, but came to discover that she couldn’t defend what she believed
– What do you do when encounter skeptics, or your kids encounter skeptics?
– The prospering of false ideas is one of Satan’s greatest tools
– You kids will need to be prepared to answer questions regarding things like sanctity of life and redefinition of marriage
– Must have sound and intelligent responses
– Analogy of going on mission trip and not brining physical provision (clean water, food, medicine)]
- Both are needed for communicating Jesus
- Pre-evangelism needs
- Answering questions is a powerful way to show Jesus to the skeptic
– Can’t argue someone into the kingdom!!
– Apologetics is loving people by helping them get past stumbling blocks to the gospel
– Lee Strobel, Mary Jo Sharp, Holly Ordway, Nancy Pearcy – all adult converts from radical atheism
– We can’t be basing our worldview on “head in the sand” faith
– Faith and reason are NOT incompatible
– 1 Peter 3:15
– Not a suggestion! We are commanded to be ready to make a defense, not just articulate!
– Need 1) Thorough understanding of doctrines, and ability to articulate (that’s how we can identify ourselves from non-christian cults) 2) Reasons for why we believe it
– Some women say “Apologetics just goes over my head” and leave it to the professionals.
– Quote from CS Lewis in Mere Christianity in response to Matthew 18 (see in quotes resources below)
– We are not all called to be scholars in the formal sense, but we are in the broad sense
– Being a Christian takes the whole of you, brains and all
– Intellectual apathy never glorified the Lord
– Her faith was borrowed.
– We need to ask ourselves: “Are there any good, objective reasons for believing these things to be true?”
– Authentic faith cannot be inherited. When challenged, kids will abandon an inherited faith that they cannot defend
– Super honest quote by Dr Steven Weinberg – physicist at UT Austin (see below) – I personally feel that the teaching of science is corrosive to religious faith, and I’m all for that. One of the things that has driven me most in my life is the feeling that this is one of the great social functions of science: to free people of superstition. I think the world needs to wakeup from it’s long nightmare of religious belief and anything that we scientists can do to weaken the hold of religion, we should do, and may in fact be our greatest contribution to civilization. http://ffrf.org/legacy/fttoday/2000/april2000/weinberg.html
(22nd annual FFR foundation convention)
– Best case scenario is that they are confident to discourse in truth and love
– 7 year old questioned truth of X – “how do we know all this stuff in the bible isn’t just made up.” Never underestimate the mind of a young child
– “We can’t be sure of anything that isn’t proven by science” “Buddhism is true for me but Christianity is true for you”
– 2 major reasons youth walk away from the church – fear of asking hard questions and when hard questions were asked, they were answered poorly or dismissed altogether. Our kids deserve better.
– Moms, we spend more times with our children than anyone else before they start driving
– Moms are the most valuable ambassadors for Christ.
– John Wesley – learned more about Christianity from mother than all theologians in England (Susanna Wesley)
– Hand that rocks the cradle rules the world – the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that can do marvelous work for the kingdom
– All self proclaimed Christians are theologians and apologists. They only differ in competence.
– Prayer of St Thomas Aquinus (see below)
Quotes from the talk
“Unless you become like children” – but Lewis says “”…as St. Paul points out, Christ never meant that we are to remain children in intelligence: on the contrary. He told us to be not only ‘as harmless as doves’, but also “as wise as serpents’. He wants a child’s heart, but a grown-up’s head. He wants us to be simple, single-minded, affectionate, and teachable, as good children are; but He also wants every bit of intelligence we have to be alert at its job, and in first-class fighting trim… The fact that what you are thinking about God Himself (for example, when you are praying) does not mean that you can be content with the same babyish ideas which you had when you were a five-year-old. It is, of course, quite true that God will not love you any less, or have less use for you, if you happen to have been born with a very second-rate brain. He has room for people with very little sense, but He every one to use what sense they have…God is no fonder of intellectual slackers than of any other slackers. If you are thinking of becoming a Christian, I warn you, you are on something which is going to take the whole of you, brains and all.” Quoted from C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity.”
“I personally feel that the teaching of science is corrosive to religious faith, and I’m all for that. One of the things that has driven me most in my life is the feeling that this is one of the great social functions of science: to free people of superstition. I think the world needs to wakeup from it’s long nightmare of religious belief and anything that we scientists can do to weaken the hold of religion, we should do, and may in fact be our greatest contribution to civilization. http://ffrf.org/legacy/fttoday/2000/april2000/weinberg.html – Physicist Steven Weinberg at the 22nd annual FFR (Freedom from Religion) Foundation Convention
Prayer of St. Thomas Aquinas before study
Who, from the treasures of Your wisdom,
have established three hierarchies of angels,
have arrayed them in marvelous order
above the fiery heavens,
and have marshaled the regions
of the universe with such artful skill,
You are proclaimed
the true font of light and wisdom,
and the primal origin
raised high beyond all things.
Pour forth a ray of Your brightness
into the darkened places of my mind;
disperse from my soul
the twofold darkness
into which I was born:
sin and ignorance.
You make eloquent the tongues of infants.
refine my speech
and pour forth upon my lips
The goodness of Your blessing.
Grant to me
keenness of mind,
capacity to remember,
skill in learning,
subtlety to interpret,
and eloquence in speech.
guide the beginning of my work,
direct its progress,
and bring it to completion.
You Who are true God and true Man,
who live and reign, world without end.
Hillary Morgan Ferrer is the founder of Mama Bear Apologetics. She is coauthor and editor of the Mama Bear Apologetics book, and has been married to her husband, Dr. John D. Ferrer, for over 12 years. She is working on her second master’s degree, and yet can’t seem to figure out the simplest cooking recipes.