• Tappan Hornor

Speaking in defense...

Updated: Aug 20



Apologetics Goes Beyond Opinion To Conviction


May God be honored in this effort to bring convictions based on His truth

that go beyond mere opinion. “Opinions are preferences amid options."

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An opinion you carry, but a conviction carries you.


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What I did not anticipate was having to give a defense of why I was defending the faith. “You can’t argue anybody into the kingdom.”

“Apologetics only caters to pride, you know.”

“Conversion is not about the intellect; it is all about the heart.”

As the litany of questions runs for why we should study apologetics,

so the reasons run as to why we should stay out of it.


Apologetics is a subject that ends up defending itself.

The one who argues against apologetics ends up using argument to denounce argument. The one who says apologetics is a matter of pride ends up proudly defending one’s own impoverishment.

The one who says conversion is a matter of the heart and not the intellect ends up presenting intellectual arguments to convince others of this position.

So goes the process of self-contradiction.

Zacharias, Ravi. Beyond Opinion . Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.


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Truth is not only a matter of offense; in that it makes certain assertions.

It is also a matter of defense in that it must be able to make a cogent and sensible response to the counterpoints that are raised.


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Yes, if truth is not undergirded by love, it makes the possessor of that truth obnoxious

and the truth repulsive.

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We have a right to believe whatever we want, but not everything we believe is right.

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To sustain the belief that there is no God, atheism has to demonstrate infinite knowledge. Because their declaration is tantamount to saying,

"I have infinite knowledge that there is no being in existence with infinite knowledge."


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All pleasure costs. For legitimate, you pay the price before;

for illegitimate, you pay the price after.


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You will never lighten any load until you feel the pressure in your own soul.


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The farther we move from God, the more we devalue man.


There is no greater discovery than seeing God as the author of your Destiny.


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“Love is a commitment that will be tested in the most vulnerable areas of spirituality, a commitment that will force you to make some very difficult choices.

It is a commitment that demands that you deal with your lust, your greed, your pride, your power, your desire to control, your temper, your patience, and every area of temptation that the Bible clearly talks about.

It demands the quality of commitment that Jesus demonstrates in His relationship to us.”


What is the quality and the quantity of Jesus’ commitment to us?


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A man rejects God neither because of intellectual demands nor because of the scarcity of evidence. A man rejects God because of a moral resistance that refuses to admit his need for God. Jn 3:16-21


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Meaninglessness does not come from being weary of pain; meaninglessness comes from being weary of pleasure.

And that is why we find ourselves emptied of meaning with our pantries still full.

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Truth is not only a matter of offense; in that it makes certain assertions.

It is also a matter of defense in that it must be able to make a cogent and sensible response to the counterpoints that are raised.


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In the East, devotion, commitment, and role relations finds a cultural emphasis.

In the West, romance becomes the sum and substance of it all.

Somewhere the two must be incorporated for without romance marriage is drudgery,

but without will and commitment, marriage is a mockery.

Yes, if truth is not undergirded by love, it makes the possessor of that truth obnoxious and the truth repulsive.


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We have a right to believe whatever we want, but not everything we believe is right.

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The use or abuse of Christianity in contradiction to the very message of the gospel reveals not the gospel for what it is, but the heart of man.

That is why atheism is so bankrupt as a view of life, for it miserably fails to deal with the human condition as it really is.


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To sustain the belief that there is no God, atheism has to demonstrate infinite knowledge. Because their declaration is tantamount to saying,

"I have infinite knowledge that there is no being in existence with infinite knowledge."


Oscar Wilde said, 'The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.' He got it wrong. The unrestrained appeasement of desire only expands hungers. Does not our experience tell us so?


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We have become so accustomed to hearing preachers or expositors, as important as that is, that many in the process have abandoned the grand privilege of personally hearing from God’s Word daily.


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We must find the back door to peoples’ hearts because the front door is heavily guarded.


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Is life to be defined by what I pursue — or must my pursuit be defined by what life was meant to be?

If the primary purpose in life is a closer walk with GOD — then even the good is sometimes set aside in favor of the best.

If a person does not understand that the purpose of life defines lifestyle,

then the lifestyle itself is hollow and the life is squandered.


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If you are determined in going in a certain direction, if you are bent upon silencing the voice of God in your life, you know what God will do?

He will step aside and second your motion.

If that is what you really want.

Because He cannot violate your Will and still call you free…

If I am a free being, He cannot overrule my freedom in the most ultimate sense, and still call me free. He can lure, He can rule, He can plead, He can beg, He can even illhe pressure on, but He cannot violate your will and still call you free.

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You will never lighten any load until you feel the pressure in your own soul.

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Apart from God, chaos is the norm; with God, the hungers of the mind and heart find their fulfillment.

How are you going to reach a generation that hears with their eyes and thinks with their emotions?

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Indeed, one author has observed: ‘In the 1950s, kids lost their innocence.

They were liberated from their parents by well-paying jobs, cars, and lyrics in music that gave rise to a new term - the generation gap.

● In the 1960s, kids lost their authority.

It was the decade of protest - church, state, and parents were all called into question and found wanting.

Their authority was rejected, yet nothing ever replaced it.

● In the 1970s, kids lost their love.

It was the decade of me-ism, dominated by hyphenated words beginning with self:

self-image, self-esteem, self-assertion.

It made for a lonely world.

Kids learned everything there was to know about sex but forgot everything there was to know about love, and no one had the nerve to tell them there was a difference.

● In the 1980s, kids lost their hope.

Stripped of innocence, authority, and love, and plagued by the horror of a nuclear nightmare, large and growing numbers of this generation stopped believing in the future.’

● I would like to add that in the 1990s, we lost our ability to reason.

The power of critical thinking has gone from induction to deduction and very few are able to think clearly anymore.

I have often said the challenge of the truth speaker today is this:

How do you reach a generation that listens with its eyes and thinks with its feelings?

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If you are a praying Christian, your Christianity will carry you.

If you are not a praying Christian, you will carry your Christianity and it gets exhausting to carry the infinite and it will wear you.

If you are a praying Christian, your faith and God will carry you.

If you are not a praying Christian, you will get thoroughly, thoroughly exhausted.


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For man, sin is not just an act, it is an attitude.

Man is not a sinner because he is a transgressor.

He is a transgressor because he is already a sinner.

The offense is not only in the transgression but in the intention.

Not merely in the violation of the law but in the deposition of the heart.

The Sermon on the Mount makes this clear, please listen now.

Lust is adultery even though it never passes beyond the look of desire, hateful anger is murder even if the blood is never spilled, materialism is lust of the eyes even if one is not rich.

This is so because the seed of sin is in the heart and will, not only in the action.


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I have little doubt that the single greatest obstacle to the impact of the gospel has not been its inability to provide answers, but the failure on our part to live it out.


There is no greater example in apologetics than the apostle Paul speaking at Mars Hill.

The irony of the talk Paul gave is in the difference in reaction the Easterner has when reading Paul’s address to that of a Westerner.

The Easterner is thrilled at how the apostle wove the message starting from where the listeners were to bring them to where he was in his thinking.

The average Westerner is quick to point out that few of his hearers responded.

Such an attitude says volumes about why the church in the West has been so intellectually weak.


To those in the West, the bigger the number of respondents, the more replicated the technique.

The bigger the statistic, the greater the success.

Westerners are enamored by size, largesse, number of hands raised, and so on.

When the sun has set on these reports, we seem rather dismayed when statistics show the quality of the life of the believer is no different from that of the unbeliever.

As harsh as it sounds, I doubt Jesus’ method of apologetics would have appealed to many of us living in the West.

I mean, just think of the opportunity Jesus lost when he was asked,

“What good thing must I do to get eternal life?” (Matt. 19:16).

Let us be candid. In terms of the imagination, the spiritual world cannot match the sensual world because gratification in the sensual is immediate; in the spiritual, it is delayed.

A Christian who takes the intellectual track is often rebuked with this verse in

1 Corinthians: “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power” (2:4).

Some people take that to infer that Paul made a mistake in coming to the Athenians in Acts 17 with a philosophical bent.

However, this verse to the church at Corinth implies nothing of the kind.

In fact, Paul reminds us to become all things to all people (1 Cor. 9:22), meaning that you start with where the audience is.

If there is an intellectual barrier, you start there.

If there is a sensory barrier, you start there.

If anything, Paul had to spend so much time writing an apologetic to the Corinthian church, arguing about all the problems that had arisen, because they had mindless commitments that harnessed their senses without harnessing their rationality.

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We are fashioned by God to be thinking and emotional creatures.

The emotions should follow reason, and not the other way around.