Ready to Answer
Why is it important for Christians to prepare to defend the faith?
May 19, 2009 - Alex McFarland is a well-known advocate of apologetics – the practice of defending Christianity. But he hasn’t always been prepared with evidence of his faith.
By Joy Allmond
Growing up in an old church in North Carolina, he had religious experience, but no relationship with Christ. As a teen in rebellion, he stopped going to church and became immersed in the club scene.
At the age of 21, McFarland was invited to a Bible study for other college students. Much to his surprise, the topic interested him. He came to realize that he was sinner, that God loved him enough to do something about his sin. In July 1985, he invited Jesus to be his savior.
With his newfound faith and fresh zeal, he began to share the Gospel with other students at a nearby park three days after he became a Christian. “People made fun of me,” said McFarland. “One other student, a philosophy major, told me that God was only a primitive wish that unlearned people pursue. Another crumpled a beer can at my feet. That was a symbol of how I felt, not being prepared at that moment – as though I had crashed to the ground.”
As McFarland began to leave the group, he turned to resume the conversation. He told them two things: That his conversion was real and that he would get evidence of Christianity.
Dejected, he went home convinced he had let God down. He opened his Bible to 1 Peter 3:15 and read this Scripture:
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” (NIV)
“That scripture practically jumped off the page,” said McFarland. “I immediately asked God for forgiveness and for readiness.”
In addition to the Bible, MacFarland found the resources he needed to find answers, including Evidence That Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell. Over the next several months, he literally walked through the park, sharing the Gospel and sharing the resources that back up Christianity.
By Christmas of that year, McFarland saw a dozen conversions.
“It’s 24 years later, and we still need a reasoned faith in America. We need to be reasoned, respectful, relational and relevant,” said McFarland. “We actually have reasons for trusting the Bible and trusting that Christ was authentic.”
In light of Christ’s return, McFarland says the church needs a sense of urgency to share the Gospel and defend the Christian faith. He also adds there are two major reasons Christians should be ready to give answers and defend the faith: responsibility and reward.
“We have a responsibility to those who need Christ by making ourselves biblically literate. To make disciples. To learn the ‘Romans Road’ to salvation."
He also says the eternal reward is another motivator of readiness to defend Christianity. “There are five places in the New Testament that tell us we will lay our crowns at His feet.”
McFarland continues, “The point of having rewards, of course, is not to boast. We just don’t want to be empty-handed Christians with nothing to lay down at His feet. Our post-salvation lives should be a thank-you note Jesus.”
As a speaker, writer, and advocate for teen apologetics, Alex McFarland has spoken in hundreds of locations throughout the US and abroad. He has preached in over 1,000 different churches throughout North America and internationally, and has been featured at conferences such as The Billy Graham School of Evangelism, Focus On The Family’s Big Dig, Josh McDowell’s True Foundations events, California’s Spirit West Coast, and many more.
Come hear Alex McFarland and other renowned speakers such as Kay Arthur, Chuck Colson, Will Graham, Hank Hanegraaff and Ken Boa at the National Apologetics Conference later this year.