Apologetics: ə-pŏl'ə-jĕt'ĭks from the Greek απоλоγία Def: The branch of theology that is concerned with defending or proving the truth of Christian doctrines.

Are We Defending God's Truth?

Or Tolerating the Enemy's Lies . . .

Written By Esthermay Bentley-Goossen on 18 August 2009

"A dog barks when his master is attacked.
I would be a coward if I saw that God's truth is attacked and yet would remain silent."

~ John Calvin

. . . It's sorta' the theme of my entire blog. (See the definition of Apologia in scrolling text of the header.) And I have learned over the years that one of the most challenging places to stand firm and defend the truth of God's Word is in the company of other church-goers.
Are you tilting your head wondering, "uHmmm??!"

It doesn't take too many clicks of your television remote, or even a trip through a grocery store checkout aisle, to be convinced that we live in a time of complete spiritual confusion and blind exploration. Satan has indeed conquered the world in terms of winning it over. Which makes one of Satan's most preferred workplaces in our current culture -- the "church." The spiritual confusion is just as readily found inside the church as it is outside the church. Just because you're sitting in a church building does not mean you are surrounded by Bible-believing saints!

"The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers,
so that they cannot see the light of the Gospel . . . "
~ II Corinthians 4:4

Peer pressure within the Christian world to "match-up" our faith with fellow Christians is great. And the pressure to accept and tolerate ideas and doctrines and theories that are flat-out against God's Word is rampant. Satan has become very proficient at working within this subset of culture known as the Evangelical Church.

Making matters worse in the fact that so few churches really offer expository preaching/teaching from the Bible anymore -- nor do they teach people how to study the Bible. One well-known mainstream Christian pastor has admitted that certain passages of Scripture are offensive to his followers and he will not preach from them. How can Christians defend something they are not familiar with?

The Result: Satan has been given a place of honor in the life of every Christian who is unable to or refuses to defend God's Word.

Take the Harry Potter craze for an example. The Bible is very clear about the sin of witchcraft, abstaining from the appearance of evil, and about casting down imaginations that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God. End of discussion.
Or is it?

Satan's job is to attack God's Word and to twist it and to confuse its true message and cause Christians to accept or tolerate the untruths and he does not rest in his quest to achieve this goal. Enter: J.K. Rowling. How many Christian kids do you know who are fans of J.K. Rowling and her Harry Potter series? And how many Christian parents do you know who tolerate it. Whose fault is this?
The parents?
The church?
The pastor?
How about anyone who sees God's Truth attacked and remains silent!?

What about the self-help industry? Consumer psychology and the self-help industry are among the biggest money generators in our society. And the biggest problem in the self-help industry is that many (not all) promoters make false promises. They promise hugely unrealistic results, as if reading a single book or attending a single seminar will produce all the permanent changes you need to make your life absolutely perfect.

Yet Christians still purchase these products as frequently as non-Christians because they really want to believe the marketers are telling the truth. And probably more notably, people are keenly aware that they do indeed need help.

For the most part, secular psychology has attacked if not completely dismissed God's Word. And lamentably, many Christians have accepted it. And if they haven't accepted secular psychology for their own lives, they have learned to accept and tolerate it in the lives of their friends and family .

If every God-fearing Christian (there is no other kind) would stand up for God's Word and God's plan for psychological wholeness, the self-help industry would most certainly go broke! Romans 3:23-24 says more about self-improvement than 10,000 self-help books. But until God's Truth is spoken and defended and accepted and one's attitude is changed, Satan wins the battle and God's Word is not only attacked, but dismissed.

How many Christian friends do you know who are caught up in secular psychology? Whose fault is this?
The psychologist?
The person's friends?
The church?
How about anyone who sees God's Truth attacked and remains silent!?

Let's talk politics.
Okay. . . second thought, let's not.

But surely you can fill in the blanks here. To try and put GOD and the Truth of HIS Word into the confining and humanistic box of politics makes Him a very,very small God.

Yet . . . it is abundantly clear that our current political climate has made a mockery of God's Truth on everything from the value of human life itself to the work ethic of those who are allowed to live. Whose fault is this?
The politicians?
The President?
The church?
How about anyone who sees God's Truth attacked and remains silent?!

When Christians choose to remain silent when God's Word is attacked, we have effectively learned to accept and tolerate the Enemy's lies and Satan does indeed gain a foothold; and this primes the church for accepting the New Age Movement much more easily.

Sure . . . as "good Christians" we can pick and choose our causes. We can rail against abortion or pre-marital sex or witchcraft or even Mormonism or Catholicism. Some of us even like to take on "false versions" of the Bible in order to gain credibility as a "real Christian." Our individuality does drive us to hand-pick what we will defend from God's Word. But this is NOT what the Gospel calls us to do!

Christians must "bark" when our Master is attacked. On any subject. If we don't, then Satan wins another battle and God's Word is not only attacked, but eventually dismissed altogether. And then . . . what's the point?

"A dog barks when his master is attacked.
I would be a coward if I saw that God's truth is attacked
and yet would remain silent."

~ John Calvin

"Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes,
you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything,
to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist. . . "

~Ephesians 6:13-14

~ Esthermay V. Bentley-Goossen
© 2009 The Heart of a Pastor's Wife
[This article also submitted for outside publication]

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Denise said...

Amen, such powerful truth spoken here my friend. Be blessed.

Rachel M. said...

Thank you for this post! It managed to encourage me while simultaneously challenging me to be more strict about what I accept, as the truth ought to do.
I think sometimes we get tired of "barking" at the Devil's attacks, most often when we allow ourselves to forget why we are "barking." God doesn't need us to defend His good name, but that doesn't let us off the hook. Rather, He wants us to defend it because it is right, and also because it is developing in us the mind of Christ.

Denise Hughes said...

Thank you for choosing a such a thought-provoking quote. I appreciate the courage and candor by which you speak. I especially appreciate the way your words are filled with the Word. Blessings to you today.
Denise Hughes :)

Tami Boesiger said...

I'm trying to understand what a barking Christian is. What does this look like? How can I do it without pointing fingers? How do I bark lovingly?

This is an area I struggle with, knowing how to exhort while preserving a loving attitude. Most often, I just don't bark.

MiPa said...

Thought provoking quote and post. I'll be thinking on this all day. Unfortunately, I'm not able to write this week but I'll look forward to reading other's reflections. Bless you!

Karen said...

Now that was loaded with a lot of truth. Its sad that the twist is just as bad inside the church as it is outside. We need to start defending God's truth and stop tolerating the enemy's lies. Great quote and post. Thanks so much.

Barbara said...

Tami asks a good question. What does a barking Christian look like? But I'm reminded taht Jesus barked pretty fiercly at some folks in His Father's temple and the Apostle Paul barked pretty loud throughout all his letters. Where would we be without Paul's barking at all the early
Christians? His barking is how we know God's heart and will! The book of james too is very sharp. I think this is the kind of Christain we are called to be. It's our sappy culture that tells us we must be full of love and acceptance and tread softly. That's part of the twisting the enemy does.

This was a wonderful post and I must re-read it as usual.

Joan said...

This was so good. Thank you - great truth here. But this is an area I struggle with too. I don't personally know you, but your blog is so full of exhorting and I read you and wish I could be like that. Mostly, I just keep quiet and carry guilt for not defending the Truth of God's Word.
I COMPLETELY agree with you about psychology and go a step further and include many so called "Christian counselors" in the mix. The entire industry has become a self-glorifying, blame everyone else and don't include God because that brings condemnation! The whole thing reeks of Romans 1 to me. My own family IS caught up in it and this is why I feel guilty perhaps for not "barking" more

Thank you for your wisdom and great writing. You give much to chew on today.

Chocolate and Coffee said...

Awesome post today! Thanks for hosting. You are such a gifted writer. Blessings!

mamas*little*treasures said...

Good morning Esthermay - I've been out of the loop for a few weeks, but I'm trying to get back on track. This working away from home is just not my idea of a good time! I'll be working from home full-time starting in October, so hopefully I will be able to participate more regularly.

Thanks for you quotation and your post. Right now, especially, there seems to be so much chaos and confusion in all of the areas you spoke about. We need to hold on to the truth, no matter what, and even when things seem kind of "OK" we have to be aware of the dangers of all of the subtle messages that would draw us away from God. Thanks for the inspiration today! Nina

kalopoieo said...

II Corinthians 4 is our mandate as Christians. So you correctly imply that the perpetration of Satan’s lies is indeed the fault of anyone who sees the Word of God attacked and remains silent. I’ve always appreciated this Calvin quote and you do an impressive job of bringing it into our current culture.

I really appreciate also your comment about placing our Sovereign God into the humanistic box of politics. Good point, my friend. Good point.

Allison said...

Awesome post! Thank you for sharing!!

Betsy Markman said...

Wow, what a shake-em-up post!

I greatly appreciate what Esthermay wrote, and Tami's question as well. What does a barking Christian look like?

Unfortunately, I've seen too many of them...too many of the kind that Esthermay is NOT talking about (I trust). There are those who use the term "holy boldness" to excuse their own fleshly rage-venting. It is for them (and for all of us when we're tempted this way) that James wrote, "The wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God."

When Jesus blasted the Pharisees, it wasn't fleshly venting, though. There is a holy anger. How can we know when our anger is holy?

I would venture to say that no one can have holy anger who does not have a holy life. Not a perfect life, of course, but one that is consciously and deliberately set apart for God and His glory. And holy anger burns for God's glory alone, not for my reputation or my rightness. Finally, as a mere human being who has been a recipient of God's unmerited favor, I could not dare call any anger "holy" if it were not accompanied by the desire to see the salvation of the one who has done wrong.

Well, Esthermay, you and I have a tendency to preach on each other's blogs, don't we? I love it!

Keep posting the great stuff!

Kate said...

AMEN! Great post. LOVE the comments too. I firmly believe that the lack of defending God’s Truth has led the Evangelical Church into the touchy-feely-love-everybody gospel and has allowed women to run everything. Women ARE the touchy-feely sex. I would get in so much trouble saying that anywhere else. Men in the church have allowed it too!

I wholeheartedly agree with Betsy’s take on holiness. The Christian life is simple and complex at the same time. Complete surrender brings it all full circle and that’s what I love about your blog. It is holy bold!

Jesus did much barking! Aren’t we called to be CHRIST-like??

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing & taking a strong stand. I feel the same with Harry Potter - and even struggle with the Twilight series which we know so many Christian families (moms & kids) are reading. I am still working on my post - struggling with it! :)

Susan said...

...When Christians choose to remain silent when God's Word is attacked, we have effectively learned to accept and tolerate the Enemy's lies and Satan does indeed gain a foothold; and this primes the church for accepting the New Age Movement much more easily.

What a powerful and TRUE statement, what a SAD state of affairs for the Church of Christ.

I know I'm guilty of being silent when I watch many Christians dilute the word, read Harry Potter, Twilight, etc. Even celebrating Halloween.

What ever happened to;

"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing;..." II Cor. 6:17).

OK, I better stop here, for now.

I love your heart and your boldness to proclaim the TRUTH.

So good having you back♥


Wow! You hit on a lot of stuff here but I must comment on J.K. Rowling and the Harry Potter series. I just ran into someone last week [a Christian friend of mine] who totally endorses the readings of J.K. Rowling. At the same time someone else told me that she [J.K. Rowling] is a self proclaimed WITCH! Is that TRUE?

If you don't stand for something - you stand for anything. We MUST stand ON God's Holy Word and fight these lies of the enemy WITH the TRUTH of that same holy Word of God! What ARE we thinking???

Great post - much food for thought! Welcome back!

Choosing JOY, Stephanie
[JESUS - the One I DELIGHT In]

Kathy S. said...

What great encouragement to read so many comments from like-minded sisters! CCM magazine actually called Harry Potter Christian fiction. I wrote the editor calling him on it. A sad reply indeed, justifying himself by ideas...I have also written about The Shack, "Christian Yoga", and now there is this "New Mystics" that think Christians are perfect on earth, and live in a trance-like state...eeergh!

Thanks for posting on this! May God give us the grace to contend for the faith! Psalm 119!!

Perovskia said...

I disagree about Harry Potter, but from a completely personal opinion. Mine don't seem to match what's here, nor may they match what (i.e) my next door neighbor may think.

I am an avid fan of Harry Potter. Avid. I don't read the books, but I do watch and collect the movies. But this doesn't make me less of a Christian, or proclaim the word of God less.

I very much defend God's truth when lies abound (say, in gatherings or conversations) and although sometimes shy, I do profess what He has done for me and how He's changed my life. But to me, Harry Potter is just entertainment, I don't take it as "the Word".

Betsy Markman.. I like what you said about 'holy anger' and leading a 'holy life'. Very profound viewpoint. Very true.

Esthermay... Thank you for this post. It has a lot of truth and thought-provocation in it. I'm new to this site, but I'll definitely be keeping an eye on it.

sara said...

praying for you and shepherd today!

Jean Stockdale said...

Beautifully written.

I am out blog hopping and landed here. I would like to invite you to join us for an online Bible study for MOMMAS on the book of Ephesians. We are using Jean Stockdale’s workbook called “High Stepping in Heavenly Places.” The 10-week study will begin Sept.24. A workbook is available with homework for 5 days a weeks. You will also be able to watch a 45-minute weekly video or download a podcast of the message, and then share in an online discussion with other moms. Interested. Get more details at http://highsteppinginheavenlyplaces.wordpress.com or at Jean’s blog at http://jeanstockdale.typepad.com. Blessings.

Apron of the Month Club said...

Hello, this is 1st visit to your blog and I feel totally blessed by your words of wisdom.


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