Person of Christ

Apologetics for Teens

What is apologetics? In short, it is giving good reasons and evidence to believe that Christianity is true. Apologetics focuses on some big questions about the truth of Christianity, like “Does God exist?” “Who was Jesus?” “How do we know Jesus is God?” “Is the Bible even historically reliable?” Often, these questions can be hard to answer to a skeptical world, especially when being confronted with them for the first time. In this course, we seek to equip teens with the resources they need to navigate these issues. This course contains most of the same basic material from the “Intro to Apologetics” course, but it is presented at a high-school level.

Was the Messiah Predicted in the Old Testament?

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

In Galatians Paul wrote that the Law served as a “tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith” (Gal. 3:24). Even though Paul was specifically referring to the Mosaic Law, the same could be said concerning the Old Testament as a whole. The Messiah, His person, His work, and His ministry were anticipated through allusion and imagery, not the least of which was the establishment of a theology concerning substitutionary atonement. This laid the groundwork for understanding our need for a Messiah because it explained how we came to be the wretched beings that we are, why God’s moral righteousness means our situation is so dire, and what must be done to reconcile us back to the loving relationship with God we were created for.

What is the Meaning of Life?

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

Ancient philosophy began when people started thinking about ultimate reality. These early philosophers proposed theories about the ultimate elemental stuff which everything else comes from or is made of. Some of the early theories were earth, air, fire, or water. One ancient philosopher, Democritus, even suggested that everything is made up of tiny particles he called atoms. However, if Christianity is true, and I believe it is, then when the final curtain of reality is pulled back, we won’t find earth, air, fire, water, or atoms. Instead, we’ll find loving relationships between three divine persons. Ultimate reality, from which everything else comes, is a God which exists as a Trinity: three divine persons united in one essence and united in Their loving relationships with Each Other.

Introduction to Apologetics

What is apologetics? In short, it is giving good reasons and evidence to believe that Christianity is true. Apologetics focuses on some big questions about the truth of Christianity such as the following: Does God exist? Who was Jesus? How do we know Jesus was God? Is the Bible even historically reliable? Questions like these often appear front and center in our culture where skepticism of religious claims is the norm. The lectures below can help prepare you to address these questions in a Biblical manner, giving a "defense for the hope that you have" in Christ "with gentleness and respect" (1 Peter 3:15). Follow along with Adam’s Introduction to Apologetics class to learn about the good reasons and evidence for God, Jesus, and the truth of the Scriptures.

A Cumulative Case that Jesus Is God

Anybody can claim to be God, but how do we know Jesus really was God? One of the ways we can know this, of course, is that He did miracles. That is probably the strongest piece of evidence we have for claiming that Jesus is God, but there are other pieces of evidence that can support this conclusion. Jesus is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, moral teachers. According to the historical sources we have about Him, Jesus seems to have lived up to the moral standards He taught. Jesus is one of the most, if not the most, influential persons in all of world history, and He accomplished this by merely being a poor, itinerant teacher for three years. Jesus also fulfilled many prophecies about a coming Messiah which we can confirm were written hundreds of years before He lived. Two of the most outstanding of these are the Messianic prophecies from Daniel 9 and Isaiah 53. Finally, Jesus was resurrected from the dead. Paul says that our entire Christian faith depends on Jesus’ resurrection. It is the key miracle which validates Jesus’ claim to be God. One of the ways to demonstrate Jesus’ resurrection is to use the “Minimal Facts Argument,” which puts forward Jesus’ resurrection as the best explanation of the well-attested historical facts about Jesus that many critical scholars affirm.

Jesus’ Miracles Prove He Was God

If the arguments for the existence of a God are valid, the next logical question is this: whose description of God is correct? Christians claim that Jesus was God, but is this true? We know that Jesus existed in history and that He claimed to be God, but how can we know that His claim was true? One of the key pieces of evidence that Jesus was God is that He performed miracles to back up His claims to divinity. A miracle is when an act of God suspends the laws of nature, and miracles are crucial in establishing whether someone truly has a message from God or not. However, David Hume said we should never believe a miracle claim, but is this true? Hume made the mistake of discounting evidence for miracles because they are rare, but just because something is unlikely doesn’t mean it should be disbelieved. It can be prudent to be skeptical of unlikely events, but you still must weigh the evidence. In the case of Jesus’ miracles, the historical evidence far exceeds that of any other miracle claim. Using miracles isn’t an airtight way to prove something with absolute certainty, but miracles can provide evidence that something is from God, since only God can do miracles.

Whose Description of God Is Correct?

The first-cause, design, and moral arguments for God demonstrate that a supreme being exists. From these, we can infer that this supreme being is spaceless, timeless, immaterial, incredibly powerful, extremely intelligent, morally perfect, and personal. But who is this supreme being? Which religion or culture’s description of this supreme being is correct? The Greeks believed in a form of henotheism that recognized the existence of a supreme being behind the world, like Aristotle’s “Unmoved Mover.” The Persians held to a monotheistic religion called Zoroastrianism which affirmed a supreme being. Jewish culture was monotheistic as well and believed in the existence of Yahweh, a supreme being. Ancient Indian cultures, such as the Nyaya tradition, also posited the existence of a supreme being. Arabic thinkers, such as al-Ghazali, used philosophy to argue for the existence of a supreme being. However, whose description of this supreme being is correct? To determine this, we have to examine the evidence. Christians think that the strongest evidence seems to be that Jesus of Nazareth is this supreme bring; that is, He was God. By studying history, we see that Jesus actually existed, He claimed to be God, and He did miracles to authenticate His claim to be God.

Christian and Skeptic Debate: Is the Bible True?

On April 22, 2020, during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Adam Lloyd Johnson and Luke Pitts engaged in a debate over Zoom about whether the Bible was true and could be trusted. Adam, as a Christian, defended that the Bible is true, that it gets the major events right and is also correct in all its details. Luke, a skeptic, argued that the Bible was not reliable or trustworthy because of many strange, unusual, and even contradictory things found within it. The exchange included four speeches by each participant as well as a time for questions at the end.

Who Is Jesus?

Who was Jesus? Christians believe that Jesus was God incarnate, in other words, God in human form. But how can we really know who Jesus was? Did Jesus himself claim to be God? The Bible attempts to prove Jesus’ divinity by recording many miracles that He performed, but are miracles even possible? All the stories about Jesus are written in the first four books of the New Testament, but how do we know that what they say about Jesus is true? Did those things, even the miracles, actually happen? Christians stake their faith on the greatest miracle of all, Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. But what evidence is there for this? Journey with Adam through this nine-part series where he explores the historical accounts of Jesus found in the New Testament and how we as Christians can trust that Jesus is really God.

What’s the Evidence for Jesus’ Resurrection?

Did Jesus actually rise from the dead? What evidence is there that this alleged event occurred? One way to examine whether or not Jesus actually rose from the dead is to take account of all the historical facts surrounding this situation and ask whether or not Jesus’ resurrection is the best explanation for these facts. This approach is sometimes known as the “minimal facts” argument. It uses only historical facts that are extremely well evidenced and that are agreed upon by virtually all scholars, including skeptical ones. It then uses these facts to evaluate competing explanations about what happened to Jesus after He died. Did the disciples steal His body? Did Jesus not really die but only become unconscious for a while? Did the disciples hallucinate Jesus’ appearances? Or did He actually rise from the dead? What is the best explanation of the facts?