At my church, we are looking at the possibility of starting a class that will answer questions for seekers, and empower Christians to defend their faith. While discussing the matter on Sunday, the question of debate came up. Why should we bother answering attacks on our faith, or even attempt to discuss contentious issues with unbelievers in a debate format?
There are a few answers to the question:
1. We do so because it is part of what God expects from us:
Mat 10:32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven,
Mat 10:33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.
1Pe 3:15 but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you;
1Pe 3:16 yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.
2. It is part of the great commission. God uses us to spread His Word, and it is to plant the gospel seed in the elect, either by direct interaction, or as an onlooker to the exchanges.
3. We are to love God with all we have:
Mat 22:37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
Taking the above in sequence, we hear a lot in church about the soul, and how we interact on a spiritual level with God. However, the heart and mind are equally as important, since there is no distinction made. It is therefore imperative that we understand the systematic theology that underpins Biblical morality and logic to also take care of the heart and mind parts.
4. It strengthens our faith. Sometimes doubts do creep in. For me personally, to see the counter-arguments to Christianity reassures me of the truth of my beliefs.
All the glory belongs to God, He specifically empowers us to make sense of our faith. Questions that look like defeaters of the Christian faith are nothing but either misrepresentations, or ad hominem attacks based on relativism. There are precious few sound logical philosophical attacks against Christianity, and most of those are based on unprovable assumptions.
I encourage you to stand strong, and do bother to learn how to answer questions about Christianity. It builds the Kingdom, something sorely needed in todays world.