I have heard it said that you can’t argue someone into the kingdom of God. I always found that as an interesting argument (hopefully you can see in the irony in that statement). Why can’t you argue someone into the kingdom of God? 1 Peter 3:15 states “always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” The word “defend” in that passage is where the word “apologetics” comes from. It is the Greek world apologia which we get our word “apologetics”, which means to give a defense or vindication. Apologetics is providing evidence, reasons, and justification for ones position. It appears eight times in the New Testament (Acts 22:1; 25:16; 1 Cor 9:3; 2 Cor 7:11; Phil 1:7, 16; 2 Tim 4:16; and 1 Pet 3:15). In fact, Plato’s dialogue in the Apology is not Socrates apologizing for his gadfly antics in ancient Athens, but a defense of his position in the Athenian court. In short, we are commanded to give an argument for our faith.
Don’t confuse the word “argument” with “argumentative.” We are not to be argumentative as in to bicker or quarrel. The later portion of 1 Peter 3:15 says to give a reason with gentleness and respect. That is not quarreling or fighting. We are to give a justification for the truth claims of Christianity.
But, the idea that you can’t argue someone with reasons and evidence into believing that Christianity is true that leads to a conversion is still prominently accepted. Let me ask the following question: why can’t good reasons, arguments, evidence, and a clear justification of Christianity lead someone to the Kingdom of God? Is your God too small and unable to use evidence and arguments? Why put God in a box. If he wants to use arguments, evidence, and reason (which he command us to do in 1 Peter) then that is God’s prerogative.
Below are several examples of people who were “argued” into the Kingdom of God:
You can include the following as well:
Josh McDowell – The famous apologist was challenged to examine the evidence for Christianity when he was an atheist. Upon examination, he converted, and the rest is history: More Than a Carpenter and Evidence That Demands a Verdict
Lee Strobel – Strobel was convinced his newly converted wife was brainwashed and used his investigative journalism skills to debunk Christianity. The Case for Christ and The Case for Faith was the result. Also here.
Philip Vander Elst – A freelance writer and lecturer who has spent nearly 30 years in politics and journalism describes his journey from atheism to Christianity via the apologetics works of C.S. Lewis.
Guillaume Bignon – French atheist becomes a Christian theologian.
Peter Byrom – Former atheist talks about how reason brought him back to Christ.
Jordan Monge – A Harvard University student explains how evidence changed her mind about God.