On strategy, despite your personal apologetic (in my case Christian Political Apologetic), as this case study points out, each situation or opportunity is different which reinforces the importance of the Truth provided by a common Christian worldview (message) and reinforcement of that Truth as represented by the attributes of the messenger.
As I referenced in the reply to Speaking the Truth Prompt, Ravi Zacharias identifies that a worldview has four elements: meaning, morality, and destiny. He further states that a worldview can be validated by applying three tests for truth: logical consistency, empirical adequacy, and experiential relevance. He reinforces that “When a worldview is submitted to these tests, the Christian message is utterly unique and meets the demand for truth.”
Like any good Father, Mikos loves his brother. He believes that the “crystal” offers some value in helping his brother heal. He also believes that “all roads lead to heaven.” Mikos also indicates that he is open to listening to other (Christian) views. Given Mikos’ Greek Orthodox background, might also be helpful to do a little research with the goals of starting with a foundation that could then be used to compare and contrast to Christianity.
Convincing Mikos that there is a living God and that belief and prayer would have more value than “a crystal” may help lead him to the Truth. I think you would need to be prepared to answer the question that assuming his brother was not a believer, where would he end up if he dies.
• Deuteronomy 4:31: “(For the LORD your God is a merciful God), He will not forsake you.”
• Psalm 36:5: “Your mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.”
1. Give an example of an apologetic dialogue with Mikos that involves at least one apologetic method and some distinct use of Scripture that would possibly speak to Mikos and his worldview.
Tanya Walker in her article, “But … What About other Religions” (McDowell, Apologetics, 273), addresses Mikos’ belief “that everyone gets to go to heaven and that God is like a welcoming Grandpa that would never refuse anyone’s request to come into His kingdom.” Walker identifies the opportunity to address three general themes: An Error of Logic, Concerns of Character, A question of Destination and the Uniqueness of Jesus Christ:
- Error of Logic – “All roads lead to God.” Belief caused by a lack of knowledge or logic.
- Concerns of Character: Credibility of the “messenger” importance of conveying the message in context of Truth, Content, and Manner. In this case, a prior relationship (friendship) and discussion indicate this criterion may not be an issue. Walker reinforces the importance of listening to the question and questioner and giving the individual the respect of our attention.
- Destination and Uniqueness of Jesus Christ. This is supported by historical facts and evidence. Strobel’s “The Case for Christ”, identifies numerous categories of proof. Evidence includes eyewitness, documentary, corroborating, rebuttal, scientific, psychological, circumstantial, and fingerprint. (Strobel, 14-16).
1.a. Distinct use of Scripture: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NIV)
Regarding a specific “Dialogue,” I would draft a script (talking points) of different options that I could use depending on the direction of the conversation and the condition of the brother.
2. Give at least seven scriptures that would be helpful and understandable to Mikos in this situation.
The scriptures I provided would help support a theme that there is a one true Living God that loves him and offers comfort and support. The opportunity is converting Mikos to a belief in Christianity and also being prepared to provide comfort in the event his brother dies. Potential relevant scriptures:
1. Trust in the Lord with all your heart; And do not lean on your own understanding.
2. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10 NIV)
3. John 14:6 (NIV) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
4. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18 NIV)
5. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. (Matthew 5:4 NIV)
6. “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest”. (Mathew 11:28 NIV)
7. “.. cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.” (Psalm 55:22 NIV)
8. “… casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” ( 1Peter 5:7 NIV)
9. “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.” (Psalm 56:3 NIV)
10. “I sought the Lord, and He answered me, And delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4, NIV)
11. “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV)
3. Explain why apologetic methods are fortified by a biblical basis.
Apologetics methods reinforce the truth of the message and the credibility of the messenger. Methods offer a variety of strategies to make the case and advocate for belief in Biblical Faith. Douglas Groothus in his book “Christian Apologetics,” references how The Federalist Papers supported the case for the Constitution. (Groothus, 2011, 23)
In addressing the prompt – Speaking the Truth, I think of the need to address the question: “Do I and my apologetic (worldview) speak the truth in word and deed?”
Ravi Zacharias identifies that a worldview has four elements: meaning, morality, and destiny. He further states that a worldview can be validated by applying three tests for truth: logical consistency, empirical adequacy, and experiential relevance. He reinforces that “When a worldview is submitted to these tests, the Christian message is utterly unique and meets the demand for truth.”
A test of individual (messenger) effectiveness on the application of a personal apologetic (worldview) reinforced by our instructor is to “have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” (I Cor. 9:22). “An ambitious goal but you have the rest of your life 🙂 God bless your efforts for His glory! “
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV).
Lee Strobel’s presentation in Session 1 of the six different evangelical styles helps to provide some context and support for being more effective. In my case, my style includes more of a heavy emphasis on the intellectual and testimonial attributes, but I have also applied the others – direct, relational, invitational, and servant when the situation warranted.
Sean McDowell, in his book “A New Kind of Apologist reinforces the needed attributes of being humble, relational, studious, and a practitioner. (McDowell, 2016, 15-16). My advocacy is for a Christian Political Apologetic that McDowell introduced in his book in an article by Jennifer A. Mathews titled: “A Christian Political Apologetic: Why, What, and How.” (McDowell, 2016, 167).
The test of “Truth” can be assessed not only by the message (respective apologetic and worldview) but also on the attributes of the messenger.
My approach to a Christian Political Apologetic is to leverage the interdependencies among Christianity, Quality Management, and Citizenship. The foundation for this approach can be summarized as follows:
- God created the world (heaven and earth) (Genesis 1:1). Variation is one of the laws of nature that states that everyone and everything is unique: one of a kind.
- Variation is the difference between the ideal (perfection) and the actual situation.  God created variation and expects us to reduce it. – be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mathew 5:48 NIV). The Bible provides the moral code and Jesus the example on the application of this code.
- Variation either gets better (more needs are met) or it gets worse (the effects on people of unmet needs). In addition to logic and reason, I may need to heavily reinforce this point within context of the Bible:
- “To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17 ESV).
- Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:24-30). Reinforces that leveraging resources is “better” than doing nothing which is “worse.”
- Deeds can lead to heaven (better) or hell (worse).
It is generally accepted within the quality profession, that the closer a product or service is to the ideal (optimum, nominal), the higher the quality and lower the costs. This concept is referred to as the Taguchi loss function. More information on the quality profession and industry provided by the American Society for Quality).
The U.S. Founding Fathers were influenced by Judeo-Christian teaching and principles and designed a system of government that could be continually improved in pursuit of “a more perfect Union.”
From the Quality Management and Citizenship perspective, I wrote a book – published in 1999 by the American Society for Quality, that made the case as to the relevance of the association between Quality and Citizenship. I wrote dozens of articles on the topic and presented numerous workshops and seminars. I also provided countless posts on social media on the topic. In the book, the Christian perspective was implied as opposed to stated and includes numerous examples that ranged from personal to the national.
With Jesus’s guidance, I am confident that I can make the case that a Christian Political Apologetic and worldview that leverages the interdependencies of Christianity, Quality Management and Citizenship represents Truth.
 Ravi Zacharias, “Ravi Zacharias: Four Criteria for a Coherent Worldview,” January 23, 2019, YouTube video, 4:39, https://youtu.be/uMe_tvZN6HQ. Ravi Zacharias, “Think Again,” RZIM, https://www.rzim.org/read/just-thinking-magazine/think-again-deep-questions
 Wikipedia: Taguchi Loss Function. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taguchi_loss_function
 Timothy J. Clark, Success Through Quality: Support Guide for the Journey to Continuous Improvement, Milwaukee: ASQ Press, 1999.
Everything you write fascinates and challenges me. I am eager to continue to learn from you.
I am particularly interested in your comments on Variation. From a professional standpoint these seem to be ideas that have been proven over time. Therefore, I am interested in learning how they work in sharing our faith. In particular, one comment you made was ” Deeds can lead to heaven (better) or hell (worse).” I would love to have you elaborate on that more. I have believed for a long time that I am saved to heaven by grace only. That implies that I cannot do enough good things to get to heaven without grace. I do understand that James speaks to the fact that faith without works is dead and I have always interpreted that to be a test of whether or not I had real faith, not a test of whether I could do enough good things to get to heaven. Am I misunderstanding your comment and if so please advise. If not, I would love to hear your thoughts so I can ponder on them.
I do not mean to challenge your view on this just to better understand the context and hopefully together we can both learn something.
Hi Steve, appreciate the feedback.
Sharing the quality perspective in a Christian forum is new to me. I’ve been focusing more on the quality and political aspect and I appreciate your questions.
On your statement: “I have believed for a long time that I am saved to heaven by grace only. That implies that I cannot do enough good things to get to heaven without grace.”
The basic premise: Only God is perfect; man is imperfect and expected by God to utilize our unique potential and capabilities that help improve the lives of our fellow man. Given variation, we are all unique, one of a kind, and provided with a unique purpose, plan, potential and god-given capabilities. We have the “choice” as to whether or not we develop these capabilities and apply them in doing the right things that only we can do with God’s grace and guidance.
Consequently, continual improvement is a moral imperative. Not applying our collective talents and unique capabilities have a cost on people and society that are not benefiting from these gifts. Doesn’t the Christian church have a responsibility to help people discover their purpose and share their gifts and god’s plan for them to include being a better citizen?
On the Taguchi loss function, this just covers the cost to society of imperfect products and services. It does not cover the cost to society of products and services that are never developed because more people at not applying more of their full potential.
In his book When Jesus Came to Harvard, Making Moral Choices Today, Harvey Cox reinforces the “better or worse” theme regarding moral choices: “…there has been an emerging convergence of the two ways of thinking that includes the consequences of action and inaction. …We can now do great evil without intending to. What we need today is more awareness, a wider recognition of how vast systems we are caught up in can do terrible things and how we can contribute to evil without even being conscious of it.”
I think the current divisiveness, violence, and chaos in the country provides a pretty good illustration of our failure as citizens to demand the application of better methods – thus the need for a Christian based Political Apologetic.