About the Ministry
Introduction by Father Gregory Bishay
Do you believe in God? Regardless of the answer, apologetics is for you. If one believes in God but has doubts, he or she will eventually reach an impasse in his/her relationship with God. On the other hand, if one does not believe in God, apologetics is all the more suitable! The goal of the apologetics is in accordance with both those who believe and those who do not: on the one hand, it answers questions about the presence of God, and on the other, it explains our faith and worship practice in a convincing, thorough, and logical manner. It is for both non-believers and for people who practice the Christian faith but want to validate it in order to ensure that they are not just practicing a faith blindly. Furthermore, believers who study apologetics are able to withstand attacks on the faith and can defend the faith. The apologetics will therefore assist to the reader in fulfilling the apostolic mandate:
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:15)
I have developed a unique approach that is based on “levels” or “thought stages” where each level addresses certain doubts or issues. The lowest level answers atheistic questions using science, history, logic, and/or philosophy. This lowest and most challenging level leads to arguments from different angles pointing to to the presence of a Creator or, at the very least, poses major challenges to the arguments for the lack of a Creator. When the existence of a Creator is established, we advance to the next level, where we compare Christianity as a faith with other faiths. The third level explains the apostolic faith (as compared to Protestantism) via a novel approach that does not rely on debate. Rather, we explain the salvation through a lens of being a solution to a problem created by mankind: the problem is the Fall and the solution is the partaking of the Body and the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. The final level is the study of the Christian apostolic faith from all angles, including the work that all Apostolic Churches do in their liturgies, sermons, bible studies according to Church Fathers, spiritual meetings, Sunday School programs, and so on. This level is not discussed presently, but will be the topic of a future work which focuses on the Heresies and the Great Schism that happened in Chalcedon in 451 AD.
The goal of our Orthodox Christian faith is to live in the grace which is culminated through Christ by abiding in His congregation through the Mystery of Eucharist (the Body and the Blood of the Lord). However, for the faith to grow, we have to evangelize to all those with questions, and these questions have to be answered with different approaches and cannot be answered simplistically (which makes our rich church sound naive and unable to delve into different scientific or philosophical avenues) but by thorough, well-researched arguments. Furthermore, we cannot use spiritual jargon or references with those who have scientific questions discussing evolution or cosmology/the origin of the universe or they will feel that our goal is to proselytize them. To those seeking the truth, any discussion of the Bible or of Christ will not yield enlightenment in the early stages of research.
For the believers, we must understand that apologetics is not a mental approach to religion; otherwise one will become an intellect rather than a spiritual person, and the study of the Faith will turn into an academic study. Orthodoxy is lived, and hence the field of apologetics leads to a deeper relationship with Christ through the personal life, and moreover through the life and the liturgical practice within the church.