No Other Hope

Apologetics training at the Chapel is broken into two parts—Defining and Defending the Faith. It is our aim that the Chapel staff this summer will come away with a reinforced understanding of what the Christian faith is, and how to defend it. There is no shame in our proclamation of the Gospel. Rather, when we preach Christ crucified, we are extending the gift of peace with God to the lost. “Always be ready,” 1 Peter 3:15 reads, “to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you.” (NKJV). One element of teaching that was emphasized this past week is the hopelessness of all unbelieving worldviews. When we defend the Gospel, we are defending the only hope for humanity.

When we minister on the boardwalk, we see the damaging effects sin leaves behind. When brothers and sisters in Christ minister to each other, we see the poison of sin does not leave the church untainted. Brokenness, guilt, and shame are an ever-present reality because of the fall.

“Atheists can’t deal with their shame. We point them to the only hope that they have, the only way to find relief from guilt and shame—in the person and work of Jesus Christ,” Pastor Zozzaro said on Tuesday.  “Clarify, compare, and confront. The idea is we want to bring them to the abyss. We want to bring them to see that every worldview outside of Christianity ends in emptiness.”

It is significant, whether in evangelism or apologetics, to listen. To stop and hear this person as one of us, a human who is in need of a Savior. The reality is that people do not have a way to interpret guilt, if they are consistent with their worldviews. Christianity makes sense of these things. Apologetics is not an opportunity to demonstrate one’s own brilliance. It is an opportunity to compassionately and honestly confront the unbeliever with the folly of his own worldview, and the consistency and hope found in Christ alone.

“Christ provides objective relief for objective guilt,” Pastor Zozzaro said, as he explained points of contact we have with non-Christians. “‘Why do I feel guilty?’ Because you are guilty. ‘Why do I feel shame?’ Because what you did was shameful. You could never pay your sin debt. But God has provided a substitute in the person and work of Jesus Christ. He gives you his righteousness so you can stand before him—you no longer have to stand before him in shame. You’re no longer guilty in Christ. You’re declared forgiven—not guilty. Again, what’s the cost? If you deny the Gospel, if you deny the existence of God, you are without hope. That’s the price of your atheism if you want to hold onto it.”

The reality of sin is one that everyone knows in his heart to be true. Even if the dualist, or the atheist, or the pantheist, or the deist tries to ignore his guilt, it is something everyone knows is there. That is because we live in a universe created by God. And God sent his Son, the Lord Jesus, to be a propitiation for our sins. Even cults and false religions that borrow from Christianity do not have this same hope. They reject Christ as the sufficient sacrifice or Son of God—leaving themselves still guilty.

Faces move past on the boardwalk. Person after person goes by. God’s Word tells us that we all know Him. The lost are suppressing that truth. But a time will come when one may ask you: why do you have hope? How is it possible?

Here is the answer Pastor Zozzaro shared on Wednesday:
“The only hope for brokenness is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The first Adam brings in alienation and brokenness. The second Adam brings shalom. Peace. Wholeness.”

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