Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Example of Dr. Gary Habermas

Dr. Gary Habermas is a recognized authority on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He has twenty-five books to his credit and has also authored over one hundred articles in journals and magazines across the nation.

Some of Habermas's more well-known works include The Case for the Resurrection (pictured), co-authored with New Testament scholar Mike Licona, The Historical Jesus, and The Risen Jesus and Future Hope.

Dr. Habermas has debated unbelievers such as former atheist Anthony Flew, skeptic Tim Callahan, and even more recently, atheist Kenneth Humphreys. Each debate and/or discussion (depending on the format) dealt with the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

As impressive as Habermas's credentials and accomplishments are, it's his kind and gentle attitude that is the subject of this post.

Dr. Habermas's friendship with former atheist Anthony Flew is well documented. Further, skeptic John Loftus, in a blog post, said of Habermas after meeting him at an apologetic conference:

"Probably the most interesting friendship I struck up was with Gary Habermas. He is unlike what I expected, although I don't know why I expected anything different. He was warm, witty, funny, and genuinely friendly toward me. He does not think he has any kind of notch on his belt for helping Antony Flew change his mind, and he openly admits Flew is a long way from Christianity. He says they talk all of the time. I believe he really is a great guy and enjoys people with no ulterior motive."

Additionally, while listening to the debate between Dr. Habermas and Kenneth Humphreys, Habermas commented on his friendship with skeptic Robert Price.

Admittedly, Christians to many times forget just Who they are representing while sharing their faith with those of different worldviews. I believe that Dr. Habermas's example of loving people were they are is one that all Christians should aspire to follow.

Dr. Habermas and Mike Licona, in their book The Case for the Resurrection, remind us of how we should approach those with questions and objections:

"The Bible teaches us about the attitude we should have while sharing our faith. Consider the following verses:

  • "A gentle answer turns away wrath. But a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable (Prov. 15:1-2a).

  • Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person (Col. 4:6).

  • And the Lord's bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will (2 Tim. 2:24-26).

  • But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence (1 Peter 3:15).

  • Have mercy on some, who are doubting (Jude 22).

Notice that God urges us to be kind, gentle, and merciful toward those who hold views other than our own.)" [1]

It has been well said that the only Bible some will ever see, is the one being lived out in front of them.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad A. Gross

1. Dr. Gary Habermas and Mike Licona, The Case for the Resurrection, p. 192-193.