Popular Roman Catholic blogger Matt Walsh (who we’ve covered before) recently wrote: “I have gotten into trouble with some Christians for several of the opinions I expressed during my interview with Ben Shapiro on the Sunday Special.” He writes that during this interview he “contend[ed] that Christians should not appeal to the Bible when arguing with unbelievers about political and cultural topics.” Is he right about this?
Walsh went on to write,
There is no need to quote Scripture when trying to explain, for example, why it’s wrong to kill babies. You don’t need to pull out Genesis to convince someone that a man in a dress isn’t a woman. It’s not necessary to mine the Epistles in order to advocate for free speech rights. And if your interlocutor doesn’t believe in the Bible, then this appeal to authority is not only unnecessary but counterproductive. You have now turned a conversation about logic, reason, or science, into a theological debate with a person who rejects the entire premise of your theology . . .
I believe that the Bible is an authority. But if the person I am addressing does not share that conviction, then, if I want to prove my point by referencing it, I must first convince him that it is an authority. That is an entirely different subject, and a difficult one, and not one you are likely to settle with one conversation. Why go off on that track if you can make your case honestly and persuasively and without having to wait for your opponent to get baptized?
Here’s what I would say to that argument. The Bible, God’s infallible Word, is the absolute authority and, for Christians, it’s the foundation for a truly biblical worldview. Without this basis, fallible man (like me, Matt Walsh, and anyone else) doesn’t have an absolute basis for morality. Therefore, we could only argue based on subjective opinions.
God’s Word itself tells us we are in a spiritual battle when it comes to worldview issues:
For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4).
If we ignore or will not appeal to the Bible as our authority, we have no basis for absolute morality and can no longer authoritatively stand for what’s right and wrong. Many of the people with whom we speak reject this foundation for our worldview, but if we as Christians abandon it, we’ve lost the battle!
There is no neutral position—one is either for or against Christ (Matthew 12:30), one walks in light or darkness (1 John 1), and one builds a house on the rock or the sand (Matthew 7:24–27). If you give up the “sword,” you’ll ultimately lose the battle:
The word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12).
You can’t effectively argue with someone about a worldview-based issue (such as abortion, transgender, or gay “marriage”) if you don’t have the same foundation. It’s like trying to build a house by starting with the roof or walls—it just doesn’t work! First, you need to lay the foundation. If someone doesn’t believe the Bible, ask them why and deal with their objections to the truth of God’s Word. Why? Because our ultimate goal should never be merely to convince someone that abortion, transgender, or gay “marriage” (or anything else) is wrong. Our goal should be to point them towards the life-saving message of the gospel! And “faith comes from hearing and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).
Apologetics isn’t just quoting the Bible. It involves giving scientific, historical, and philosophical arguments for what we believe. But it should always start with the Bible because it is our ultimate authority and it frames our thinking. We can’t give up our starting point and adopt the secular one that man determines truth! If we do that, we’ve lost the battle already!
Now, please don’t misunderstand. Depending on where a person is at in their thinking, you may have to answer some of their questions to get them to doubt their position. But ultimately you have to show clearly that, as Christians, we do start with the Bible. You can use observational science to help them see how science confirms the Bible’s history and then explain how our worldview is built on the Bible, so that is why we believe what we do regarding morality.