by Mike Ratliff
45 Philip *found Nathanael and *said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip *said to him, “Come and see.” John 1:45-46 (NASB)
In the passage above, John 1:45-46, we see two of our Lord’s future Apostles, Philip and Nathanael, conversing. Philip finds his friend Nathanael and tells him that he and other friends have found “him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote.” This is, of course, the Messiah. Then he tells him who he is, “Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” What was Nathanael’s response? He asked a rhetorical question, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” What was Philip’s answer? It was the one we must all take to heart and make the foundation of how we approach both evangelism and apologetics. He said, “Come and see.”
Why did Nathanael have such a low view of Nazareth and those from there? Nazareth was just a backwater village in a sleepy area that had no prophetic significance. Nathanael probably thought, “Surely the Messiah will come from Jerusalem” as did the Jewish religious leaders in John 7:52. What must we take from this my brethren?
In our day, the Gospel has been given a new spin. It has been diluted to appeal to the “unchurched” and made to conform to “seeker sensitivity.” Those doing this are spiritually blind to the truth. They are in unbelief. They detest the real Gospel, which is about sin, God’s wrath, and the need for repentance and trust in Jesus’ blood. Since this is not popular, they hate that message and those who preach only that are never popular either. However, that is the message of Jesus the Nazarene. The real Jesus and His true disciple, will never be popular.
Of course there is another attack on the Gospel that I and some of my friends have called an “inside job.” It is the Social Justice movement within evangelicalism and those behind it we used to call the New Calvinists or those behind the New Evangelism. What this movement is all about is refocusing the Gospel away from sin, God’s wrath, and the need for repentance and trust in Jesus’ blood and putting it on something called Social Justice or what we used to call “making this world a better place.” The problem is that this movement is all about normalizing sinful lifestyles in Christianity that used to be called an abomination such as homosexuality in all its forms. The roots of this movement is Cultural Marxism not anything found in God’s Word. When we have encountered those in this movement who refer to themselves as “Woke Christians” they get very angry with us for being “unloving” and not like Jesus would be toward those who are “different.” They want us to be accepting and not to call for repentance. However, if we conformed to that would we be doing true evangelism? Would we be dealing with their wrong view of Christianity apologetically? No, of course not. We tell the truth, but not in an insulting way.
Philip did not argue with Nathanael, but rather he just said, “Come and see.” This is true evangelism. We do not argue people into the Kingdom of God. The best form of apologetics is to proclaim the truth with our lips and the evidence of Christ in our lives. As we use presuppositional apologetics in dealing with those who insist on attacking our faith, however, the best method is still Philip’s direct approach of going for the truth. Reveal the truth of Christ as you show those in unbelief that what they believe is the truth is only the wisdom of this world, which is valueless. Never forget though, it all begins with the proclamation of the truth.
Soli Deo Gloria!