Yep, our ministry is a bit different. We mix physical defense with a defense of our faith. But when you understand the approach, it makes sense. Before I explain, let me lay some ground work. First, let’s make sure we all understand what Christian apologetics is. Contrary to some popular assumptions, it’s not an apology for our faith. The word apologetics is taken from the Latin word apologia, meaning “speaking in defense”, or to make a defense of a position or opinion. In this context, it is speaking in defense of our Christian faith. Next, understand that physical self-defense is clearly supported by the bible. It’s certainly all throughout the OT, and is clear in the NT. So, how does the mix of the two work?
An understanding of supporting evidence most certainly deepens our personal faith, but it also equips us for those that don’t hold the same beliefs and inquire or make an evidential challenge to our faith. If our faith is challenged by someone outside of the faith with inquiries for evidence that supports what we believe, how do we respond? A large percentage of our testimonies involve personal conversion experiences and family Christian traditions, that are rich, wonderful and blessings from God. But when faced with questions like, “how do you know Jesus really existed?”, or “what evidence do you have that God exists?”, or maybe the most important question in Christianity, “how do you know that the resurrection really happened?”, what evidence to we provide to these reasonable questions? How do we respond? To the unbeliever, saying that we know because the Bible tells us is circular logic.
To this group of folks, it’s kinda like saying, “well, I just know”. The bible tells us to be prepared to give a defense of the faith, and that could very well include a evidential defense of the truth claims made in the bible. The evidential trail is really abundant, but it’s not complete, and that’s why we’re required to have faith. However, we’re not told that it must be a faith completely absent of evidential proof; quite the opposite as the body of available evidence that God presents us is really large!
We practice a traditional and practical form of Okinawan karate focused on self-defense. What makes our approach a bit different on the martial arts side of our ministry actually maps to the methodology to the study of Christian apologetics, or more directly put, the evidence of our faith. Everything we do in our karate curriculum must have a self-defense application and have a clear logic and rationale, otherwise we discard it. A central component of our karate curriculum is called bunkai, which means an analysis of a technique for its physical truth. This is where the parallel is. This logical practice of analysis is also at the core of Christian apologetics. The bible tells us to love God with all our hearts, soul AND mind. It tells us to examine everything in what we believe carefully. Obviously this isn’t only a biblical directive towards an evidential examination, but it certainly includes it.
For each belt level, each student must demonstrate competence in the self-defense components of their testing requirements and be able to provide a verbal defense of a specific topic of evidential challenge to their faith. We want to train you to be able to defend your body and defend your faith. Our class is a group of folks ranging from high schoolers to retirees, so all ages in between are welcome. We’re a parachurch ministry that is open to all churches, home school groups and individual Christians. I hope to see you in the dojo soon!