05.31.16

Meet the Brothers: Cameron Triggs

Cameron Triggs is a friend of The Front Porch and a church-planter headed to Orlando, FL. We brought him up on the porch to chop up about life, ministry, and a particular focus of his: apologetics. Holla at Cameron on Twitter: @CamTriggs, and c‘mon up and get to know Cameron and the work the Lord is doing in and through him.

Tell us a little about your life and conversion.

Well, as a young man, God saved me at the age of 17 as a church musician.  That is the most important thing about me: I am a sinner saved by grace. Other than that, I am married to the most gorgeous woman inside and out, Tymara Triggs. We have a son named after an amazing super-hero in-training whose name is Cameron as well.

So what is apologetics and how did you first get interested in it?

I like the simple definition utilized by theologian John Frame. He states, “Apologetics is the application of scripture to unbelief.” Essentially, apologetics is the discipline of defending our faith utilizing the revelation God has given us as our ultimate weapon.

I became interested in apologetics during my time at a secular university as a religious studies major. The university was antagonistic towards Christianity. To defend my faith and combat my doubts I began my lifetime journey into the discipline of Christian apologetics.

Tell us a little about your podcast devoted to apologetics?

I am honored to contribute to the ministry known as Jude 3 Project. It is an apologetics ministry started by my friend Lisa Fields. It aims to equip African American Christians to know what they believe and why. Every week, we are writing blogs, hosting podcast with special guests, such as yourself, and engaging those hungry for apologetic resources.

Do you think the study of apologetics is vital to the Christian life, and if so, how?

I really do. It’s vital because apologetics isn’t only about defending the faith to others. Often times, it’s about defending the faith to yourself. During times of doubt, skepticism, and ambiguity the study of apologetics can really bring a person towards a deeper trust and appreciation for Jesus Christ. The individual benefits are not the only reason apologetics is vital to the Christian life. It is also vital because apologetics is deeply intertwined within our evangelistic endeavors. We are commanded to share the faith and it is nearly impossible and rarely the case that we share without ever defending.

How have worked to introduce apologetics in your local church and your ministry to youth?

At our church, we have introduced apologetics within the curriculum of our Bible Study Fellowship groups (Sunday School). In relation to teens, I have often utilized my time preaching expository messages with an attention to apologetic applications that may arise while preaching the Bible. For example, while preaching through the book of Ephesians, we encounter instructions for Husbands, wives, children, and “slaves.” While preaching these portions of scriptures, I should be aware of the gender confusion prominent within our culture and the cultural baggage that comes with using a word such as slave. A sound expository message in this postmodern culture must untangle those issues before a skeptical crowd such as teens.

Are there any unique or pressing apologetic issues for the African-American context?

Absolutely! This is why we need more apologists in our context writing, speaking, and engaging these issues. Sadly, many of these issues do not have published resources, so I encourage brothers to buckle down in the library, and take up their pens on these issues. To name a few prominent apologetics issues:

  • There are African American cults that should be addressed from a biblical perspective.
  • The theological errors of certain Black Liberation Theologians
  • Social and intellectual engagement of the #blacklivesmatter movement
  • African American humanism attempting to address the problem of evil in the African American experience.

I think the issues we face may be unique in presentation and have contextual specifics we need to address. However, at the root of these issues are a rejection of biblical authority and the proper interpretation of scripture. Therefore, I would encourage those who are not experts in these particular areas to engage in the battle by equipping themselves with a thorough study of the Bible and its essential doctrines.

Are there any pitfalls to the study of apologetics? Have you seen anybody take this discipline in unhelpful directions?

To be completely candid, I have been unhelpful at times. Through error and the correction of the Holy Spirit I have been sarcastic, insensitive, and practically unhelpful. A seasoned apologist should endeavor to speak the truth in love. If we just speak the truth we can become harsh. If we just speak lovingly with out truth we are deceitful. , the classic proof text for apologetics, would serve us well in this area:

“but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect”

Apologetics must be gentle and respectful. Our approach should be wise and winsome not demeaning. in elaborates on the impact this has on our audience. It admonishes us “having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.”

If people are interested in learning more about apologetics, what recommendations would you give them?

First, I would sincerely recommended becoming a student of the Scriptures. They should study to show themselves approved and know what the Bible says. Often times, I find this is half the battle when confronting apparent Bible contradictions and cults. Second, I would suggest a good systematic theology. A systematic theology will equip the believer to know what the Bible states on essential doctrines. Know the key biblical doctrines of the Trinity, justification by faith, and the authority of the Bible are at the heart of many apologetic scenarios.

In addition to those basics, I would recommend seeking more intense forms of study. Many Bible colleges and seminaries have specific tracks geared towards apologetics that would serve a believer well to edify the church in this area.

15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, (ESV)

16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. (ESV)

3:1 Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. 10 For

“Whoever desires to love life
and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from speaking deceit;
11 let him turn away from evil and do good;
let him seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.

18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, 20 because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. 21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him. (ESV)

Thabiti Anyabwile
Thabiti Anyabwile serves as a pastor of Anacostia River Church (Washington DC). He is the happy husband of Kristie and the adoring father of two daughters and one son. Holler at him on Twitter: @ThabitiAnyabwil

C’mon Up!