It’s such a great joy to review a Pinoy Christian book. Not only does it tell you that the Philippine Christian literature scene is still alive and well, but it is something we can be proud about. That’s why Delighting Grace is helping local books and author to have a voice in the local market. One of which is the bestseller “Mga Mahahalagang Tanong At Mga Sagot (Important Questions and Answers” by Ptr. Jun Ballesteros. I contacted Ptr. Ballesteros and ask for an interview covering apologetics and of course his book.
Delighting Grace: Pastor Jun, in the scale of 1-10, how would you rate Pinoy Christians in terms of their knowledge with apologetics, how they incorporate in their ministry and church; and why?
Jun Ballesteros: I think it a 2, but I could be wrong. I say this because most of the apologists I know of are those who’ve gone through rigid training at seminaries or bible schools such as pastors and missionaries. These institutions have almost always been the only venue for equipping Christ’s disciples in this area of apologetics. It’s a must that we make churches “little” seminaries and train them how to hold on to sound doctrines and be able to defend their faith especially these days when the onslaught of false teachers is at its height, 2 John 1:7; 1 John 4:1.
Delighting Grace: How important is apologetics to a Christian? Many believers will dismiss that it will only harbor debates. Is that true?
Jun Ballesteros: It is not necessarily true. Sure, apologetics is very important. All believers in Christ should stand firm and be able to contend earnestly for the faith, Jude 3. Knowing the Bible’s sound doctrine does not encourage debates. It will make Christians to be always ready to give an answer to anyone, 1 Peter 3:15 and all true Christians should! However, to debate is a choice. Any Christian may choose not to in obedience to Paul’s admonition in II Tim. 2:14, 24. Our goal is to win as many souls as we can to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, not engage in debates. We are supposed to win friends, not arguments.
Delighting Grace: Its been said that sometimes asking questions means that you are an eager learner. So how can Christians profit from asking questions especially in matters of apologetics?
Jun Ballesteros: Asking questions and getting answers from right people can deepen knowledge and strengthen commitment; it broadens biblical perspective and it would also boost up faith and conviction. When Christians have achieved this depth, width and height as people of the Word, they are ready for anything. Thus, they don’t waiver easily nor be swayed by any false teachings.
Delighting GraceWhere did you get the idea in writing a book like this? Can you elaborate the process of producing this bestseller?
Jun Ballesteros: As a church planting missionary some years ago, I knew I would not stay long in the island of Mindoro. One day I gathered a bunch of leaders for a seminar on Hermeneutics, Ecclesiology, Homiletics, Eschatology and other subjects. Just before the final session was closed, most of them raised a real concern, “What if we’re confronted with tough questions and objections, what should we do?” I remember saying, “Don’t worry, I will prepare some ready materials.”
As promised, l prepared a type-written material which contains common questions which I myself had encountered in some years of ministry. In this hand-out with several pages back then, I knew I provided them the same answers which I used to give to honest seekers, scoffers and narrow-minded objectors as well. Then I realized that what I did was not just giving the head-knowledge or the push and drive they needed. Then I handed to them this material several days I made that promise. I was able to give them a tool: an Easy Reference and a Ready Defence!
So they went forth and led Bible Studies without fear, ready at all times. As a matter of fact, some of them even had spearheaded several church planting ventures. Hence, this book was originally written for Christian leaders and workers who haven’t been through a formal training in Seminary or Bible School. When my manuscript was used in a publication called, The Life Times Magazine, it was always a sought-after article. The Life Times Magazine editorial committee, which was headed by Brother Ric Avelino, Diony Espiritu, Gerry Oliveros among others, encouraged me to publish it as a book. So, in 1997 the first 1,000 copies were printed and copyrighted the following year.
Delighting Grace: As a writer what are the lessons you have learn while producing this great book?
Jun Ballesteros: I have learned that there are a lot more to learn to be able to help others learn as well! No one can give away what he does not have. Also, equipping Christians does not only mean providing the head-knowledge, the grip and the drive. It should also include a ready arm: a quick reference to the Bible’s sound doctrines.
Delighting Grace: As I check your book, there are lots of positive feedback, praises and stories from people who read it. So which is the most notable and really touched your heart?
Jun Ballesteros: Every feedback given is notable and touched my heart! To know that the Lord is using a very simple work gives me an awe-inspiring feeling! I am giving the glory back to our Lord God who gave me wisdom and the burden to write. I praise Him because this material, although it was originally written for Christian leaders and workers is also now leading the lost to come face-to-face with the Truth and that is Jesus Christ who is also the Way and Life (John 14:6).
Delighting Grace: How do you handle your critics especially when presenting the truth? What is the proper response of a Christian like if they see something on the internet that attacks their core beliefs?
Jun Ballesteros: God has gifted our country much freedom and we live in a democratic government where anyone can express his or her ideas. I have presented in print what I believe is true, by this same token, thus anyone has the right to prove it otherwise. Incidentally, let me mention that I didn’t have any iota of assault in mind against any religion when I wrote this book. I just gave answers to questions which I myself had encountered in my years of ministry and put them altogether so others could also them as they are confronted.
Delighting Grace: Pastor Jun thank you for your time. Its a pleasure chatting with you. So tell our readers why they should get your book “Mga Mahahalagang Tanong At Mga Sagot”.
Again, this book was not written for you my co-pastors and co-missionaries who have graduated from seminaries and Bible schools. However, since all God’s children are and should always be at the cutting-edge leading lost people to Christ through cell-groups, they must be equipped and armed with this apologetic tool, Christians’ Easy Reference and a Ready Defence. This is the very reason why each of them ought to have a copy of this book. I am not surprised if some pastors, like Bishop John Sagaoinit of World Changers International, require or much less encourage their cell leaders and other workers to own a copy of this book. Amen!
Delighting Grace: Any parting words to people who already read the book? How can they maximize the use of this helpful tool?
Jun Ballesteros: Thanks to all for reading this book. Please help others to obtain a copy in its original book form and not the photocopy. Let us remind them the Christian virtue of honesty and not the art of perjury though intellectual piracy. The only way to maximize the use of this tool is for lay-workers to utilize it in the context of reaching people to Christ and providing answers to sincere queries on faith. Also, it is useful for their personal growth, increasing biblical knowledge and deepening conviction.
Ptr Jun’s book “Mga Mahahalagang Tanong At Mga Sagot” is translated in Filipino, Cebuano and English. The book is available at your nearest CLC Bookshops, PCBS, National Bookstore or online at http://www.clcphilippines.com