I’m not exactly sure all that God is up to in my life but I do know He has been up to something recently. Over the past few weeks, I have increasingly felt God calling me to herald in our churches and its members a new desire for apologetic study and implementation both personally and corporately. I have been speaking much more on the subject recently both to youth and adults. I have been encouraged by others to continue up this emphasis. Some have been buying resources and listening to podcasts that train in the use of apologetics. Now some may not really know what I mean by apologetics. If you do a little research you will discover that the word comes from the Greek word apologia and can be translated ‘defense’ or ‘answer’. Apologetics is a defense and explanation of the Christian faith. It does not in any way lessen the importance or power of the Word but does provide a means to clear away the cultural junk that may be keeping others from even listening to or reading the Word. It is a form of pre-evangelism. Paul used this approach in Acts 17 when he engaged the culture in Athens. He knew and used their cultural background to form a bridge to them. He applauded those things which were shared in common and then challenged the areas in which there were contradictions or inadequacies in their reasoning. Yes, he debated them but in a caring way.
William Lane Craig states in his book On Guard that “the gospel is never heard in isolation. It is always heard against the backdrop of the culture in which you’ve been born and raised.” Now what this implies for the apologist is that they become a student of both the Word and the culture. It will mean that we have to come to understand some of what is occurring in science, technology, literary, cultural, media, and philosophical circles. We must become a student of the secular in order to understand enough to redirect them to the Truth.
Now some will say that all that is necessary is to preach the Word and that is all that must be done. To that, I would say that the time used to be where there was more of a shared foundation of the existence of God and of the search for truth. But this is not as true today. Today, the advance of atheism and secular humanism has caused many to begin to challenge once held cultural foundational principles. Today, we hear of moral and intellectual relativism, pluralism, tolerance and secularism. We hear of those who call themselves the New Atheists who are not silent about their opinions concerning the existence of God and make it their mission to ‘save’ as many as possible from the lie of Christianity or religious convictions in general. Are we as much on mission as they?
So this is my challenge. There are so many great resources out there that can help train you in how to effectively engage your culture for Christ. It will be hard work but worth it when you begin to have a defense for the faith within you. It will make you look more credible in the eyes of critics because you have taken the time to prepare a defense. There are so many lost and doubting people out there who have lost their way in the dark clouds of their unanswered questions concerning God.
Check out some of the following: