by Rob Lundberg
Some time ago, I shared an article about four dangerous trends that are confronting the church and the culture. Although I wrote that article about four years ago, these four trends are still with us and moving forward with a vengeance. Also these trends confirm that nothing has changed since I “rang the bell” pointing out that the task of apologetics in the church is needed more than ever. People today have ratcheted up their living in a delusion of a humanistic, hedonistic, and a sexually dysphoric existence, reflecting no need for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Local Christian schools and high schools are not providing the equipping they need to insulate their students with solid reasons for the truth of the Christian faith. I will sometimes run into a student and ask them if I can survey them with three questions: “Why are you a Christian and please do not use your testimony as the answer”; “Why do you believe the Bible is true, and please do not tell that it says it is God’s Word”; and “Is truth absolute or relative?”
The answers that I get are nothing less than scary. All but a handful of surveys from local graduates could do a pretty good job. From the vast majority of them, the response I received was “crickets,” until I coached them through the answers. The response from many was, “Oh yeah, we learned that first semester.” Their answers to the second question were much like the first, needing coaching to get to the brass tacks of the answer.
The last question on truth being absolute or relative was interesting. Over fifty percent told me that truth is relative, and gave me reasons for that belief, which were easily refutable. Do we see a problem yet? I believe it is pretty clear that Christian high schools are asleep at the wheel in preparing their students for making an impact in the post truth culture.
What makes matters worse, many pastors are not paying attention to the need for apologetics in their churches. And if they do, it is very superficial, spending 2-6 weeks in a book study that amounts to popping in a video and filling in a worksheet or a workbook. There is little if any time for role playing and practicing before they go out in the post Christian culture to engage it with the truth of the Christian faith and the gospel.
You can check the data and the research that has been conducted and updated. Some of you might recall that I posted on a similar title. But time has past, and we are still flatlining in the response to that post. What I want to share here are four things that apologetics can do for believers and for the church.
1. Apologetics helps believers better know their faith and equips them to share their faith more effectively and confidently.
It is my conviction, along with my colleagues that every Christian should be able to answer important questions like, Why do you believe in Jesus? Why doe believe the Bible? How do we know that Jesus really rose from the dead? What is the meaning and purpose of life? Does God exist? These are popular questions that many people, sitting in the pews week after week are asking. They are also questions that people, seeking for answers, are asking those who should know and be able to articulate the answer in a winsome and gentle manner. (1 Peter 315-17).
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If you are actively living out your faith in the marketplace of ideas, you will never know when someone who is skeptical (to whatever degree) to the Christian faith ask you a question like the ones just mentioned. When we commit to working through the “why” of the Christian faith, we will be able to converse with the person in hopes to “clear the bushes” so that they can get a clear view of who Jesus Christ is and what He has done for them.
2. Apologetics helps believers in answering people’s real questions which hinder them from accepting the gospel.
Not everyone in the church service believes the same way as their pastor. Not everyone in the church pew believes in the same way as the other “sheep” in the pews. In fact there may be some who doubt what the pastor is preaching. There may be others who have a question about the Christian faith, but are too afraid or embarrassed to ask someone who may be a stronger believer.
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A few years ago, I was in a conversation with a man who had questions about Jesus’ existence because of the popular, yet poor scholarship driven movie, Zeitgeist. This movie attempts, using shoddy arguments, to prove that Jesus did not exist and that He was a copycat messiah based on pagan myths.
This movie ensnared the mind of this man, and he was asking me my take about the movie. Having seen a couple editions of it, I had the chance to share with him about the real Jesus and His historical existence. Folks, the internet is a dangerous playground in many of the “neighborhoods” of the information highway. Many young people, Christians not excluded, might run into some slick argument written by a skeptic that has them questioning their faith.
And we don’t think we need apologetics and apologists in churches? Really?
3. Apologetics helps believers gain influence in the public square, and provide an open door for them to become a public influence through education, the media, the arts, etc.
Let me just get it out. Apologists and apologetics training are definitely needed in the church today. We are living in more sophisticated times than the early church, and just like back then, there are times where there is a need to help prevent false teachings and apostasy in the Church.
We are having to respond to things like “centering or contemplative mystical prayer,“or the”new apostolic reformation,” which are false applications of biblical Christianity that have crept into churches today. The pastoral leadership, needs to be aware of what is happening in the church culture, and having “sheep dog minded” apologists in the churches benefit pastors by holding up their arms, like Aaron and Hur, to alert them of such heresies.
4. Apologetics is definitely needed because of the the false claims coming from cults and the world religious world views.
The cults have been around since the Early church, and they will be around until Jesus returns. But when it comes to cult groups like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, and the world religions like Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam, they are not going away anytime too soon.
We also see ideologies smuggled and cloaked with “Christianese” like “Christian yoga” and the Word Faith heresy, which are based on Hindu teachings and mind science respectively. Yoga is based upon and inseparable from the Hindu pantheistic worldview. The Word Faith teaching is based on a modernized form of gnosticism.
Christians engaged in apologetics are able to reach out to the culture and not just the cults. Apologetics has a missiological arm to it. Reaching into and speaking to the issues in our culture is important to the church. Christians ought to be able to respond to the humanistic ideologies of our day, and in turn encourage believers to know and understand the times in which we are living. This encourages believers in what we ought to do missionally and evangelistically; just like the sons of Issachar in 1 Chronicles 12:32,
“The sons of Issachar were “men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do.“
Shouldn’t we also understand the times in which we live, and then learn from the Word, and from incorporating the spiritual discipline of apologetics and pre-evangelism, so that we know “how we should then live” in this post Christian culture?
Rob is a blogger, writer and public speaker on a mission to equip the believer to think and articulate what they believe and to communicate the message of the gospel to a confused culture in a confused, chaotic, “brave new world.”
He is available to come and speak to your church, college club, or group. Find out what people are saying. If you would like to support this ministry with a one time or monthly gift, you can do that by clicking here
If you would like to book Rob for a speaking event, you can do so by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org If you have other questions about apologetics or doing apologetics, or if you are looking for apologetics resources, contact our ministry by email.
 There as a recent blog post by the “Friendly Atheist” Hemant Mehta entitled “A Christian School Turned Me Into a Personal Project. Every Child Failed” in which he snidely points out that there is a problem in how our students are responding to pop atheist objections. Let me add that it also proves we have a problem that can no longer be ignored by youth groups, church pastors, and yes, even Christian high schools.
 This is one reason why the statistics are high with young people walking away from the faith and some adults leaving church. The numbers in our culture are on the rise and we need apologetics type preaching to make the message relevant to people who are overburdened by the baggage from the world.