by Rob Lundberg
I am not sure we realize this or not, but 9/11 changed the religious climate of our culture. We were hit with a terrorist attack in the name of a geo-political religion that awakened the spiritual pulse of our culture into skepticism. How could God allow something like that to happen to this country. . . He must not exist.” It also quickened the new atheist writers like Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and the late Christopher Hitchens.
But for the Christian culture, that fateful event was just the icing on the cake of a paradigm shift that began when Charles Darwin wrote his book, Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. What was the church’s response to this? The church turned inward. Before Darwin’s book and scientism pushing for a place in modern thought, the intellectual life held a high place of honor. And it was believed that the Christian mind could be the best mind and apologetics was a well thought of spiritual discipline. Today, it is another story.
Today, as a result of the rise of scientism thanks to Darwin and a nation shaking terrorist attack, we are finding that the tektonic shifts of ideas has made it a rare occasion for one to be able to share John 3:3; 3:16; Romans 3:23; 6:23; 5:8; 10:9,10; 1 Peter 3:18; 1 John 1:9; and John 1:12 in an evangelism visit outside the walls of the church.
As I see it, our culture has become more and more skeptical toward religion in general and Christianity in particular. This is why I believe that we need to revive and incorporate the discipline of apologetics into our evangelism (i.e., develop a conversational style of evangelism). That being stated, here are seven (7) ways apologetics can be used to think about how we do evangelism today.
- Apologetics can used to break down intellectual barriers people have toward the gospel. Many believers have stated when asked why they do not share their faith or the gospel, and we get the response of the fact that they are afraid of being asked a question by the person they are witnessing to. The reason that people won’t instantly accept Jesus into their life after hearing the gospel is because they may have questions or objections that hold them back from doing so. Apologetics starts the process of tearing down these intellectual barriers.
- Apologetics can used to better connect with people that have passions that are different than ours. For example, by diving into Apologetics topics related to science, you can have a deep conversation with a scientist (say, about the origin of the Universe) even when science isn’t your top passion. If cults are your passion, and you are versed in witnessing to people embracing Mormonism, Watchtower theology or the new spirituality (New Age worldview), or even Islam, you may be ready to share the similarities and differences between the cult, religion, or worldview.
- Using apologetics helps us to better understand another person’s perspective. When someone starts explaining a viewpoint that we have already heard from our apologetics research, and we are studied up on it. we will have a better understanding on how the person arrived at their viewpoint. In turn, we will be able to give a response showing why that viewpoint might fall short of being logically inconsistent, empirically inadequate, experientially irrelevant, or way short of the biblical truth.
- Apologetics gives us greater empathy toward people with other views. When we wrestle through apologetics topics, understanding the difficulty of that process, we find that it just might help us empathize with the emotions of the person. The person is the one who is wrestling through the same topic, but coming to different conclusions. Because each of use in the dialogue are created in the image and likeness of God, we can find that apologetics helps in the empathetic situation to point the person to a better truth which is grounded on objective reality and not on the emotive or existential experience.
- When we use apologetics, we carry on the work of Christian thinkers and heroes living throughout the centuries. This is an emotive reason because there is a long list of Christians defending the truth of God through the ages – St. Augustine, Tertullian, Blaise Pascal, Francis Schaeffer, Norman Geisler, and C.S. Lewis instantly come to mind.
- Apologetics can be used to reach people who are naturally skeptical. Our ministry on occasion trains believers to go into the skeptical rallies to talk with those who have no intention on believing what we believe. Nevertheless, apologetics-based discussion is the only kind of spiritual discussion a skeptic will be open to. The beauty of this is that, the skeptic is more respectful because they have a caring and cordial believer engaging them.
- Apologetics prepares us for questions about faith people may ask. Try doing a question and answer session with youth. As I mentioned this in my first pont, that many Christians shy away from evangelism because they’re afraid of the questions that might be asked. The personal aspect of this is that apologetics eases this anxiety and instill confidence in the believer by equipping them to answer the questions that others have toward the Christian faith.
There you have it, seven usages for engaging apologetics in our evangelism. There may be times where a person is ready to listen to the Roman Road, or take a Spiritual Laws tract or a Got Life Doc. But as our culture becomes more and more skeptical, it is going to become more and more important to be able to articulate biblical truth without quoting chapter and verse. You and I know the Scripture references, but try articulating those verses passage in a summation. Let me close with an example.
You know, God loved the world so much that He committed the ultimate act of love by sending His Son to come and die for all of us who will believe (John 3:16 check it out!) If you would like to know more about the evangelistic arm of our ministry, check out our Get Real Life page and check out the Flash presentation at Click Here to find out how to get REAL LIFE!
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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 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.