Do Churches Need Apologetics?
This blog was updated October 2018 to better convey thoughts I wanted to express, as I make a plea to churches to understand just what is at stake in our present culture.
Though its roots run much deeper than our present times, I believe apologetics is an effective and pertinent end times' ministry ripely positioned for our day and age that should be receiving more recognition than it has. I get the sense that a lot of churches are a bit leery of it, that such intellectually-minded thinking is considered worldly and has no place in the church, and that many just don't understand what apologetics is, or what is truly at stake. Some churches don't comprehend how vital it is to have materials in place or avenues to address the questions, issues, and needs that could reside in the minds of many congregants. These questions and issues are in relation to present and pertinent societal and cultural changes, and philosophical and scientific challenges to their faith and present way of thinking. From intellectualism, science education, philosophy, and the demands of culture, we're being forced to address many pressing issues one way or another, all the while the culture around us is ready to make of these issues what they will, in a frenzy of sorts with truth up for grabs.
If we're honest, I think many of us can admit times when we've struggled with our faith. We may have had questions or doubts, that if vocalized might appear blasphemous. I believe the enemy of our souls uses those unanswered questions to slowly erode people's faith. Like the sand caught in an oyster's shell, that irritant constantly gnaws away at the oyster until it begins to secrete the lovely substance that produces a pearl, but what pearls of "wisdom" are these doubts generating in the mind of one struggling with their Christian faith or of one struggling to accept the Christian faith for the first time? Is the wisdom being generated that which comes from above or below? The Bible says concerning wisdom: "19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. 20 And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain" 1 Corinthians 3:19-20. So the challenge is to recognize that people in our churches are struggling with issues that aren't being addressed, yet, the culture around us is certainly ready, willing and able to address them. It's not only addressing them, but shouting out its naturalistic, anti-biblical, relativistic message loud and clear. It is increasingly necessary then for Christians to be informed especially as the tide of our present culture war is growing fiercer. In conjunction with that, it seems that the door on freedom of speech is slowly closing as the debate rages on, to the point that if we're going to communicate Biblical truth to the Church and the world, we must do it now.
As an apologist who felt the call to go into this ministry several years ago, it didn’t take long for me to understand why the Church today needed the field of study known as apologetics. This is because I began to see that we as Christians were doing way too much “apologizing” for our beliefs, that people were being made to feel embarrassed to admit being a Christian, for daring to believe in an invisible, supernatural God, for believing in miracles, for believing that Jesus actually lived, and that He died, and resurrected. Likewise, going into the study of science, I became painfully and woefully aware that scientism has struck many nails into the supposed “coffin” of Christianity and the validity and trustworthiness of the Bible. Sadly speaking, it wasn’t just scientism. You also had Higher Criticism where the Bible began to be picked apart literally verse by verse to result in a watered-down, very poor, and low view of Scripture. People were now being given intellectual reasons not to believe in God or His Word. That meant that people were steadily on a path to hell with justified reasons for it, because scientists, scholars, philosophers, historians, and even theologians had told them so, no longer the Bible as the old Christian nursery rhyme goes. Now we have a culture who sees Christians as narrow-minded and bigoted, who see the Bible as a fanciful book of fairy-tales and legends, outdated in its morals and law codes. We see the world decaying because the salt has lost its savor, and whatever seems and feels right for a person to do, is the new deciding factor on how one should live. We live in a world where your truth is yours, and mine is mine, and we should be happy to just tolerate one another and leave it at that. Do you still think the church no longer needs apologetics? Please keep reading.
I believe we are living in the last days that Jesus Himself described in Scripture. A characteristic of these times is given in the event known as the great falling away or apostasy (apostosia as it’s called in the Greek) as described in Matthew 24 and 2 Thessalonians 5. I described it in a previous blog titled "Don’t Bury Your Head: Signs of the Times Part I." People are not convinced that this “thing” called Christianity is real or relevant for our world today, but that's just the sort of thinking that Scripture warned us would mark off the end times. They scoff, laugh, and mock at anyone who dares to call themselves Christian, seeks to assert their opinions, or chooses to take a high view of Scripture. They are “waking up” as they say and are seeking other forms of spirituality at an alarming rate.
When someone comes and hurls an argument at you, to either make fun of or insult you, or if an argument is presented from someone who sincerely seeks to understand why you believe what you believe as a Christian, are you ready to answer them? Do you not know that Scripture tells us to always be ready to give a reason, and answer for why we believe, for the hope that lies within us (1 Peter 3:15)? That’s what apologetics is…it is a reasonable defense of the faith. If someone comes and tells you that scientists have proved we didn’t need a God to create the universe, that everything we see around us from stars, to planets, to frogs are all the result of one big unguided, undirected, uncaused series of accidents, are you ready to combat that? Are you willing to accept it when someone calls you an accident and tells you that you have no purpose for being here other than the one you make up, that there is no objective morality, or that no one value system has the right to place itself over another? Christian, are you ready to answer that? Are you ready to explain to people why we humans are not gods, but far from it...that all roads don't lead to heaven, to the true and living God? If not, are you ready to see people walk away right into hell? They need to be told these things while they have a chance to do something about it. When babies die or tragedies happen and people are screaming, “Where is God? Where was God? If He were real, how could He allow all of these horrible things to happen?” are you ready to comfort them with truth?
You better believe apologetics is needed. I want to be ready as a Christian to defend what I believe, not with a gun or with bitter, violent words or confrontations, but with the gentleness of the Gospel, dismantling strongholds, and showing them that history bears record to the truths Scripture told us about long ago, that Jesus is not Horus, that the things it mentioned from a scientific perspective, to historical people and places, happened or lived and were real people in real places, that miracles did and still do happen, that lives can be changed. I want to know how to take a false argument that exalts itself against the knowledge of God and dismantle it like a cheap $2 drugstore toy. It’s my pleasure to take that argument to pieces and show you why and how it doesn’t work. The time to play is out. Ignorance is not bliss. Ignoring what’s going on in our society and culture today is harmful and alarming, even hearing what is going on in some churches about what “Christians” are choosing to believe or reject (because seminary has told them so)...to believe that Adam and Eve weren’t historical people, is frightening. To Christians and to the world, I admonish you...don't bury your heads in the sand!
I’ll say it again as I’ve said it before, the systems of the world and society's way of thinking are changing. We have unique challenges that face the modern Church, heightened by anti-Christian ideologies available through so much technology at our fingerprints. Technology is not bad in itself, but is a vehicle freely open and in use for people to get their ideas across, ideas both good and bad. God is looking for faith in these last and evil days. If your faith is weak, or maybe someone around yours is, then you need to have answers to help build yourself up and them, especially young people who are being bombarded with cultural and philosophical lies. The spirit of deception is running rampant through this world and a generation is falling for it. The world is being prepped with anti-Christian thinking and the new system that is coming in place, which will precede the arrival of the Antichrist, whose spirit is already here, alive and well, having been at work for some time. The Antichrist is coming in the place of Christ and the people are being conditioned to receive him and Satan’s version of truth. Don’t be deceived. We need apologetics in our churches and for that matter in our homes. We need to be equipped to understand the deception that is taking place right beneath our noses, while we were and are sleeping. The struggle is real and we are here to help. Don’t look at us as intellectual big heads, but as special forces in the body, people who have gone into enemy “in terms of satanic” territory, into mindsets, ideologies, and beliefs that have sought to dethrone God Himself. We are here to help before more damage is done, to uphold the foundations of Scripture, to help remove stumbling blocks to people coming to faith in Jesus Christ and to a belief in His Word. If they don’t believe that the un-regenerated soul is already condemned and on a path to hell, that there is such a place, that death is imminent, that we won't be reincarnated, that there is no purgatory, that eternity is real and forever, simply because they don’t believe the Word of God and we don't say anything about it, then we are letting their blood be on our hands, when there could’ve possibly been something said that may have helped turned their thinking around.
I am not ashamed to be an apologist. I just hope you can learn something from me as I continually learn to combat falsehood and defend what we as Christians believe. We cannot afford to sit anymore in silence or ignorance. Yes, it is all about faith, and it will always be, but sometimes people need help with their unbelief. Some people need a little help pulling the blinders off, while others need to be yanked out of the fire with truth. We’re here to present truth, we come in peace, and we come to help build up faith, to contend for and defend the faith that was once delivered to the saints. I hope you will now see that apologetics is desperately needed in our churches, that we cannot allow the evil one to remove our foundations, at least not without a fight, and we have to do so while we still have that window of opportunity to do it. I hope this has helped people to rethink the idea of allowing apologetics in the Church. The survival of many people’s faith may depend on it, especially the days in which we are living.