Berean cogitations

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The challenge of Christian apologetics in God's army

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a conference on Christian apologetics. It had an impressive panel of speakers—some of the world’s greatest and most influential Christian philosophers, historians and scientists. It also had a very impressive turnout—about 1,400 people, I’ve been told.

It’s a safe bet that most of the people who attended were not ardent students of apologetics. Many of them were clearly unfamiliar with the speakers or their topics—but they were there anyway! I find that encouraging.

Usually, it’s very difficult to get Christians to express any interest in apologetics. I don’t want to offend anyone, but modern-day Christians usually want th easy stuff. They don’t want anything that requires intense study or effort. Modern day Christians are much more interested in attending a concert than, say, a talk on Biblical archaeology or intelligent design.

That was very encouraging. I had a chance to talk with a couple of the speakers, and we talked about how it’s ordinarily difficult to get people interested in apologetics. As one speaker said, it’s like pulling teeth at times.

The wife of one speaker offered this insight, though. She said that Christians are like soldiers. You’ve got the infantry. You’ve got the Marines. You’ve got support personnel. All of them have an important role, and all of them need to know how to fight. However, the ones who dedicate themselves to knowing God’s Word and making a rational defense of the faith, integrating principles of logic, science, history, philosophy and so forth... are kind of like the Navy SEALs. It takes a lot of studying. It takes a lot of hard work. It takes a lot of dedication. In the end though, these guys are willing to take the toughest challenges to the faith, and face them head on.

We need more people like that. Christians get beaten up all the time when it comes to issues like history and intelligent design. We need people who know their stuff and can articulate it in a compassionate but thorough and uncompromising way. That’s why I urge people to take that challenge – to educate themselves on matters of Scripture, science, reasoning and law. There is a serious need, and we need people who will be part of the solution.