5 Reasons Why the Church Should Care About Apologetics
The moment I mention “apologetics” among a group of Christians, I get one of two reactions.
There are the apologetics fans who get very excited. They read every apologetics book, listen to every apologetics podcast and attend every apologetics conference. They are convinced that apologetics is the key to the effectiveness of the church.
Then there are those are turned off by apologetics. They may believe that people today are more concerned with experience and community rather than truth claims. They fear that apologetics, if effective at all, will lead to a passionless intellectual religion.
In navigating these extremes, it may be helpful to have a working definition of apologetics.
John Stackhouse, professor of Religious Studies at Crandall University, sees apologetics in this way,
I suggest that anything that helps people take Christianity more seriously than they did before, anything that helps defend and commend it, properly counts as apologetics, and should be part of any comprehensive program of apologetics.
Apologetics is about evidence for the existence of God and the historicity of Jesus. However, it can be almost anything that clears obstacles and moves people toward a greater openness to Jesus. But with all of the other ministries calling for attention, why should churches care about apologetics?
Here are five reasons why churches should take apologetics seriously:
1. There are seekers who are interested in Jesus but are confused about certain aspects of Christianity. Apologetics may not transform a convinced atheist, but it can help remove obstacles to faith for seekers.
2. There are Christians who are paralyzed by doubt. They have enough faith to attend worship services but not enough to get involved in ministry. Apologetics can boost confidence in the Gospel and encourage greater participation.
3. A healthy faith should have social, emotional and intellectual aspects. On the days when God feels distant, intellectual reasons can step in to help the Christian remain grounded.
4. Documentaries, books and websites are continually attacking the truth of Christianity. Even if a pastor has no interest in apologetics, they are still left with a congregation that is under the influence of anti-Christian apologetics.
5. Augustine once said, “Wherever truth may be found it belongs to the Lord.” Truth is an integral part of who Jesus is (John 14:6). When Christians immerse themselves in truth, they are embracing Jesus. Apologetics, far from being a simply academic exercise, can actually be a form of worship.
Apologetics should have an important role in the church. While respecting that not everyone connects with this aspect of the faith, there are enough seekers and Christians who need apologetics that it must be taken seriously.
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