The traction of outreach and life-changing evangelism of the previous generation in America was weak, in my opinion, due to the belittling of apologetics. For the most part, the church failed to engage the mind and heart of the younger generation. Faith became an existential leap apart from a rigorous and coherent view of reality and a reasoned expression of thought. We left the young men and women of the previous generation stranded on a bridge and surrounded by the fog of irrationality. The result was that many ‘church kids’ turned away from faith under the battle cry for intellectual credibility when they went off to college. Their beliefs were assaulted from the secularists and militant atheists who set traps with slick word games that were filled with red-herrings and Zeno paradoxes.
Apologetics is as crucial to the life of a Christian as prayer is. If we do not discover the warrant that undergirds our beliefs, the world will toss us around like a ‘straw blowing in the wind.’ Christianity is not a faith of make believe or fantasy. It carries the evidence of history, archaeology, reason and the existential longings of the heart. We believe, not because we are walking along a foggy bridge, but because Jesus and Scriptures pass the test of explaining the big questions of life with consistency and coherency. A faith built upon the solid rock of apologetics will survive the onslaught of human opposition. To be fair, much of the apologetics that exists today is detached from the heart and offers nothing more than rational musings without the life giving presence of God’s Spirit. However, their are some apologetic ministries that connect the head with the heart and bring forth the rational truth of the gospel in the power and anointing of God’s Spirit. Like Francis Schaeffer in the previous generation, Ravi Zacharias and his team of apologists (Stuart McAllister, Nabeel Qureshi, Andy Bannister, Abdu Murray, etc) are offering life through sound apologetics. I’ve studied apologetics since 1984 and each year the sound defense of the gospel deepens my resolve and love for Jesus.
Let us equip our churches…our leadership teams…our children…and our small groups! Let us stop the candy-coated and shallow presentations of the gospel. We do a grave disservice to Christ and the Scriptures whenever we fail to ask people to think. Men are dying, flailing away in a sea of confusion and post-modern thought. Let us throw them the only life raft available–the sound and clear message of Christ crucified, risen and coming back. Let us answer the questions and objections modern man wrestles with head-on. Let us look to Christ in prayer and offer the hope of the gospel with sensitivity, rational warrant, honesty and humility. We are not walking along a bridge covered with fog, limping in denial and lacking intellectual integrity. God has spoken…He has spoken clearly…He has spoken in the Bible.
Our bridge holds!!!