Apologetics: Still Relevant Today?
- Wednesday, September 03, 2008
In the Book of Acts, we find the early Christians presenting reasoned answers to a variety of charges made against Christianity. To the Jews the church pointed out that Christ was the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy (Acts 3:17-26). To the Gentiles the church argued that God was calling them to turn from superstitious religions to the true God revealed in Jesus Christ (19:1-22). In all their apologetics, the early church emphasized the undeniable event of the resurrection of Christ (4:10; 17:31). And, unlike some Christians today, the early church was not plagued by the disease "non-rock-a-boatus"; indeed, the early Christians defended the faith whenever and wherever the opportunity arose. We must commit to doing the same.
Far from being some abstract discipline or quaint pastime for a select few (such as theologians and ministers), apologetics is in reality an immensely practical tool for every single member of the body of Christ. And the need for apologetics today is critical. Believers must realize that we are living in a post-Christian era, with a host of religions, cults, and occultic systems vying continuously for people's commitments and, indeed, for their very lives. We must face these challenges head-on.
Using apologetics, equipped Christians can show that the Christian worldview is consistent, coherent, and corresponds to reality over and above all other competing worldviews. Apologetics also shows that Christianity is both spiritually and intellectually fulfilling, and that Christianity is nothing less than the truth (John 17:17). (That Christianity has an intellectual or rational element is clear in Jesus' words about loving God not only with all our heart, soul, and strength, but also with all our mind; Mark 12:29.)
CRI is presently in the midst of a period of unprecedented growth. The volume of incoming correspondence and calls continues to mount with each passing day. All this leads me to conclude that the number of people hungry for sound answers is anything but diminishing. And because of this, we are more committed than ever — Avanzini's comments notwithstanding — to uphold, defend, and promote the historic orthodox Christian faith, through which alone salvation is offered to humanity.
Is apologetics still relevant today? In my thinking, apologetics has never been more relevant than it is today. And all of us at CRI are deeply thankful for the numerous men and women worldwide who are willing to stand with us in the battle of defending the faith against all competing truth claims. May God continue to sustain all those committed to standing for truth.
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