When liberalism took hold in the early part of the twentieth century, fundamentalism was the proper reaction: a return to the fundamentals of the faith. When the evangelical movement in the mid-twentieth century took a turn toward liberalism due to an accommodation on the part of evangelical academicians and their desire to be viewed as relevant by theological liberals, fundamentalist leaders rightly pointed out the error. And yet, fundamentalism itself developed problems of its own including its tendency toward belligerent rhetoric that often turns people away. In light of that unbiblical tendency, some are now saying that Christians must never be polemical. Are they right?

The reality is that Christians are called to offer an apologetic, that is, a defense of the faith, as well as a polemic, that is, an argument against the false systems that seek to carry us away. At the bare minimum we must confront false truth claims and false religious systems. In all cases we are to speak the truth in love and make a dash to the cross that Christ might be proclaimed above all. A question has been raised however: what can we expect when we confront the false systems of the world?

First, when we confront the false systems of the world, sometimes we may have to do so alone. For example, when Elijah confronted the false system of Baal worship in the land, he did so alone: “Then Elijah said to the people, ‘I alone am left a prophet of the LORD; but Baal's prophets are four hundred and fifty men’” (1 Kings 18:22).

We can find ourselves in a situation in which we have no allies; in which we are the only spokesmen for the Lord. We may find that other Christians are afraid to say anything even though they should. We may find that many Christians are ill-equipped to discern what’s wrong with a particular view let alone give a positive witness for Christ in such a situation. We may have to go it alone.

Too many Christians think they will never have an opportunity to confront a false system or even error in the church. More often they feel no sense of obligation in this area though too many such opportunities present themselves these days. Consider the popular singer Derek Webb. He explains that he left Caedmon’s Call for a time because he wanted to speak against the gospel-free message that is so prevalent in the church today. His band members demurred, though they agreed with his position, and he had to go it alone.

That’s not unusual. I was the only one in my Christian school as a teenager who believed the historicity of Genesis 1 despite the fact that the Episcopal teacher/priest taught us otherwise. Years later in a class on Psalms I had a seminary professor assert that no one believed we were conceived in sin. Another professor denied the necessity of the virgin birth of Christ and affirmed evolution. In each case I felt compelled to speak for Christ, and I did. As a teenager and then as a young man trying to find his way in the ministry these were daunting moments. But such is the call that God has placed upon us. The Lord gives grace to help in time of need that we might be witnesses of Him.

Second, when we confront the false systems of the world, it is likely that we will be outnumbered. Not only was Elijah alone as he faced the prophets of Baal, but he faced four-hundred and fifty of them. When God calls upon us to confront false systems, it may be that we must face a great number of people. In fact, we will indeed constantly find ourselves in the minority.

By way of example, the fact that most secularists say that evolution is science and creationism is religion and therefore evolution should be taught in school and creationism should not be taught in those same schools is inconsequential to me in one sense. While neither system can be proven scientifically and while both are faith commitments, the astounding reality is that the scientific evidence does in fact point to creationism and not evolution. The universe exhibits order and design, not random chaos. In what sense however, do I mean that the secularist position as stated above is inconsequential? I mean that the fact the majority view that evolution is science and creationism is religion doesn’t keep me from knowing what I know or confronting the false system of evolution because that’s what it is: a false system. The majority is wrong in this case!