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The Church's Newest Challenge Is Explaining Why Christianity Is 'Good for Society,' Justin Brierley Says

  • Michael Foust Crosswalk Headlines Contributor
  • Updated Dec 19, 2022
The Church's Newest Challenge Is Explaining Why Christianity Is 'Good for Society,' Justin Brierley Says

The host of the popular faith-based Unbelievable? podcast says today's church must be able to explain why "Christianity is good" for society if the Christian faith is to flourish in the 21st century.

Justin Brierley, the host of Unbelievable? and the theology and apologetics editor for Premier Christian Radio, said objections to Christianity from the "new atheism" of Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins have waned in recent years.

"I think to some extent that movement has faded out a bit," Brierley said. "I don't think it's got the same cultural capital that it once had about 10 or 15 years ago."

The worldwide conversation, he added, "has changed" to a new objection: whether Christianity is needed at all in society.

Brierley labels this new objection as one of the greatest challenges facing today's church.

"People are less interested in asking whether Christianity is true, or whether God exists," Brierley told Christian Headlines. "The younger generation is more concerned in asking whether Christianity is good for us [or] whether it's harmful. … And to that extent, I think Christians can sometimes be answering questions from yesterday rather than questions from today in our apologetics.

"So I think the church really needs to make a defense of why being a Christian is good for you, why it's good for society, even if some of the moral values or beliefs or ethics we may hold are at odds with the current sort of culture."

Otherwise, he said, "we are in danger of simply looking irrelevant, or perhaps simply old-fashioned when actually I believe Christianity is always relevant."

In a world filled with name-calling and derision, Brierley added, it is essential that Christians speak the truth in grace.

"Everything we do when we present people with a biblical worldview needs to be done in grace and love, as well as truth," he said. "And that's the challenge, I think, for the church is how to take that message, which doesn't change, and [then] present it in gracious and truthful ways for today's generation."

On the podcastBrierley interviews people from opposing viewpoints to encourage faith-centric conversations.

"That's where conversations like Unbelievable? can help. We try to model [grace] for today's culture," he said.

Photo courtesy: ©Justin Brierley Team, used with permission.

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.