Saturday, September 4, 2010

Importance of Apologetics

Image from The Veritas Forum

If you have never visited a Veritas Forum event you should make going to one a priority. Veritas is the Latin word for truth. It is the mission of The Veritas Forum to, "Create forums for the exploration of true life. We seek to inspire the shapers of tomorrow's culture to connect their hardest questions with the person and story of Jesus Christ"

     Take some time to explore their media library. They record most all of their events and you can watch them online. They take the time to explore many of the great questions of life. 

     Most Christians seem to not be intellectually involved with their faith. They feel that faith is contrary to reason. This view, known as fideism, was defended by Pascal and Kierkegaard among others. While I do think Pascal's wager should help to sway many who are on the fence I do not agree with Pascal that the proofs for God's existence are irrelevant. 

    While the average Christian probably does not subscribe to most of the "tenets" of fideism (let alone know what all is involved with holding this view) they hold a minset that is similar in regard to apologetics. There are many congregations that are involved in learning apologetics and defending the faith. However, there are many churches that hold what I will call the "fishing hypothesis". That is, go where the fish are biting, and if they don't take your gospel presentation move to the next fishing hole. 

    I might tend to agree with this thought at first. No one wants to waste time and energy evangelizing when you feel like your efforts will not come to fruition. It makes sense to go where people want to hear what you have to say, or at least go to where they are receptive. I think, however, that this view is overlooking a major aspect of evangelism. For one thing, you do not know how your efforts will affect someone. The way Paul puts it, "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth" 1 Cor. 3:6 ESV   

   Is it completely true to say that the development of fundamentalism has led to today's "uninvolved with the world around them" Christians, the "let God deal with the government and he will work things out" crowd. You know, the "what is a worldview", "apologetics is a waste of time if no one gets saved immediately" church goers. Maybe not completely true, but the withdraw from culture initiated by the fundamentalist movement definitely has shaped many of the things we see today - like the lack of answers given to college students who then leave church and their faith altogether. 

    There are Christians out there who came to believe by taking their time and slowly having their barriers removed via apologetics who are thankful that someone took the time to go through the long process of answering their objections. Good thing those people didn't just move to the next one biting.  You will often hear those who subscribe to the fishing hypothesis remark, "If just one person gets saved won't it be all worth it?" Yet the do not apply this same philosophy to taking the time and energy required to systematically dismantle the objections of someone who is truly seeking God. Why should we be happy with a body of believers that, while they are believers fail to have good reason for their belief? Why should we settle with the idea that we just need to believe and God will handle the rest of their objections? Should we throw honest objections to the wayside because the Harvest is great?  

   I do think there is a time and place for such thinking. I do not think that it should occur during evangelism in most cases. I am not advocating the persistent arguing with someone who is just wanting a fight. Obviously we would not want to be in a situation similar to Prov. 29:9. Generally one can tell if someone honestly wants answers or if they are just seeking to have an argument. 

  Yes you should learn apologetics. Yes you should seek to understand your faith better. Yes you should prepare yourself to give an apologia for your faith. Yes you can help others who are honestly seeking answers come to the knowledge of the truth. Yes you should take some time to attend a Veritas Forum which will help you to provide Christian answers to deep questions.

Lucky for me Ravi Zacharias will be at the upcoming Veritas Forum at the Mayo clinic civic center in Rochester, MN.      

Here is a video from last year's Veritas Forum at the Mayo clinic. I got to meet Alvin Plantinga there!


1 comment:

  1. This is appropo given your blog content. I have a classmate who just transferred to Calvin College from Singapore University. He is originally from China and grew up an atheist. He came to Christ this past summer after a year and a half of debating pastors and professors from both Singapore and the states. He finally surrendered to Christ after reading philosophy of religion books by Alvin Plantina and McMurray