Apologetics Equips the Church for the Ideological Arena
Melissa Cain Travis is a philosophy professor affiliated with the Lee Strobel Center at Colorado Christian University. When her son was seven, he asked her, “Mom, how do we even know the Bible is true and not made up like other stories?” She responded by teaching him the cosmological argument for the existence of God. (The cosmological argument says that the universe having a beginning calls for a cause outside of itself to bring it into existence.) He kept asking questions as he grew, and she took each one seriously and responded as best she could.
Now 19, her son came home from a recent youth gathering frustrated. “Mom, I’m so tired of sermons and studies and retreat sessions that only tell you the whats. I know it’s super important to know what Scripture says about what is true and about what we should be doing as Christians, but where’s the in-depth training on the how? We’re told to share our faith with this messed-up culture, but these days that requires knowing how to engage on controversial issues like sexuality and the sanctity of life, how to make a philosophical case for God, and how to handle difficult theological topics like evil and suffering. Why isn’t that kind of training included? I wouldn’t have a clue about how to have good conversations with unbelievers if you and I didn’t talk so much about it.”
To be fair, pastors and youth leaders can only squeeze so much training into their own full schedules, let alone the limited time they have with their youth. But that leaves a multitude of emerging adults ill-equipped to navigate a postmodern minefield that has all but concluded God is dead, nothing is permanent, and life has no meaning apart from whatever meaning we make for ourselves.
Assumptions as Foundations
The Bible doesn’t so much address these anti-biblical tenets directly as it assumes their opposites and speaks from there. Assumptions are to belief systems as foundations are to buildings. When a foundation becomes compromised or undermined, the building may stand for a time, but unless the foundation is shored up, its collapse is inevitable. For Christianity as a belief system, apologetics is about shoring up the foundations. A simple definition of apologetics is “reasons for faith,” and this includes giving reasons to support the assumptions on which the faith rests.
For example, in this issue, Hugh Ross explains how new research confirms Einstein’s theory of general relativity, further shoring up that cosmological argument (“Ground Zero”). Neil English reports on archaeological finds consistent with Old Testament accounts of divine judgment (“Revealing Digs”). And Bob Perry explains how the Second Law of Thermodynamics, as well as our instinctual cries against injustice, bears ongoing witness to our Creator and his character (“The End Game”).
Equipping the Saints
We don’t put these articles forth as “proofs” of Christianity, but rather as intellectual support—evidence, if you will—in its favor. You’ll also find in the following pages articles on how Darwinists play fast and loose with the truth and how secularists pin their hopes on foolhardy immortality projects.
These won’t provide in-depth training on how to engage in the difficult conversations a messed-up culture provokes—that skill can only be cultivated by practice—but they can inspire confidence that good reasons for the faith exist and that reasons for fashionable anti-biblical assumptions don’t. This issue is packed. May God use it to equip you and yours to navigate the ideological arena with confidence.Terrell Clemmons
is Deputy Editor of Salvo and writes on apologetics and matters of faith.Get Salvo in your inbox! This article originally appeared in Salvo, Issue #62, Fall 2022 Copyright © 2023 Salvo | www.salvomag.com https://salvomag.com/article/salvo62/shoring-up-the-foundations