What is Apologetics?

Apologetics may be simply defined as the defense of the Christian faith. The word “apologetics” derives from the Greek word apologia, which was originally used as a speech of defense or an answer given in reply. In ancient Athens it referred to a defense made in the courtroom as part of the normal judicial procedure. After the accusation, the defendant was allowed to refute the charges with a defense or reply (apologia). The word appears 17 times in noun or verb form in the New Testament, and both the noun (apologia) and verb form (apologeomai) can be translated “defense” or “vindication” in every case.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Apologetics Training on the Home Front

by Rob Lundberg

Introduction.

This posting is of a different nature from what I normally write about.* However this one has been on my heart and mind for quite some time. So this month I would like to share from the heart as a Dad, as the “bread winner” of our home, and as one of the many tent making $1 apologists that the Lord has placed in the marketplace of ideas.

As an “older” home school Dad, working a full time job of 47+ hours a week, and being actively involved with apologetics/evangelism ministry endeavors, there is a danger that I face. At the same time, I am not alone. Perhaps many other apologetics focused families are facing this same danger as well. That danger is missing out and/or neglecting the training of our own children and passing down to them the sure truth claims of the Christian faith, and encouraging them to take ownership of them. Many of us may be focused on serving in churches or looking for speaking opportunities, but what about the home front? In this posting I want to share with you some things that might help you, and perhaps you might like to make a comment on suggestions or things that you are doing in your home.

What Have We Been Doing?

One of the joys I have is making time for our “Dad and daughter time,” and where I spend time training Christine in a discipleship/apologetics training setting. We are currently going through a book by Norman Geisler and Joseph Holden entitled, Truth Quest: Living Out Loud: Defending Your Faith. This book is a short, but very detailed primer for a discipleship setting for teaching an introductory level course in apologetics. It is especially good in a closed setting like the home.

We are also teaching logic as a part of our curriculum. My wife and I tag-team in her logic training using the Fallacy Detective: Thirty Eight Lessons on How to Recognize Bad Reasoning by the Bluedorns. They also have a follow up that we bring alongside that entitled, “The Thinking Toolbox: Thirty-Five Lessons That Will Build Your Reasoning Skills which we will be using as well.[1]

Now someone might be asking, are you seeing any fruit from what you are teaching? The answer to that is, yes we are thankfully seeing some fruit. Even though there is fruit now, our prayer is that it will continue to grow and produce more. You see, I understand that this is not a indubitable guarantee for “skeptic proofing our kid.” What it does show our daughter is that bad thinking is not reasonable. So where we are seeing the fruit is in what I call those ”along the way moments.” What do I mean by this?  Those moments come during those times when we may be listening to, or watching something, or listening to a conversation, and something comes out that triggers her “baloney detector.” When that happens, we take advantage of those times to talk about what we have seen or heard immediately.

Now some might ask, isn’t this brainwashing your kid? No, it is equipping and training her to respond to the false philosophies and faulty rhetoric prevalent in many pockets of where we live. This is something that cannot be neglected in our homes. We may have the tools to teach students at our Ratio Christi meetings, or church Sunday school classes. At the same time, let us not forget that we have a more important mission right in our homes. We are accountable to the Lord in how we answer the question, “how are we training the children He gave us?”

 Why is this important? Simply stated, I am ever reminded about hearing of the daughter of a well known apologist who became an atheist at college. Again there is no guarantee for any of our own, but we have a responsibility to not let them slip through the cracks, and disciple them for the Kingdom. Our kids have their own “free will” and will make their decisions on their own when they are out the house. Our part as apologists is toward the laying down of a foundation, not just in the heart but also toward the mind.
 And we need to do that while we have them with us.

The Importance of Suring Up Our Homes

Being a visiting “prof” at a local Bible Institute and seminary, I have had many of the joys of hearing students ask, “why don’t they teach apologetics in the church?” It is great to see their eyes light up when something has clicked and there is understanding. But like the students in the classroom, nothing thrills me more than seeing my daughter’s eyes light up with that same understanding and seeing the body language show a confident connection with something she has learned.

Some of the resources over the last few years we have used come from Summit Ministries and the Truth Project. My wife and I became Truth Project trainers/facilitators, and have led a group of youth through it. Prior to that we have gone through it as a family, and my daughter has seen and expressed great understanding each time so far. We are also preparing to go through Josh McDowell’s Unshakable Truth series as a family and then hopefully some students or adults at our church.

As I wrap up this posting, I am reminded of something that Simon Brace shared in his presentation at the National Apologetics Conference in 2012 that was written indelibly in my mind.[2] Allow me to summarize what I understood from that presentation.

The reason many churches do not teach apologetics is because their pastors have not been trained in apologetics unless they have been fortunately blessed to go to an apologetics centered seminary or took the initiative to do some self-training.[3] If they are not trained, then they are not really able to train the people in the pews. If the people in the pews are not trained, then who will train their children to defend their faith in an increasingly hostile culture to the Christian worldview. What about those of us “in the arena” with a generation living right under our roofs?

Not too long ago, my daughter told my wife, “I want to be an apologist like my Dad.” As humbling as that is, it makes me grin from ear to ear.  At the same time, it makes the reality the reality of my task even greater. Ultimately, with all that we have given and continue to give her, I have the trust the results up to the Lord.

Thank you for allowing me to share my heart, and may we all continue in building the foundation for our children in our homes and making sure of our children’s faith and answers to the questions before they leave to take on the world. Take full advantage of the moment by moment opportunities and use them as a snippet for discipleship and training them for the Kingdom.


Notes

* The opening sentence was re-edited to the scope and milieux of The Real Issue blog.

[1] Alongside Norman Geisler and Joseph Holden’s book, we will also bring in some of the popular resources we all know, like Stand to Reason’s Tactics as well as “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.” Of course she has my bookshelf to glean from is she needs it. I started seeing her interest grow and her faith deepen when she attended the 2012 National conference with our family. I am happy to say that she has “the bug.” For that I am thankful.

[2] The title of that presentation is “The Nature of Spiritual Warfare: A Plea to the Church.”

[3] Allow me a thought here in that I think this is because most pastors have had only one course at the M.Div. level in apologetics. There are many good schools with a full core in apologetics at the Master’s degree level.

**This posting is a Christian Apologetics Alliance original found here

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