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.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Four Dangerous Cultural Trends the Church Needs to Address

It has been a few weeks since I have posted on The Real Issue. Much of the reason has been time being stolen to do what I love to do, by my full time job. I am trying to take back "my life" even though my life is fully in Christ, no matter where I am.

But as I have been thinking on how to regain ground, and reboot my blogging and writing.  Being a "tent-making one dollar apologist,"(1)(2) working in what I call "the secular city," and battling in a job that is not for the feint of heart, I have been mulling over my next posting.  Being a culture watcher and viewing everything from a "worldview perspective" has prompted some thoughts about four dangerous trends that the Christian church in America needs to address. 

This posting here will just get the ball rolling with just a short summary of these trends; and then post more on them in the not too distant future.

Secular humanism. Many of us have at least heard of secular humanism. America is becoming more and more secular everyday and every year. The current Presidential administration and administrations the past have been slowly chipping away at America's Judeo Christian heritage and moorings.  

The idea of truth being absolute has been tossed to the wind for philosophical cultural relativistic worldview. As a result, morals become relative and religion becomes a byword to where all religions in the public school classrooms, universities and media as saying the same thing.  This has been with us for a few decades and has been the forerunner to the following trends.  

The loud and vitriolic "new atheism."  Following September 11, 2001 there came a wave of writing by "new atheist" writers Richard Dawkins, the late Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, and Sam Harris, who took action to decry religion as an evil disease full of delusion. Nothing that they were writing was anything new. It was only loud enough and the presentation was repackaged to draw the younger audience of young people in our nation.  

The church has done very little to respond to this, much like it did back when Charles Darwin wrote his book On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, remaining anti-intellectual and ignoring the fact that our kids have questions and that they are running to the pontificators of a new wave of skepticism. Where is the response from the church to the fall out of 75-88% of our Christian kids walking away from whatever faith they have in the first years of college or moving out?

Politically savvy Islamic movements.  Thinking about how to address this one, it would be so easy to blame 9/11 as well.  But even prior to that, prior to the terrorist attacks on the USS Cole, and other places around the globe, we have had an influx of immigrants coming from the Muslim world.

When I lived in Upstate New York, we lived in what are called "flats," two storied apartment buildings.  We had neighbors downstairs from us, where the husband was from Jordan and his wife was a non English speaking woman from Saudi Arabia. "Mom and Pop" stores had been started up, mosques have been erected to allow the freedom of worship in the "land of the free and the home of the brave."  But with this arrival of Muslims into the culture, there comes with it a worldview that is not congruent with a Judeo-Christian worldview. In fact it is subtly hostile to the Judeo Christian worldview, claiming that it is superior to our worldview.

They have money coming in from overseas. They have people who are politically savvy. They have their scholars, their imams and their apologists melding into the culture.  Where is the response from the church?

The financially powerful homosexual movement.  What needs to be said here. This is now the current wave coming down upon the Bible believing church. I qualify this because there are those in the church who have given in and have come to accepting and even celebrating such a lifestyle.

In fact that is the demand from this powerful trend. And they are throwing the money around suing private Christian entrepreneurs who offer services that might have some association to a potential participation with a wedding ceremony. There court cases on the rise, and the results of those court cases are not ruling in favor of the Christian truth claim.

Churches are contacting sources for counsel on revising their bylaws and constitutions, for the sole protection from having their doors closed because they rightly take a biblical stand on marriage. But there is a problem regarding this trend.

What is the problem?  The problem is the fact that the culture is forcing its worldview of sex and relativism upon the populace. Those that fill our pews are a subset of the populace, and if we were to take a poll on what the current thoughts on gay marriage would be, some are saying that "it is really not that much of an issue to them."

Conclusion.

We live in a different America than what we saw over 50 years ago (speaking from personal experience).  The phrase, "the Bible says" is for all intents and purposes an unfriendly one, in contrast to 20-30 years ago. The response to it is now more like, "well that's true for you!"  While it is truth, many people are rejecting the Bible, and absolute morals, this trend opened up the door for the other three.

When will we "get it" that we need apologetics training in the church to address these trends.  Surveys are telling us that people in the pews are questioning the truthfulness of the Christian faith.  The church needs to get in the real game before it becomes irrelevant in American culture! How could that happen?  I'll give it one more generation.


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