Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Age of the Apologist

by Rick Schenker

Creating confident witnesses—A new strategy for church growth

The modern church is under intellectual attack. The university is the breeding ground of skepticism, secularism, atheism, and neo-Darwinism. In the past, this was a relatively non-toxic situation. Intellectuals at the university used to simply dismiss Christianity as anti-intellectual, but all that has changed. Today they are on the attack and they are aggressively recruiting students to their cause. Neo-atheists are now proselytizing with the zeal of evangelists. They have a coordinated effort and use the same language and the same arguments from Oxford to Appalachia.

What is happening at the university is a preview of what will happen to the culture at-large. Alvin Plantinga, a Christian philosopher said, “The contemporary Western intellectual world is a battleground…in which rages a battle for men’s souls.” That is the battle the church faces today. Out of necessity, the church must engage the culture intellectually, and that is why Christianity is heading into the Age of the Apologist.

Now that the neo-atheists are evangelizing our youth, some churches have begun to wonder what to do. Up until recently the church has largely ignored apologetics. But with young people leaving the church in droves, and church members hungering to have answers to the questions being poised by friends, neighbors, and even their own kids, some churches have started to look to apologists for answers. Yet, very few churches have sought to utilize apologists as part of their team strategy to protect their membership, or to reach their community for Christ. In fact, most of the graduates with Masters Degrees in apologetics find that churches have been a closed door.

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