Monday, June 21, 2004

Christians and Apologetics

The following is from Douglas Groothuis’ Christian Apologetics Manifesto 2003: Sixteen Theses:

8. Apologetics is meant just as much for believers with doubts and questions as it is directed toward unbelievers. Therefore, Christians with doubts should not be shunned or shamed, but given good apologetic arguments (as well as pastoral care) in dealing with their intellectual struggles (Matthew 11:1-11; Jude 22).

I can still remember one of the major drives behind my personal call into the ministry. I was 18 and graduating from High School. I had plenty of friends who were a year or two older than I was and who had been a great part of my youth group in my home church. But by the time I was ready to head to college, most of my friends has either grown luke-warm in their faith or had “lost it” altogether. I began to think that they were simply not prepared for life outside of the safe, pillow-padded walls of youth group and as I began my own ministry directed at college aged young people, I resolved to help them with the preparation work they had not received to that point.

Christians need to grow in their apologetic understanding of their faith. It is not only, I believe, a duty placed on the leaders and teachers in the Church, but it is a necessary part of well-rounded discipleship. From the day I began my ministry with that kind of conviction, my adherence to that idea has only strengthened. I strove for years to provide a safe place for young people to be faced with and discuss some of the more difficult and sometimes controversial issues of the day and of their faith. I would rather have Christians work out those difficult areas of their faith in faithful company than be faced with them for the first time in a possibly belligerent atmosphere. Believers neglect Christian apologetics at their own peril.

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