We Don’t Need Apologetics, We Just Need to ‘Experience’ Jesus
By Greg West
“We don’t need apologetics, we just need to ‘experience’ Jesus!” Unfortunately, this is something I hear from fellow believers quite often and it never fails to set off the warning sirens in my head; not because I think that ‘experiencing’ Jesus is bad—in fact, I think it’s a good thing, but if you’re basing your faith on experience alone to the exclusion of reason and knowledge, then you’re building your house not on solid rock, but on sand—and when the rains come down, the streams rise, and the winds blow and beat against your house it will fall with a mighty crash (Matthew 7:24-27).
We need to stop teaching people to ‘experience’ Jesus and teach them to know Jesus. Let me explain what I mean: In his post titled, High School Students and Apologetics, teacher Dan Gehrke said,
“I’ve observed that kids have changed over the last seven years since I last taught apologetics. All of the evidential facts that I used to put in front of them to give evidence to the reliability of Scripture and the resurrection was exciting! The notion that they didn’t have to throw their brains away to be Christians was life-altering for many of them.
While this was still true for some this year, I discovered that “facts” and evidence seem to be met with more and more apathy.
So one day I asked, “Would you rather have me make an air-tight case for Jesus, or would you rather ‘experience’ Him – even if I can’t define what that means?” They almost all chose the second. Interesting.”
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Why is this so alarming? Because apologetics involves discerning between what is true and what is false. Emergent church leader John Crowder said in this post, “I honestly believe that the age of apologetics is over, and the age of activation has come. Experience is more important than explanation.” If you read the quote in the full context, I think what you’ll find that Mr. Crowder doesn’t want to have to defend his beliefs, because outside of his personal experience, on which his abhorrent theology is based, I seriously doubt that he can—and if you, members of your congregation, or especially if your kids can’t either, then if they happen to remain in church at all, their theology might end up being as bad as Mr. Crowder’s—or worse (if that’s even possible)…
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