The Church Needs Apologetics
by Brett Kunkle
“Just some ordinary conversation over dinner.” At least, that’s how my host described this event. In January, I was invited to have dinner with a couple of dads and their sons to facilitate a discussion on the problem of evil. It was a spur-of-the-moment request and details were a bit fuzzy, so I met my host Jon 30 minutes prior to talk specifics. He informed me that not only would Christian dads and sons participate, but his 60-year old parents, both skeptics of Christianity, would join us as well. That night’s conversation turned out to be exceptional. Why? Because of apologetics.
For too long, apologetics has been given a bad rap. Too many Christian voices point to a few poor apologetic examples, extrapolate them to every apologist and apologetic encounter, and then dismiss the entire enterprise. But in doing so, Christians abandon one of our greatest tools to engage the world for Christ. My recent conversation demonstrates why.
(1) It was intelligent. Any robust discussion of the problem of evil will include a host of issues. We covered almost all of them, exploring objective and subjective views of morality, the definition of evil, human freedom, moral intuitions, the soul, and more. It was a rational, well-informed dialogue between Christians and Jon’s skeptical parents. And it was my apologetic training that enabled me to lead an intelligent discussion.
(2) It was gracious. The apologists I know take I Peter 3:15 seriously. All of it. We are not to be defensive with our defense, but gracious. Apologetics can give you confidence that what you believe is actually true and reasonable. That kind confidence can keep you from getting defensive. And when you’re not defensive, you can relax, give others space to question and doubt, and even enjoy the challenge of a tough question…
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