When the Christian Brain Ceases to be Relevant

by Dr. Glenn Peoples

relevant apologeticsApparently it has come to this: If you’re a Christian, then using your grey matter to articulate and defend the Christian faith just isn’t “Relevant.” And who would know better than Relevant magazine, where the number one priority is being, well, relevant?

Sunyak Kim is ostensibly concerned at the effects of apologetics on Christian culture. He thinks that it is damaging our appreciation of faith. I don’t think so. There are some fun rhetorical jabs to be made if you really wanted to here as well. Being “relevant,” surely, is about appealing to culture. And yet Mr Kim here actually faults Christians who engage in rational defence of the faith for “succumbing to cultural norms.” Well is being culturally relevant important or not?

But forget those kind of cheap victories. I have a couple of grave concerns over Relevant’s publication of an article like this. Full disclosure: I’ve never really paid attention to the magazine before. But I do know that it’s popular and, in its own way, influential. And surely the editor doesn’t just see it as a popular opinion rag. Surely the people who put this thing together think that they are saying something from a Christians perspective that’s really relevant, worth hearing, and maybe even true.

And in this capacity, with that sort of responsibility on its shoulders, the magazine presents this article, starting out with the worry that “All this learning how to defend Christianity seems to have left us uncomfortable with one very basic word.” That word, as it turns out, is Christianity’s new “f word,” faith. I’d like a little clarity on who the author has in mind when he says “us.” Surely he doesn’t mean himself, because in this article he holds himself aloof from this spiritual deadness. Does he mean to refer to the intellectuals he refers to; J. P. Moreland, William Lane Craig, or Alvin Plantinga? Is he suggesting that they are a little uncomfortable with the word “faith”? One hopes that’s not what he’s saying. In his sights, I suspect, is that elusive scapegoat, the generic, unnamed, “typical Christian these days,” whoever that might be…


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