When Apologetics is Not Welcome in Your Church
by Anthony Horvath
I receive a handful of emails a year from people who are interested in apologetics, recognize its importance, but struggle to have it seen the same way in their local congregations. Many of these people find me through my ministry’s online apologetics academy, which is specifically geared towards ‘lay’ apologists. It is very often the case that apologetics is a recent discovery of theirs that has profoundly helped them, and they are shocked that others do not have the same perspective. This is, of course, after they ponder why it took them this long to hear about apologetics in the first place.
Most of the time, the obstacle is simply a lack of enthusiasm. Occasionally, it is outright hostility. Sometimes a lack of enthusiasm, especially among the staff and clergy, is a mask for deeper opposition. It would be wise to have some deliberate conversations to determine what the real hindrance to apologetics within the congregation really is.
However, because of the nature of apologetics, there is no way to stop you from bringing your studies to bear, shy of locking the church doors and keeping you out. Apologetics does call to mind arguments and evidence and certain time-worn approaches to philosophical and theological issues, but more than that, apologetics engenders an attitude and approach. Some hall marks of the apologetically-minded person is an unwillingness to answer questions with "It’s just a matter of faith" or, "Don’t ask questions, kid. Doubt kills." When the apologetically-minded person is presented with a thorny issue, he does not shrug his shoulders and act as though there is no way to sort it out. He does not resign himself to ignorance and does not commend that ignorance as ‘faith.’ He gets out his books, he does some research, he looks at the relevant Scripture verses, he invests some time in critical thinking and bounces his ideas off of others who have the same attitude. Many times, what begins as a ‘thorny’ issue turns out to be easily resolved, as soon as facts and information are brought to bear…
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