Dr. Cowan Answers Some Questions about Apologetics
Dr. Steve B. Cowan is the associate professor of philosophy at Louisiana College. The professional apologist and philosopher has published numerous scholarly articles in academic journals such as Faith and Philosophy, Philosophia Christi, Religious Studies, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Journal of the International Society for Christian Apologetics, and Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. He is also the editor of the Zondervan Counterpoint books Five Views on Apologetics and Who Runs the Church? 4 Views on Church Government. He recently co-authored (with James Spiegel) the book The Love of Wisdom: A Christian Introduction to Philosophy (Broadman and Holman). He is currently co-editing (with Terry Wilder) a new collection of articles defending the authority and inspiration of Scripture entitled, In Defense of the Bible: A Comprehensive Apologetic for the Authority of Scripture, to be published by Broadman & Holman. His primary research interests are freedom and determinism and Molinism. He is also doing significant study in the philosophy of time, the relationship between Christianity and science, and Berkeleyan idealism. Additionally, Steve has participated in several public debates on the existence of God and the problem of evil. Dr. Cowan has graciously allowed me to question him about apologetics and the life of the mind. He is a godly man who loves the Bible and a good defense of the truth. Below are some answers he has provided.
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How early should ministers begin teaching youth or children apologetics? Or should they?
In general, apologetics training can and should begin as early as children are able to talk with adults–asking and answering questions. Parents and ministers can begin with some rudimentary natural theology, pointing children to appreciate the natural world as a creation of God. Psalm 19 says that the “heavens declare the handiwork of God.” So, take your children outside at night and point to the stars and say things like, “Look at all those beautiful stars! Isn’t God great to have created all that? It shows us how powerful and how wise and how good God is!” Anticipate possible objections to the faith early on. When children are aware of bad things happening in the world, we can say things like, “We don’t understand why God let that happen, but we know he’s in control. He must have good reasons and one day he may tell us all about it.” Of course, any time a child has a question that has apologetic relevance, ministers and parents should be prepared to give them a good answer that they can understand. My view is: if a child is old enough to ask a serious question, he’s old enough to get a serious answer…
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