Evangelistic Apologetics: The Church Under Attack
by Mark McGee
The Church of Jesus Christ is under attack. While that shouldn’t surprise any Christian, the method for responding to the attack does surprise many. We’ll call it “evangelistic apologetics.”
One evidence that most Christians don’t know what apologetics means comes from the question I often hear from them – “why would you want to apologize for being a Christian?”
Some pastors I’ve talked with through the years about emphasizing apologetics in their church (especially with children, teens and young adults) either chuckle, roll their eyes or get upset with me at some point in our discussion. They tell me that apologetics should not take the place of evangelism. It’s unfortunate they see apologetics that way because biblical apologetics is evangelistic – thus the name of this series of studies.
Another evidence that apologetics is needed in churches is that about 70-75% of church teenagers stop attending church after they graduate from high school and only a small number of them ever return to the church (Barna Group, 2007, 2011).
Think about that for a minute. Three out of every four teenagers in Christian churches stop attending church after high school. The next time you’re at church, look around. Visit the youth room, the primary school classes, the pre-school classes, the nursery. Based on statistics, most of the children you see in those classes will not be attending a church after they graduate from high school and most will never return. If your children are still living at home, look at them carefully. Will they attend a church or Bible study regularly after they graduate?
Where are the young adults in churches today? Where are the young families? More than 60% of today’s young adults attended church as children and teens, but are no longer involved. 20% of young adults never attended church as children and have no interest in Christianity. Only 1 in 5 young adults (20%) are still involved in church (defined as attending church at least once a month, Barna Group). I find that terribly sad and unnecessary. It’s obvious there’s something important we’re not doing to help young people understand Christianity and commit to being a permanent follower of Jesus Christ.
The Church belongs to Jesus Christ. It is His to build. Do you think He’s laughing about the high number of children and teens dropping out of church? Is God rolling His eyes at the idea of Christians giving an answer (apologia) for the hope that is in them? (1 Peter 3:15) I don’t think so. In fact, I know so. I know so based on what Jesus and His apostles and prophets (Chief Cornerstone and foundation of the Church, Ephesians 2:20) said and did.
Look at what Jesus and His apostles told us would happen to the Church…