Integrative Apologetics

by Patrick Collins

“Every church does apologetics.  The question is, how well do they do it?”  I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again.  We have also artificially divorced apologetics from discipleship. What can we do about it?

It is a shame that apologetics is associated with mere intellectualism and arguing.  On one hand, it’s not true; and on the other, many people who do focus on apologetics only focus on extra biblical sources (like forms of evidentialism or presuppositionalism). While studying science, philosophy, history, etc. are important, most Christians need to build up starting at the foundation of knowing and being able to defend the essential teachings of the faith.

Let me say this another way: apologetics is not just using the external evidences. (External to the Bible, that is.)

“Apologetics” means a “reasoned out response.”  Any time you give reasons, you’re doing apologetics.  It’s football season, so most fans are regularly giving an apologetic for why their team is awesome or ‘rebuilding’ this year.  Most people aren’t used to the term being used in that context, but that’s what is happening.

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So when we look at why apologetics isn’t in the church, we have to admit that we’re overstating the problem.  It is in the church.  It’s just not understood for what it really is, and for the most part, it is not done well.

Since apologetics isn’t just the external evidences, we need to look at how the church is doing at understanding the Bible.  Not only that, we need to look at how the church is doing at understanding the Bible in light of critical thinking, hermeneutics, the meta narrative (big picture) of the Bible, and how the smaller pieces fit into that bigger picture.

I admittedly will go off of hearsay to say that less than 10% of self-professed Christians in America have a Biblical worldview.  Most Christians don’t know why they believe what they believe.  They can’t defend the Bible’s teachings using the Bible.  They might know parts of some verses and can infer some conclusions based on what they’ve heard in church and read casually in the Bible, but statistically, there’s relatively little serious study going on.

I have a theory on why this is.  Part of the reason is discipleship is misunderstood.  We no longer mentor new believers in the faith.  Another part of the reason is we’re lazy.  It’s convenient to think that the leadership staff of the church is supposed to do the hard stuff, like read the Bible in Greek or do hospital visitation. Most Christians do not regularly study the Bible, pray, and the like.

While these statements may be playing off of stereotypes, these stereotypes have a ring of truth to them.

How can we remarry apologetics into the teaching ministry of churches?


Integrative Apologetics | Ratio Christi