If The Poached Egg were the least popular Apologetics website, I’d be doing my “Happy Dance”
by Greg West
According to Alexa ratings (website popularity rankings similar to TV’s “Nielson Ratings”), The Poached Egg consistently ranks high among some of the the most visited apologetics websites on the internet. So why would I do my “happy dance” if it came in near or at the bottom instead? Isn’t getting more people to visit one of the main goals of having a website? Well, yes, but please take notice that I didn’t say that I desired TPE to be unpopular or to receive less traffic than it does now. Let me explain…
I used to tell people that having one of the most popular Christian Apologetics websites was like having one of the most popular websites on how to play the kazoo. What I’m implying by that is I doubt very many people are googling, “how to play the kazoo” (admit it, you’re going to google that right after reading this aren’t you?), which in turn implies that Christian Apologetics websites do not typically rank among the world’s most popular.
If TPE was getting the same amount of traffic that it does right now, but ranked at the bottom of all other apologetics websites, do you know what that would mean? It would likely mean that the term “Christian apologetics” would be a household name in Christian homes, churches, schools, and universities—as it should be, but sadly that is not the case.
Since I started studying the field some dozen or so years ago, Christian apologetics has become quite a bit more trendy (thanks partly to the post-9/11 rise of the “New Atheism”), I’m still meeting with pastors, youth pastors, and other church leaders, to whom I have to explain what apologetics is before I can even begin to explain exactly what it is that I do (both as a staff member of Ratio Christi and as the editor of TPE).
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been at apologetics conferences promoting RC and TPE where I’ve talked to person after person who said they either had little to no interest in apologetics or even knew what it was until after their teenage or adult children left the faith. I get many e-mails and social media messages expressing the same.
I could go into the case about how apologetics is not only biblical, but is a biblical mandate for every believer, but that’s already been said here on TPE and in others places many times. Apologetics is about evangelism and discipleship. Without it, neither will be done as effective as it could be. As RC Sproul said,
The task of apologetics is to show that the evidence that the New Testament calls people to commit their lives to is compelling evidence and worthy of our full commitment. That often involves a lot of work for the apologist. Sometimes we would rather duck the responsibility of doing our homework, of wrestling with the problems and answering the objections, and simply say to people, ‘Oh, you just have to take it all in faith.’ That’s the ultimate cop-out. That doesn’t honor Christ. We honor Christ by setting forth for people the cogency of the truth claims of Scripture, even as God himself does. We must take the trouble to do our work before the Spirit does his work, because the Spirit does not ask people to put their trust and faith and affection in nonsense or absurdity1.
Before I can call upon Christ as my Savior, I have to understand that I need a savior. I have to understand that I am a sinner. I have to have some understanding of what sin is.I have to understand that God exists. I have to understand that I am estranged from that God, and that I am exposed to that God’s judgment. I don’t reach out for a savior unless I am first convinced that I need a savior. All of that is pre-evangelism. It is involved in the data or the information that a person has to process with his mind before he can either respond to it in faith or reject it in unbelief.2
Need more than that? See my post, 121 Quotes on Why We Need Apologetics for 119 more (and I could have listed much more than that).
Folks, the time has come for us to get on board with apologetics training in our homes, churches, and schools. We’ve come a long way in the last several years, but the road in front of us is still much longer than the road behind us. Since staff apologists are not within most churches’ operating budget, apologetics ministries exist and operate with the financial support of others—including this one.
TPE has grown beyond my capacity to operate as effectively as it could if the finances were available. Right now my e-mail inbox has over 5000 unopened e-mails, excluding social media alerts. There are only so many hours in the day and there is just no way I can do more than I’m already doing without additional staff.
Most people are taken aback when they discover that I’m solely responsible for the day to day operation of TPE. Most people assume that I have a staff. My awesome wife, Brooke, helps when she can, but she already has a full time job which pays for the majority of our living expenses. Right now, running TPE is like having a tiger by the tail; you don’t know what to do with it.
I love what I do and am blessed to be able to do it, but if we had the financial resources, we could be making great strides instead of baby steps. If this ministry is going to expand its reach, it will be because people like you are willing to step up and give. We need people like you to become $10, $25, $50, or even $100 monthly supporters or to give special one time gifts of whatever you can give.
This ministry is not going to go away, but it’s growth depends on you. My prayer right now is that you will prayerfully consider giving right now. Click on the banner below to donate online or find out how to send a support check via snail-mail. Thank you so much!
1 and 2: Defending Your Faith: An Introduction to Apologetics by R.C. Sproul