The Need for ‘Urban Apologetics’
By Christopher W. Brooks
When I first became active in apologetics — the art of commending and defending the Christian faith — I quickly realized that in the minds of most urban pastors this type of ministry was an unnecessary pursuit. To many of my peers, apologetics seemed far too detached and abstract from the church work they were doing on a daily basis. Although I disagreed with their assessment, I did see some genuine concern in their critique. I eventually came to understand that the heart of the problem lies in the fact that, in our day, apologetics has unfortunately been stripped from its broader biblical purpose, which is evangelism.
In a way these leaders were right; if apologetics is disconnected from evangelism it is nothing but a waste of time. In order for apologetics to have any virtue or spiritual value, it must be intentionally and eternally tied to evangelism. Apart from evangelism, apologetics is aimless and potentially dangerous because it lacks the heart of the gospel, which is to bring people to Christ! Apologetics for purely academic purposes should be avoided at all cost.
That may be a bold statement, but it is my contention that Jesus did not call us to be “great debaters.” Rather, his desire is that we would be fishers of men (Matt. 4:19). As a matter of fact, Scripture strongly advises against pointless arguments, which bear no salvific fruit. Notice the apostle Paul’s admonishment to Titus, “But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless” (Titus 3:9). Paul, arguably the most impressive apologist the church has ever produced, clearly did not intend for his disciples to engage in discussions that were an end unto themselves with no view toward the cross…
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