4 Practical Questions for Applying Apologetics on Your Campus
by Stacy Long
You may have seen the 2014 movie God’s Not Dead, in which Christian college student Josh Wheaton boldly and unashamedly stands up for his faith in less than welcoming circumstances. The story of an average young adult boldly professing faith drew in and inspired Christian moviegoers, making the film a surprise box office hit. For many young adults, though, this story is a reality. With the questions and challenges posed in universities and work environments, many find themselves in similar situations. The starting point is finding answers, and then understanding how to engage others with the truth.
The first question many may ask is why use apologetics? As the campus apologetics ministry Ratio Christi tells its members, apologetics is a necessary part of evangelism in the modern “reasoning” world.
“Apologetics is a nonnegotiable tool,” Ratio Christi president Corey Miller says. “Current evangelism in the West requires apologetics. Anyone engaging significantly in evangelism cannot help but run across the tough questions that apologetics is helpful in answering.”
On a school campus, a rational approach to discussing and questioning matters of faith is even more prominent, and thus it is crucial to develop a good basis for explaining your beliefs. This is why a ministry like Ratio Christi exists on high school and college campuses, both for the sake of students and professors. Christian or non-Christian, they come together to share and evaluate the reasons others give for what they believe. Supported by sound apologetics, a Christian can establish even greater confidence in sharing their faith through such a discussion.
“It’s very important to be settled in the truth and not carried by the wind of opinion,” says Olivia Mensah, Ratio Christi student president at the University of Michigan Dearborn. “Apologetics is the basis to say faith and reason are not mutually exclusive – you don’t need to have blind faith.”
Still, faith is not only a matter of logic or reason; it is also a matter of the heart and soul. Conversations cannot be only an exchange of intellectual ideas. So, the next question to ask is how do you use apologetics to engage with an unbeliever as part of evangelism?
Christian apologetics should not be about just winning an argument. It is more than a contest of ideas. Again, the Christian message speaks to the whole person heart and spirit, not just the head. This means an evangelistic approach does not attack or belittle what others believe, but invites them fully into the conversation and thoughtfully considers and respects what they have to say— learning along the way where they are at emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. Answering their arguments begins with understanding the questions they wrestle with…
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