Is Traditional Apologetics Useful in Today’s Postmodern World?
by Dan Story
The concern that traditional apologetic tactics may not be useful today has prompted some Christian apologists to suggest that Christians must avoid making any propositional truth-claims. Instead, we should make our case from a wholly subjective point of view because the worldviews of many people ignore logic, seek to circumvent rational discourse, and deny the possibility of discovering absolute truth. These people often shrug us off with quips such as:
• “Well, that may be true for you, but it’s not for me.”
• “It’s okay if you want to be a Christian; I don’t mind, but it’s not for me.”
• “That’s your interpretation; I have my own.”
• “Judge not lest you be judged.”
Although successfully communicating apologetics in our postmodern world may necessitate adding a few subjective weapons to our apologetic arsenal, I disagree that traditional apologetics are ineffective today. In fact, Christian apologists who sidestep the issue of absolute truth, especially in terms of Christian truth-claims, are making a serious tactical error that will greatly diminish their effectiveness in countering postmodernism.
Christianity, after all, is a history-based religion grounded on specific historical events that actually occurred. (See 1 Corinthians 15:3-8). One cannot separate the first coming of Jesus Christ, the Day of Pentecost described in Acts 2, Jesus’ resurrection, and other historical events from the spiritual truths that flow out of them. This historical “rootedness” separates Christianity from all other religions. If we can’t demonstrate that the Bible reveals genuine knowledge, wisdom, and absolute truth, Christianity becomes just one more dish in the smorgasbord of available religions…
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