Cultural Apologetics and Why It Matters
The Importance of Analyzing our Culture
By Misty Callahan
“Culture orients us to the world. It programs our minds to think about the world in a certain way.” Dr. Kevin Vanhoozer, Professor of Systematic Theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, stated in his lecture to the C.S. Lewis Fellows.
As a graduate of the C.S. Lewis Fellows program, I was lucky enough to sit in on a recent lecture by Dr. Vanhoozer on the topic of “Cultural Apologetics.”
What Is Cultural Apologetics
“Cultural Apologetics” is the ability to critically examine our culture and how it is shaping assumptions and presuppositions in order to respond thoughtfully. Dr. Vanhoozer, the author of “Everyday Theology: How to Read Cultural Texts and Interpret Trends” asks that we Christians stop “sleepwalking through culture” and start to critically analyze the forces at work all around us.
Why is it important to do so? Dr. Vanhoozer argues that “Culture spreads beliefs, values, ideas, fashions, and practices from one social group to another. Culture grows and shapes human spirits.”
It’s Not About The Arguments
One of the small ways that Christians can start to thoughtfully engage with our “post-Christian” culture is to understand that apologetics shouldn’t hang its hat on rational arguments and hard evidence. In fact, as Dr. Vanhoozer stated, “too much emphasis on intellectual arguments misses the point that humans are feeling creatures. Before we are rational beings, we are desiring beings.”
He went on to say that…