Apologetics in the Local Church
By Dr. Douglas Groothuis
Our Christian faith is not only true, meaningful, and eternally relevant. It is also reasonable and rational, supported by strong arguments and evidence from science, history and personal experience. God never calls us to deny our God-given reason in the exercise of our faith. Rather, as Peter teaches, we should have a “reason for the hope within us” (1 Peter 3:15). This is the discipline of apologetics or the defense of Christianity as objectively real, intellectually solid and pertinent to the whole of life.
Thinkers such as Saint Augustine, C.S. Lewis, John Warwick Montgomery and Lee Strobel became Christians because the arguments and evidence was on the side of the Bible and the Gospel. In a way, I have spent the last forty-two years trying to refute the Christianity I accepted in June of 1976. I have studied other major (and many minor) religions and worldviews and found them to be intellectually and existentially inferior to Christianity. I have tried to make this known through my twelve books, hundreds of articles, and many academic papers, as well as copious debates, lectures, and sermons. Apologetics has been key to the building of my faith and my Christian witness. My strong belief that Christianity is true and that Christ and His promises are true helped sustain me through the sickness and loss of my wife to dementia. I explain this in Walking through Twilight: A Wife’s Illness—A Philosopher’s Lament.
Too many churches, however, do not make apologetics part of their teaching, preaching or outreach. Some even ridicule it as hostile to faith. But when you read through The Book of Acts, you find that…