What Christians need to do to fix the church

I was recently notified about a speaking event that Greg Koukl is doing in Calgary (Canada), in October 2009.

Take a look at this web site set up by the organizers.

Here are the organizers:

We are a group of Evangelical Christians from a variety of different churches (we include Pentecostals, Baptists and Reformers; Greg Koukl is Reformed), who have been studying how to defend our faith. To put it another way, we’ve been learning Christian apologetics.

The need for apologetics seems greater now more than ever. From Oprah to the New Atheists like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, the Christian faith is mischaracterized and attacked. And too many times we see Christians either being unable to defend their faith or worse, embracing false ideas about the faith.

But rather than learning to answer these claims against Christianity, too few Christians seem to take their faith seriously. Many see faith as mere belief, something that may or may not be true. It is a preference not a worldview that makes sense. In doing so, many are rejecting the Christian faith for what they think it is, not for what it really is.

Furthermore, through trial and error, we’ve realized apologetics has a bad connotation, not just for nonbelievers but for believers too. Many see it as just merely head knowledge with no heart or worse, creating argument for argument’s sake.

We’re organizing these events to help introduce the Christian community in Calgary to some of the most cutting-edge Christian ideas. This kind of apologetics is geared towards helping Christians become good ambassadors for God’s Kingdom by helping them understand what the Christian worldview is and then by equipping them to clearly share that worldview with others.

Too many people are rejecting the Christian faith for what they think it is and that is a sign of failure on our part as the church. We believe strongly that it is our Christian mandate to make the gospel as clear as possible just as Paul wrote:

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh (3), for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. (4) We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ… (5)
(2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

And this is the purpose of the event:

I have to be honest with you. Though I’ve lived by the foot of the Rocky Mountains now for a few years, I’ve never been rock climbing. I’ve often thought about going, but then that old cliché comes to mind: It’s not the heights that kill you, it’s the landings!

I guess that shows the kind of faith I have in my skills as a climber and the equipment climbers use.

Of course any seasoned climber always assures people like me, how reliable their equipment is. They constantly test it, in all kinds of conditions because their lives hinge on the equipment’s reliability. They wouldn’t put their faith in that equipment unless it was trustworthy.

That’s the kind of faith Jesus talks about in the Bible. He wants us to put our trust in Him because He says our lives depend on Him.

Unfortunately, the word faith has lost much of its meaning today, particularly when it comes to religion.

People juxtapose it with reason or fact, implying that faith is somehow irrational.

People use it interchangeably with words like wishing, saying that if you simply believe hard enough, whatever you wish for, will be true for you.

And it seems there’s a growing gap between how society views what faith is, and what Jesus meant as faith.

That’s why I’m part of a group of Evangelical Christians (that include Pentecostals, Reformers, Baptists and others) who’ve informally joined together to organize a series of presentations here in Calgary under the theme, Faith Beyond Belief.

The series is meant to challenge our thinking about the Christian faith and to equip Christians to be able to explain their faith more clearly to others. The talks are not a set of lectures on the newest evangelism techniques. Neither are they going to cover new projects that Christians can do to prove to our neighbours how much we love them.

Rather, these presentations cover something more basic; they are about understanding the Christian worldview. Because no matter how important evangelism techniques and love projects are for Christians – and they are important – these need to be grounded in the right understanding of what the Christian faith is all about. Without proper Christian knowledge, we cannot do Christian work properly.

Our speaker, Greg Koukl represents a group called Stand to Reason, whose mandate is to equip Christians to understand what they believe and then to winsomely but effectively challenge society’s bad thinking about the Christian faith.

Our hope is that you attend one of these presentations and are challenged to think about what the Christian faith is all about and what it says about the world we live in.

We may never face the challenge of climbing a mountain and so we may never need to put faith in climbing equipment. But we all face the challenges of living life here on earth and that means we all need to choose what equipment we put our faith in, to face that challenge. We hope through these talks, you’ll learn what it means to have a faith beyond belief.

They are accepting donations is here.

The schedule is here.

Their official blog is here.

My thoughts

There are two things I like about this event:

  1. There is a debate, which is very good for male Christians who appreciate competition and conflict
  2. That Greg Koukl will be speaking in the main morning service, from the pulpit, about truth and apologetics

This is the best way for us to fix the church. All my Canadian and American readers, if you are looking to fund a quality event, this is a quality event that could use your support. Actually, reading over their web site just gives me the shivers. This is what we need to do. Notice that they are not focused on safe, in-house issues like Calvinism/Catholicism, the age of the earth, etc. They are talking about whether truth exists, whether God exists, whether the resurrection really happened, whether morality is real, and how to answer philosophical objections to Christian theism.

Now, I want to hear what my readers think about this. Have you guys ever done something like this in your churches? Ask your pastors and priests about this event and see what the response is. Ask them whether this is something your church might be interested in doing, too. Then let me know what they say!

4 thoughts on “What Christians need to do to fix the church”

  1. Hey thanks for the ad! I didn’t know you’d be so extensive in the coverage!

    I didn’t tell you that the Freethinkers Association here will likely be helping us with the debate and we may have Greg speak at another secular venue!

    If this goes well, we’ll be organizing events like this in the future – we may get you out here eventually, Knight!

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  2. I have a dude crush on Greg Koukl, his work with youth is awesome, as are some of his products for youth available from Stand To Reason.

    I remember previewing one of his CDs for a youth group, and I was just in stitches… “Sometimes I go to the icecream section of the grocery store and just stare at all the sections for 2…3… hours at a time.”

    Seriously though, I’ve lamented the death of liberal education (which teaches people how to think clearly), and he does an awesome job of helping youth learn how to think clearly about important issues.

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    1. Wow. I have to say that you are uncommonly well-informed on apologetics.

      One of my favorite lectures of his is the one where he explains how to think clearly by asking the 3 questions. I use that ALL the time.

      I really appreciate the way that he castigates the church for being taken in by postmodern relativism.

      Like

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