How apologetics relies on a sound understanding of the gospel

Eric posted an article linking theology and apologetics at the Ratio Christi Ohio State University blog.


Many of us in the apologetic endeavor have lamented over the fact that there is still a lot of apathy among churches about the need to defend the faith in the public square.  I am convinced that one of the problems is that we are preaching a very weak Gospel. And if anything, it is a pragmatic Gospel. In other words, the Gospel is more about what Jesus can do for me. This can lead to a very self-centered Christian life rather than a mission centered Christian life. Don’t get me wrong: I know churches send their people on short- term mission trips. This is done to try to get people to  break Christians out of their narcissistic attitudes.

[…]To make Jesus as Lord of one’s life is a lifelong process. It is a call to daily surrender. It certainly means we are under NEW MANAGEMENT. We are called to yield our time, bodies, goals and gifts to His Lordship. Is it easy? No, not at all. I struggle with this quite a bit. But we do have a Helper to give us the grace to do it (hint: study the ministry of the Holy Spirit). So in other words, we say ‘”Lord Jesus, have your way with me. I am relying on the work of the Holy Spirit to yield myself to you on a daily basis.”

There is no doubt that in a world that wants instant results, self- sacrifice is tough sell.  As I said, part of the problem is that churches preach a Gospel that promises that Jesus will fix all our problems. And when things get tough, many people bail out. A long-term commitment to our Lord which involves self-denial (Luke 9:23) is hard to swallow for those that have been told The American Dream is the way of happiness.

I remember when I was growing up in youth group, my interest in apologetics was always looked at with suspicion by the other Christians and the church leaders. They all assumed nasty motives for me, like “pride” and having doubts about my faith. I think that churches need to get their act together and realize that apologetics is simply what Christians do when they 1) understand the gospel, and the importance of self-sacrifice and self-denial, and 2) understand that in today’s world, people have intellectual objections to faith that require careful reasoning and objective evidence. Apologetics is not second-class Christianity, it’s first-class Christianity. A person who does apologetics has clearly understood the what it means to take up his cross and follow Jesus.

One thought on “How apologetics relies on a sound understanding of the gospel”

  1. Very good. The past month this theme (from Mark 8-10) has been the focus of the lessons in the children’s ministry I do. I think many church leaders are scared to preach the “hard sayings” of Jesus, yet Jesus did – and a whole bunch of his followers turned away. He did not compromise on the truth, and nor should we.


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