I frequently encounter people who have a problem with apologetics.
What problem do they see? First, apologetics has been of no use in their own spiritual journey. They never had any intellectual doubts. Their path has been about community and relationships and love. Or perhaps they were brought up in the church and were able to seamlessly move to their own personal faith.
But what about other people? Many of those who do not see value in apologetics would say that the people they know are the same. Their community seeks experience and spirituality and a vibrant faith. These are all good things.
I would suggest that there might be more people in their community that have intellectual doubts than they guess. If apologetics and other aspects of intellectual discipleship are not valued in the community, then individuals are going to be hesitant to express interest. They might be afraid to express doubts.
Whether anti-apologetic Christians like it or not, apologetics play an important role in many people’s conversion and discipleship. I was someone who needed apologetics but was in a church community that dismissed it. I really could have used apologetics in my early years as a Christian.
I keep reading articles by the “experts” that people today are not interested in apologetics. And yet I keep meeting these people who are not supposed to exist. They are people who are considering Christianity. They are people who have walked away but are taking baby steps back to the faith. They are Christians wracked with doubt. Such people are all around us.
The fact is that God has made all of us differently. It is true that apologists should not try to make every Christian a disciple of William Lane Craig. But we shouldn’t dismiss apologetics just because someone else doesn’t like it.
You don’t have to make apologetics the centre of your ministry, but at least be openminded enough to point people to resources, even if you don’t understand why it should help.