One of the frustrations that apologists often express is the difficulty of getting the church to buy into the importance of apologetics. Unfortunately, this sometimes is influenced by the pastor’s negative view of apologetics.
As a pastor, I understand that pastors cannot drop all that they are doing and throw themselves into apologetics. Preaching, pastoral care, visitation, programs, meetings, they all require time. But it is possible for a pastor to acknowledge the importance of apologetics and to give encouragement to those involved in apologetics.
Here are five things that I would like to say to the pastor who says, “I’m really not into apologetics.”
- Apologetics is found in the Bible. I am not just talking about 1 Peter 3:15. Look at what Paul does in Athens in Acts 17. The New Testament assumes that Christians will give reasons for why they are followers of Jesus.
- Non-Christian apologetics are everywhere. Flip through documentary stations and you will find dozens of radical redefinitions of who God and Jesus are. Do a few internet searches and see how many blogs and other sites attack Christianity. Take a look at some of the bestselling books and what they say about religion.
- People in your congregation with an intellectual bent need to be fed in this way. It is not right to tell them to be satisfied with emotion and experience because that is what the “experts” say they really want.
- Seekers want to know that the church has wrestled with the tough questions. Apologetics may not be the reason they follow Jesus, but it may keep faith on the table long enough for them to meet Jesus.
- Confident Christians are more eager to get involved in ministry. People have questions, whether they express them or not. Those who are held back with doubt are less likely to get involved. If people were introduced to all the powerful reasons for the truth of Christianity, the confidence boost would benefit the entire church.
I am not arguing that every pastor needs to get an apologetics degree. I am only saying that I hope pastors will be open to a role of apologetics, even if they do not personally connect with apologetics.
My recommended book is by a pastor who sees the importance of apologetics. I suggest you read Tim Keller’s The Reason for God.