At the root of the Christian faith, we find a man. Christianity is named after him. The hope of Christianity is based on him. And the truth of Christianity depends on him. What’s interesting about this, is that this man, this Jesus Christ of Nazareth, was flesh and bone like you and me. He walked one foot in front of the other, just like us. He put his pants on one leg at a time, just like us. He ate and drank, he laughed and cried. Why is this so interesting? Because it means Christianity is based in history. In the real world. Christianity doesn’t start out “Once upon a time” or “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away”, like fairy tales or science fiction box office hits. Instead, it starts out “In the beginning was the Word”. It’s a claim on reality. It’s an attempt to describe the world the way it really is. If Christianity is true, then it is true in the fullest sense of the word.
The implication is that we have access to this truth. Like in a cold case trial, if we follow the clues, interview the witnesses, inspect the crime scene, and apply our reasoning skills we can find out whether or not Christianity really gets it right. It’s pretty simple actually. If Jesus really did die and rise again, if he really is who he said he is, then Christianity is an accurate view of the world. Given that this is the case, you’d expect Christians to be well versed in this endeavor, this cold case mentality. At the very least, you’d expect to find Christians with a desire to master the case for Christianity.
Unfortunately, this is not often what we find. Many churches have given way to experiential, personal, and emotional approaches to Christianity. In our good-hearted desire to experience a personal relationship with Jesus, we have lost sight of the fact that Christianity is a way to view the world. That it is a truth teller, not a warm fuzzies deliverer. Honest questions are brushed aside as a matter of pure blind faith. That is if they are even asked at all. A pursuit of the truth has been largely supplanted by a search for peace and joy. Peace and joy are good things, but only if they are anchored to a view of reality that is accurate.
This new focus has lead to a shallowing of the faith of the average Christian. They are turned off by theological concepts. They find discussing doctrine distasteful. Their sole interaction with their faith is through emotional high points, that come and go depending on the surrounding circumstances. God wants more for his children than this. He wants to provide a truth, a meaning, a deep and rich transforming knowledge of Himself. And He wants us to be able to share this with others.
In the following three parts of this series of articles, I will answer three questions. What is apologetics? Why should we do apologetics? How should we do apologetics?