Theology and Christianity
Christians need an understanding of apologetics to combat false teaching
The great Christian apologist C.S. Lewis once said, “Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered.” Christian culture used to be teeming with intellectual champions of the faith, but that time has been fading fast.
In recent decades, Christian culture has moved away from the study of God in favor of service to God. Within the Church, there has been a focus on conversion rather than discipleship. We have traded depth of understanding for breadth of participation. As a result, the modern generation of Christian believers contains a myriad of activists but a startling lack of apologists.
The majority of Christians can recite John 3:16 but are not able to explain the concept of the Trinity. Youths immersed in Christian culture seem to enter faith with little skepticism or understanding. They rely on the contributions and beliefs of our Christian forefathers without taking ownership of their own faith.
Instead of carrying on the banner of that former host of saints, we seem content to look back on it as nothing more than a reference point. Reference points are useful when theological dilemmas are clear. Unfortunately, false teaching is usually disguised in half-truths and persuasive rhetoric that muddy even the clearest of quandaries.
Without an anchor in apologetics, modern Christians are susceptible to all sorts of bad philosophy. A prime example of this is the idea of universal salvation and the denial of hell.
In 2011, Rob Bell, an up-and-coming leader in the Church, authored “Love Wins.” The book advocated universalism, the idea that all people will become reconciled to God through divine love and mercy, regardless of human decision.
This concept, while attractive, is ultimately antithetical to what Scripture teaches. Regrettably, many believers were ensnared by this false teaching because they lacked a strong theological foundation. They had focused themselves solely on God’s love and mercy, ignoring his justice and wrath.
This trend should be wholly unacceptable and abhorrent to the Church. We are called to know God and make him known. Knowing about him is not enough. Listening to what others believe is not enough. Being passive in our faith is not an option.
Christians are mocked and persecuted by proponents of secularism because we allow them to mock and persecute us. We have given society no reason to think that our belief is founded in anything other than good feelings and empty promises.
We have allowed false teachers to thrive within our churches and communities. We have allowed them to foster a culture of intolerance and indifference. We have allowed them to be the image bearers of the Church. We have allowed ourselves to be neutered.
When false teachers infiltrated the church at Corinth, Paul did not stand idly by and allow the church to flounder and die. Paul confronted their false teaching head on with sound doctrine and divine authority. With righteous indignation, he rebuked them.
Christians were never meant to be docile. The apostles were not just dynamic actors of the faith, but they were also dogged defenders of it. They were rooted in truth and empowered by faith.
The modern Church cannot continue on its current course. We must shake our apathy toward apologetics and secure ourselves in the bulwark of sound theology.
We are commanded to love God with all of our heart, soul, strength, and with all of our mind. It’s time we obeyed.
EAGEN is an opinion writer.