I want to start this blog with an apology. I’ve been absent from it for several weeks now and I have not really kept in contact. I’ve also been sorting through some emotional things and working on personal productivity in all areas of my life.
A part of my sorting things out is going back to my roots in apologetics. I believe it was the Christmas Conference in Minneapolis, MN. It was in winter of 2003 and my first. John Piper was the keynote speaker and his message on “Don’t Waste Your Life” was one of the most radical and Christ centered messages I’ve ever heard. His message had a huge impact on what breakout sessions I chose to attend there.
It was radically different than I expected and more exciting than I imagined.
The session was called “Love God with Your Mind.” Two things really stood out to me about that session. First, that it was radically different than I expected and more exciting than I imagined. And second, the speaker endorsed a book that I immediately purchased after his session.
That book was J.P. Moreland’s “Love God with All Your Mind: The Role of Reason in the Life of the Soul.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read this book. It is filled with highlights, underlining and notes. By God’s grace, it was my genesis in apologetics.
He starts his book by considering a serious problem he’s notice in society. He quotes RC Sproul as a summary statement. “We live in what may be the most anti-intellectual period in the history of Western civilization.” I cannot help but think of this quote when I see some news articles or try to engage with people on facebook.
“We live in what may be the most anti-intellectual period in the history of Western civilization.” – RC Sproul
But what is more astonishing than that is the impact that anti-intellectualism has had on the Christian Church. Moreland has five points he makes about anti-intellectualism but I want to cover just the first one.
1. By and large the church has a misunderstanding of faith’s relationship to reason. Far to many people think that faith is opposed to reason. Like they are polar opposites. If you have reason there is not need for faith and if you have faith it must be without reason. This is just not so. Faith is not blind. Moreland says, “Biblically, faith is a power or skill to act in accordance with the nature of the Kingdom of God, a trust in what we have reason to believe is true.” A person who has faith has reasons to back up their beliefs.
“Biblically, faith is a power or skill to act in accordance with the nature of the Kingdom of God, a trust in what we have reason to believe is true.
That is where apologetics enters. JP Moreland defines apologetics as “a New Testament ministry of helping people overcome intellectual obstacles that block them from coming to or growing in the faith by giving them reasons for why one should believe Christianity is true and by responding to objections raised against it.” Vincennes Apologetics echo’s this. Vincennes Apologetics’ mission is to display the glory of God by giving Christians answers to difficult questions and giving non-Christians reasons to consider Jesus Christ.
And we will continue to work to build up your faith. Peter tells us “to supplement your faith with excellence, and excellence with knowledge,” (2 Peter 1:5). In this passage we see that faith can be supplemented, added to, by an increase of knowledge! Peter uses this is, in part, what it means for a Christian “to keep from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” I will pray for all of you that you may grow in faith and knowledge!
Your Friendly Neighborhood Apologist