The past decade has seen a Renaissance in Christian Apologetics. This movement began decades before with the work of men like Francis Schaeffer, Josh McDowell, Ravi Zacharias, and William Lane Craig. Now, average Christians are taking up the mantle of the apologist and are giving good reasons for the truth of Christianity and answering objections to it.
But with this resurgence, the Church is still mostly resistant to apologetics. But why is this the case? Former Cold Case Detective, J. Warner Wallace, notices this trend when coming to churches to speak:
"I am blessed by opportunities to make the case for Christianity every weekend in churches across the nation. As a result, however, I get to see how many of my Christian brothers and sisters are interested in the evidence supporting their faith. I must tell you, the interest in Christian case making is thin, at best. In a typical church, about ten percent of the congregation is usually concerned enough about “apologetics” to attend a training session or conference. My fellow speakers and traveling case makers report the same interest wherever they go, and if you are among the few Christians who are actively studying or making the case, you know what I am talking about first-hand. "
Many people feel they are just not intellectually equipped to learn apologetics. It's something that does require time and study. But if we approach apologetics the way we do other things in our lives, we can learn to present a well reasoned faith. And each one of us can present these arguments in our own way to help communicate well to people who have questions or objections.
But there are those who feel that apologetics itself is a wrong approach and not needed.
One response I often hear myself is "we just need to preach the simple Gospel". One well known speaker stated that "when you are sitting across from a person... using intellectual arguments.. facts about history, illustrations, all sorts of things, you're not proclaiming "Thus Saith The LORD". There's not the power of simply going to scripture".
Is he correct? Is the Bible against giving reasoned arguments for Christianity? If I do go to scripture, I find the following passages:
"but honor the Messiah as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you." 1 Peter 3:15
"Dear friends, although I was eager to write you about the salvation we share, I found it necessary to write and exhort you to contend for the faith that was delivered to the saints once for all" Jude v 3
"Conduct yourself with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person" - Colossians 4:5-6
"If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” John 10:37-38
"For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ" 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
It is clear from scripture that giving a reasoned, evidential answer to the questions raised against and about Christianity is commanded.
We should always preach the Gospel, but I wonder if some see the act of preaching as speaking an incantation over someone calling upon the power of God to supersede their free will and make them a believer in Christ. The power of the Gospel is the power to save those who would put their trust in Christ's finished work on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. But this power is not in the pronouncement.
Jesus said "..Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God." John 3:18
This is immediately after John 3:16. The Gospel is not magic, but is the truth proclaimed. We live in a post modern world where truth is considered to be relative. So, we must be ready to meet each person where they live.
As Francis Schaeffer noted:
"As we get ready to tell the person God's answer to his or her need, we must make sure that the individual understands that we are talking about real truth, and not about something vaguely religious which seems to work psychologically. We must make sure that he understands that we are talking about real guilt before God, and we are not offering him merely relief for his guilt-feelings. We must make sure that he understands that we are talking to him about history, and that the death of Jesus was not just an ideal or a symbol but a fact of space and time. If we are talking to a person who would not understand the term "space-time history" we can say: "Do you believe that Jesus died in the sense that if you had been there that day, you could have rubbed your finger on the cross and got a splinter in it?" Until he understands the importance of these three things, he is not ready to become a Christian.
Francis, Schaeffer (1982). The Complete Works of Francis A. Schaeffer A Christian Worldview. Chicago, IL: Crossway Books. ISBN 978-0-89107-236-2.