(This is my newsletter article for The Challenger, our church newsletter–April 2013.)
Apologetics—No, Not the Art of Apologizing
One huge part of being a disciple of Christ (and of being a disciple who disciples others) is dealing with the area of apologetics. And, no, this is not the art of apologizing—although it does seem that many believers are apologetic about their beliefs and their faith:
- You may apologize to your friends for actually believing the Bible is the Word of God (“Don’t think I’m crazy for believing this Book.”)
- You may apologize to your friends for believing that Jesus is the only way (“You believe what you want, but what works for me is that Jesus is my Savior.”).
- You may sound apologetic for taking an hour or two out of your weekend to actually go to church (“Yeah, guys, I do still go to church—enjoy your time at the mountains. Pray for me—ha-ha!”)
- You may apologize in science class for believing the Bible’s account of creation, either by believing that God created everything—much less believing He created it in six days.
While these examples may be over the top, deep down, many believers struggle with talking with others about the faith. So we often respond in the following ways:
- Don’t bring it up. This is the non-confrontational approach. You can’t have a hard conversation about this if you don’t address it in the first place.
- If it comes up, change the subject. This is the polite approach. Too often, we’ve bought into the argument that our faith is personal and we shouldn’t intrude into someone’s private system with our beliefs.
- Make it personal, but not absolute. This is the pragmatic approach: “You know, Jesus works for me.” The implication is that Jesus is so personal that we can each have different saviors—just find the one that works for you.
- When we come to church, it’s all about us and how it makes us feel. This is the experiential approach. When church becomes all about us, then we forget that there are others who need us to invest in them—and thus, we need to be sure we are learning.
When Paul tells us that He is not ashamed of the gospel, he gives a rationale: “… for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes.” Being ashamed of the gospel does not mean we get out and deny the faith, necessarily. We may love Jesus, and may profess that we love Jesus, believe the Bible, and attend church. But what I’m suggesting is taking the next step…
Having a missional approach!
We live in Colorado—the state where marijuana and civil unions are now legal, and where everyday, murders and abductions take place. We live in a place where 13,000 people live within a mile radius of our church, and over 90% do not go to church—and 66% of them do not have any religious belief system at all (2nd highest city in the country behind New York City). People are hurting, and have no hope beyond this world outside of Jesus. We have the Scriptures, and we only meet together for just a short amount of time during the week. But we are in the world much, much more. Hurting, questioning, looking for an escape but looking for a reason to press on all at the same time on the one side; and content, happy, enjoying life without Christ on the other.
Every person, in church and out, needs to have eternity in mind! Do we? May we pray that God would help create a culture of discipleship at ARBC. Centennial needs us. Colorado needs us. The corners of creation need us! Don’t apologize. Don’t be ashamed. Be alert and ready for Christ’s and eternity’s sake.