This past weekend, April 11 & 12. Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, held the first of many to come Apologetics events on campus. Speakers such as David Naugle of DBU, Steve Lee from Prestonwood Academy, and other faculty and staff at SWBTS such as Keith Loftin, Harvey Solganick, Paul Gould, Travis Dickinson, Terry Wilder, and Mike Keas.
Topics varied in these apologetics sessions such as:
- Does Science Disprove God?
- The Resurrection: Fact or Fiction?
- C.S. Lewis and the hardknock on Christianity’s door.
- Loving God with all of your mind
- A prelude to Christian philosophy
- Are there forgeries in the Bible?
- and… Apologetics as Devotional.
The symposium encouraged not only myself, but my wife, and many others to the necessity of studying the area of apologetics for the Christian life.
If you’re unfamiliar with the word apologetics, it isn’t about apologizing, rather it is from the Greek word, apologia, which means “to give a defense”. And not that Christians are told to be defensive in nature, but rather it is a exhortation from Peter the Apostle to give a defense.
1 Peter 3:15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.
Some things I learned or was reminded of at the Apologetics conference to sort of highlight it for you:
- The death of Great Britian’s Christianity took place in one decade: intellectually, spiritually/passionately, & social gospel Christians.
“They forgot what it meant to be viable, putting integration between head & heart, leading to helping hands.” -Dr. Paul Gould
C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, Dorothy Sayers. Were all very influential in British life, and all died somewhat close together. They were intellectual giants in the British West and had a profound influence on the world to this day.
Today we have become a kind of “Oprah Winfrey, Christianity” very pluralistic and not very intellectual.
In the post-9/11 era of America, we are increasingly becoming anti-intellectual, w/ fat minds and sharp bodies.
The presupposition in society today is that Jesus isn’t intellectual and that Christianity is culturally irrelevant. As Christians we need to engage in what Albert Mohler calls, intellectual discipleship. We need to learn HOW to think and when we do that in light of God’s Word we will love God with our minds. The danger of not doing so could be more and more people lost and on their way to hell. See growing intellectually as a tool to reach the lost for Christ.
“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.” -Ray Bradbury, Farenheit 451
from Dr. Naugle I learned:
- Christian belief renews study of philosophy
- Faith renovates reason
- Grace restores nature.
From Travis Dickinson I learned:
- Apologetics is best seen and is most effective as something of a devotional exercise.
- Confidence comes from questioning
- We can maintain faith while questioning the object of our faith.
- “If you don’t have questions about God, I’m not sure you know Him?”
God is not the neat, predictable, harmless thing, but He is good. Recalls to mind the famous conversation between Mr. Beaver and Lucy, in C.S. Lewis’ world of Narnia, when she discovers that Aslan is a lion, she asks: “Is he safe?” Mr. Beaver replies, “Safe? Who said anything about safe? He isn’t safe, but He is good!”
God is incomprehensible and it is part of our walk with Christ to search the deep things of God out even if we never find answers. Take the questions slowly but don’t wait to ask them, search them out! For that is what we are called to do.
Proverbs 25:2 It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out.
I really was thoroughly blessed by the weekend of Apologetics and I’m thrilled to hear more from these men of God.
There is also a new Apologetics MA available at SWBTS check it out!