Readers of my blog know that I recently reviewed the movie “Religulous” here. I emailed a group that Bill Maher talked to in the movie, the Trucker’s Chapel, this morning before leaving for work in the hopes that eventually I and some others could go and train some of the truckers there in the hopes that the next time a Bill Maher comes by, they will be ready.
Will this happen? I don’t know. It’s up to them. Nevertheless, as an apologist, I believe this is the way to be. Yes. I’m supposed to be out there answering the critics, and I am doing such. However, a large part of what I do is equipping the saints so that they will be all the more prepared when they go to the Starbucks or are in the locker room or are standing around the water cooler.
I realize this as SHOULD everyone in ministry. We do what we do because others don’t always have the drive, time, ability, etc. Many of us might have basic skills in medicine, for instance, but when it comes to a more serious disease, we go out to those who are skilled as doctors. While you could see them when you have a mere case of the sniffles, they are there more for when you have a serious disease that you can’t handle on your own.
For the Christian though, he is called to certain capacities by accepting Christ. He is called to evangelize even if he is not necessarily an evangelist. He is called to encourage and counsel, even if he is not a professional counselor. He is called to answer the skeptics, even if he is not meant to be a professional apologist.
What is my hope then in what I do? I’m not out to create professional apologists, though if some come along, I have no complaints! My hope is to get the average man on the street prepared. There has been a recent upsurge in attacks on the faith. We have the new atheists out there writing. We have movies like Religulous and even before that, the Da Vinci Code, which was also a book, and the popular internet movie “Zeitgeist.”
I don’t expect the attacks on the faith to decrease but to increase.
75% of our students leave the church and go off to college and lose their faith. Many of the books of the new atheists are prominently known. The Mormon church claims to baptize a Baptist church every week and if they continue growing at the rate they are, they will soon be on the path of being their own world religion.
Why is this happening?
It’s because we dropped the ball.
We ran into an emotional bunker. Christianity does involve emotions, but it is not purely an emotional event. It is rooted in truth, which is intellectual. Christianity makes claims about the real world. It tells you certain things about the universe, morality, the nature of human beings, etc. It is an intellectual faith because it is a true faith.
It’s time we acted like it and that requires all of us to do our part and not just the ones that do so professionally. I enjoyed having the Mormons visiting me and my roommate for a number of weeks. However, I realize that while I hopefully planted pebbles in their shoes, what’s going to go happen when they go to the next door?
Let’s suppose that door was slammed in their face. What will that tell them? A Mormon will interpret it as persecution and will say that Satan is trying to block the spread of the restored gospel and this is a sign of it. While not using the terminology of the restored gospel, the Jehovah’s Witnesses will treat a slammed door the same way.
Let’s imagine another scenario.
Let’s suppose they left and thought “Those guys knew their stuff, but the next ones will be easier,” and they find out that there are a couple of people at the next house who know their Bibles and can deal with their claims as well. Let’s suppose that this kind of thing happens consistently. Are the Mormons going to be hesitant to go to talk to a Christian eventually? Will the words of Christians consistently lead them to doubt? Rest assured, seeing Christians that are ignorant consistently doesn’t lead them to doubt.
The Mormons don’t hesitate going door-to-door though. Why should they? The strategy works well and they don’t generally meet informed Christians. What if they did though? What if the new atheists knew that the last people they wanted to encounter were Christians? What if Bill Maher started having his knees shake when he knew that Christians were seeing his movie?
The world is not afraid of us. Why should they be? Until they think we’re a force to be reckoned with, we can expect they will continue.
How do we change this?
Friend. I realize you’re not going to be able to address everyone in the world. I realize who you can address though. You can address that man at Starbucks. You can address the one in the locker room. You can address the one at the water cooler. You can address your children. I also practice this method with my limited scope now. I recently have had two co-workers get interested in Christian apologetics. They’re already talking to their family. The word is spreading.
Will this happen overnight? No. But then, the Mormon church didn’t reach where it was overnight. While we condemn their theology, I sadly think we can learn something from their devotion. When the cults are putting us to shame with their evangelism and study, it’s time we noticed. When atheists are thinking about issues Christians don’t even know exist, it’s time we noticed.
It can happen, but whether it will or not is up to you.