Apologetics Inoculation

Are we prepared for missions service? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Let’s suppose your church group was wanting to go on a mission trip to a country in Africa. You were told that you are going to an area where Malaria is common. There is a harmless vaccination you can get to inoculate you against the disease that is also inexpensive. Or, you could go and get it and afterwards have a much harder time recovering from the sickness and enjoying all the effects of it.

Which one do you do?

I would hope that most of you would say “I’m not going to be foolhardy! By all means give me some prevention against the disease!”

If this is your position, then I ask that you be consistent.

At a recent event where I spoke on Inerrancy, I was interacting with students when one of them started speaking about the objections to the truth of Scripture and saying “Why was I not told about these in advance? Why did I have to wait until I was a sophomore in college to have these thrown at me?” Rest assured these weren’t thrown by those who are Christians just having doubts, but by those with education actively trying to show that the text is wrong.

Meanwhile, some readers know I recently wrote on the case of Tanya Simmonds that can be found here. The response to what was in her mind a devastating essay by myself and readers was just the unbelievability of the idea that this counted as a serious refutation.

The former student is still seeking truth. Simmonds, on the other hand, is a casualty. In fact, the former student could have well turned into a Simmonds herself. In each case, the disease of apostasy could have been more likely to be prevented if inoculation had taken place earlier.

What would this have consisted of? Teaching apologetics to our youth. This does not mean that they need to be William Lane Craig, but they need a basic knowledge. We send our students to school saying they need to know from the ground up how to do reading, writing, and arithmetic. This is the only way they will succeed in the real world. We don’t do the same thing with their Christianity, what we should consider the most important aspect of their lives. We simply give the impression that God will take care of them.

God is not meant to be an excuse for our laziness any more than one would go into a country with Malaria without an inoculation saying “God will take care of me.” If such is your approach, be consistent and never go to the grocery store or grow food, God will take care of you. Never wear a seat belt. God will take care of you. Never even read your Bible. God will tell you what you need to know.

There are some diseases that can be cured if they are caught. Some cannot be. Some could go either way. Apostasy falls into the last category. Sometimes, you could win someone back, but it’s extremely difficult. Why not get it so you don’t have to do that in the first place and do this by just basic education at least?

Many pastors will hesitate to speak on the difficulties of a text. Suppose a pastor wants to speak on the woman caught in adultery in John 7:53-8:11. Many a pastor could be hesitant to mention textual variants. The reality is that this is like talking to children about sex. A parent might be hesitant to do this, but if they don’t talk to their children about sex, someone else will. If a pastor does not present a Christian account of textual variation, the person in the pew will get a non-Christian account. In our modern world of the internet, it is a guarantee.

If you are a pastor unwilling to present to your congregation the challenges of the text, then I urge you to turn in your resignation and give the pastorate to someone who will really protect the flock and warn them of possible dangers on the horizon.

Our youth are going out into a disease-ridden culture. If we do not present them with the tools to deal with it, let us not be surprised when they fall victim. It is a sad reality that the tools are right there, they are easy to apply, and yet they so often are not. For many, they’d prefer to deny the problem is even real, yet if we are people of truth, this cannot be an option. We must ensure the safety of our youth immediately.

In Christ,
Nick Peters