Thursday, January 22, 2009

Postmodern Apologetics

I really connected with this passage in Total Church by Tim Chester and Steve Timmis. The authors discuss the development of apologetics from the Enlightenment until now. They discuss the postmodern mindset and discuss the role of apologetics with regard to the postmodern mindset.
Modern Christianity has developed a rational apologetic. We engage modern society with rational proofs of God's existence. We provide scientific data to defend divine creation. We have developed logical responses to the questions raised by suffering. All of these presuppose that modern people find the Christian faith intellectually weak. But the problem is not an intellectual problem. The problem is hearts that refuse to live under God's reign. we reject God. It is a relational problem. And if it is a relational problem, it requires a relational apologetic.
What will commend the gospel are lives lived in obedience to the gospel and a community life that reflects God's triune community of love. People will not believe until they are genuinely open to exploring the truth about God. They become open as they see that it is good to know God. And they see that it is good to know God as they see the love of a Christian community. As Francis Schaeffer said: "Our relationship with each other is the criterion the world uses to judge whether our message is truthful. Christian community is the ultimate apologetic.

I don't post this to say that a reasoned defense of the gospel is unnecessary, but I do think that as we display a life that is changed by the gospel, and we are the pleasing "aroma of Christ" in the world, people will be more willing to listen to our reasoned defense.

1 comment:

The MAN Fan Club said...

I do realize the need to meet the physical needs of people before they might be ready to accept the gospel as well. I never had a door to door evangelist mentality. If we could live our lives where people would say, "I want that in my life."