C.L. Thomas

 

By challenging competing worldviews, Christian apologetics (CA, hereafter) practices an offensive method of engagement. CA argues that the Christian worldview offers the best explanation for the greatest questions that arrests the human mind. CA further contends that any worldview that would have any sense of sustainability or effectiveness must in some way or another agree with the Christian worldview or borrow from it for sustainability. Therefore, the notion of challenge is the means by which another must give an account for the weaknesses of their worldview, its evidence or lack thereof.

CA is relationally practiced and organic, allowing it to be read while reading other worldviews. This is done through the fully formed, evidenced and practical demonstration of Christianity. When Christians have taken serious their calling to be disciples who have “Christ formed in them” and are mature and grown up in “the stature of Christ” (Gal. 4:19; Eph. 4:13), then their lives become the greatest argument of the Christian worldview put on full display for the world to read, assess, and appreciate the multifaceted wisdom of God (Eph. 3:10).

What do we do with those that believe some of what we believe? CA maintains that “common ground” or similar beliefs with those that we give an answer to is a bridge to ground or show the lack of grounding in any system that does not equally subscribe to God. Such “lack,” as stated earlier, demonstrates the strength of the Christian worldview and gives leverage to the final effort of CA; which, is to help seekers see the superiority of the Christian worldview and the bankruptcy of all others.

To this point, this article has suggested the need of fully functional disciples that become a living apology on behalf of Christ. Apologetics then, as presented here, ought not to be thought of as a set of arguments based solely on propositions; rather, it is the ongoing living engagement of the disciple of Christ who removes false constructs and communicates (even while illustrating) the significance of the Christian worldview through the relational life they live. Such ongoing intercourse of life and discovery demonstrates the incarnation of truth claims that contend for the legitimacy of the Christian worldview. These truth claims are seen to be effective in daily engagement, moment by moment. These truth claims make the multifaceted wisdom of God both undeniable and desirable for one to exchange one’s worldview for that of Christianity.

WHAT DOES THIS SORT OF APOLOGETIC PRACTICE DEMAND?

One, it demands disciples who are committed to becoming Christ followers in a fully functional manner. Disciples are individuals who have relinquished the rights of their lives over to God and have have placed themselves under the comprehensive rule of God in every facet of their being. This type of follow-ship allows for an implicit and all intrusive word rich life that is bibliocentric and responsive to the will of God for all things. Such commitment allows the word of God to be tangible, touchable and teachable. The disciple is placed on the stage of the human condition and navigates its challenges through the wisdom of God’s word.

Two, it necessitates a willingness to relationally connect with a skeptical world. Jesus’ incarnation is God’s intrusion on humanity. This same type of intrusion is the work of every disciple when they are missional in connecting with the world around them. If every person is a providential and stewarded act of God, then every encounter is a providential point with eternal ramifications. The fact is, no disciple fully knows what God is up to so they must simply be willing to be apart of life in the assumption that God is always up to something. One’s willingness to connect with the people in their path is the ‘first act’ of confronting the entanglements of a false paradigm.

Three, it suggests a working understanding of evangelism, to which we turn next. In the next installment a definition of evangelism will be offered that will demonstrate the incarnational acts of Jesus engaging the human condition. From this definition it will be argued that such intentional relationship building is how the process of good news and worldview defense finds its foundation to a build lasting edifice of faith.