I am excited to be giving a workshop at this conference (April 4-5, at Calvary Chapel South Denver), which includes Douglas Groothuis, Winfried Corduan, John Stonestreet, and Norman Geisler. My talk has just been scheduled for 9am on Saturday, and the title of the workshop is Avoiding the Pitfalls of the Contemporary Apologetics Renaissance.
Guided by a paper I have been writing this spring, I plan to walk the session attendees through the contemporary landscape of the Christian apologetics movement by discussing the key areas where apologetics is increasing in prominence (social media, Hollywood, college campuses, etc.). Then, I will discuss the benefits and challenges Christian apologists face in each of these areas. Finally, I will offer suggestions for developing and maintaining a standard of biblical excellence in the midst of apologetics’s newly elevated platform. The goal is to challenge the apologetics community to evaluate our recent successes and shortcomings in order to increase our faithfulness to God and our effectiveness for His Kingdom. A time for discussion will follow.
The discipline of Christian apologetics is undergoing a renaissance. Apologetics clubs such as Ratio Christi are springing up on college campuses across the United States. Annual worldview and apologetics conferences are increasing in number, as are apologetics college and graduate degree programs. The defense of the Christian faith has even hit Hollywood with an apologetics-themed movie, God is Not Dead, playing in mainstream theaters. Debates over the existence of God spread like wildfire through social media, exciting and electrifying Christians who watch together and discuss the event afterward. Christian thinkers like Alvin Plantinga, William Lane Craig, and J.P. Moreland are household names among the swelling ranks of apologetics enthusiasts. While it may seem obvious that the growing popularity of apologetics holds enormous potential to advance the Kingdom of God through persuasion, potential dangers also lurk. This newly accelerated movement incubates temptations such as Christian celebrity-worship, insensitive argumentation, relational atrophy due to over-use of social media, seeking academic shortcuts, and fostering an adversarial disposition toward non-believers. The broader our reach, the farther the Gospel can travel. But on the other hand, the broader our reach, the more souls we can harm. The stakes are too high not to be on our guard against the dangers within this simultaneously encouraging apologetics resurgence.