What with the talk surrounding the Global Atheist Convention and all, it’s a good time to revisit the business of Christian apologetics.
Present-day critiques of Christianity often do not come to terms with the way we Christians actually think and speak. Meanwhile, Christian apologists often rush into abstract argumentation without any real articulation of Christian theology.
In 2004 I started up an apologetics group for AFES, and some friends and I spent a couple of years considering how to bring Christian thinking to bear on our university campus. It was great to watch on as Australian Christian thinkers started doing a refreshing kind of apologetics.
This full-carb apologetics is an exploration of Christian vision. This is apologetics moving beyond defence and attack; this is apologetics in service of cultural engagement and evangelism; this is apologetics as full-orbed Christian voice. This is attraction and engagement, grounded in Christian community, imagination and storytelling. As David Höhne says, we do not need rational discourse so much as apologetic persons living in apologetic communities.
It’s also worth noting that Christianity is a book faith, a story faith, a history faith — and I suspect that the most natural apologists are those of us who are good at doing humanities. I wonder if that’s half the problem with online apologetics: too many IT guys and sciencey types; too much pedantry and systematising!
7 apologetics sites
This rethinking of apologetics is reflected in the online resources I use. The other thing behind this list is my belief that we need local resources — and for Australians, I reckon that the UK is always more ‘local’ than the USA!
1. The Centre for Public Christianity is one of the more recent projects of Australian Christian thinkers Greg Clarke and John Dickson.
2. CASE brings Christian thinking to bear on the whole spectrum of Western life. Recent issues of their magazine have focused on otherness, globalisation, and urban life.
3. The woman Damaris was one of the few Christian believers to emerge from Paul’s visit to Mars Hill in Acts 17. Damaris equips Christians to interact with the media and pop culture.
4. A number of critiques of Christianity seem to be biblically illiterate, oblivious to biblical scholarship, and even ambivalent towards the humanities. Cue the videos at Bibledex.
5. Forget your six pictures: for creatively focusing on Jesus online, Rejesus is second to none!
6. Bethinking is UCCF’s excellent collection of apologetics articles and recordings.
7. L’Abri helped give shape to this full-carb apologetics, and here’s the L’Abri Ideas Library.
Arthur Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.