That title may seem like a conflict in terminology. But, given that ‘Apologetics’ is defined as ‘making a defense’, it makes more sense that we who believe what the Bible says would share it without apology. But, there is a huge gap in today’s world between sharing and defending our faith.
We need to start by looking at some research done by the Barna Group and Answers in Genesis, the folks who gave us The Creation Museum and The Ark Adventure. By the way, if you have not been to either or both of these Christian sites, you really must. If you care at all about defending our faith in today’s world, it is a trip worth your time, energy and money – and it’s not that expensive. So, go! Take your kids, take your church youth group, take your church’s young parents group, take your church’s Sunday School teachers.
Back to the research project, in which the Barna Group found that 70% of the children of church-going families are leaving the church as soon as they are out on their own. Yes! Read that sentence again. SEVENTY PERCENT of children brought up in the church are leaving as soon as they can make those decisions for themselves. So, Answers to Genesis surveyed this group of young adults to find out why. They received a smattering of reasons, but THE most prevalent was that they did not believe the Bible stories they were taught in Sunday School – they did not want to perpetuate the stories that even their teachers didn’t believe. To put an exclamation on that statement, young adults who had been brought up in Sunday School left the church at a higher percentage that those who were just taken to church. (Already Gone by Ken Ham, Britt Beemer, and Todd Hillard – Answers in Genesis)
What that tells us is that it is not enough to simply share Bible stories with our youth. We have to tell them these stories are TRUE and that WE believe they are TRUE. Furthermore, we need to teach that there evidence – real scientific evidence – of these truths. Let me give you a scenario to demonstrate. Let’s say that little Johnny goes to Sunday School and learns about Noah’s Ark. The teacher uses a picture of cute little arks bobbing on the water with cartoon animals sticking their heads out of the windows (we’ve all seen it), and maybe a cute little song about the animals coming 2 by 2.
The next day, Johnny goes to school and shares what he learned with his friends on the playground. Along comes Billy, the playground bully, who teases Johnny for believing such a nonsense story. What does Johnny do? NOTHING! Because nobody told Johnny that the story was true, or even that his teacher believes it to be true. Nobody gave Johnny any clue that there was any real evidence that it is true. We might as well be teaching our children with Aesop’s Fables!
What if we teach these stories as if they are true – because they ARE – and tell our children about the evidence that’s out there. Now, little children may be too young to understand all the science behind that truth. But, we can at least teach them that if there were no world-wide flood, we would not find fish fossils on top of mountains! Then, we can teach them more about the science as they progress to the point that they are ready for that.
We need to teach people at all ages how to defend our faith. Gone are the days when the Bible is just accepted as the ultimate authority. Here’s another example; this one for adults. We live in a day when even most Christians don’t really believe the Biblical account of creation. Face it; it’s true. Most people – most CHRISTIANS – believe that evolution is real science and that the Bible simply short-cuts the story to 6 days. So, if evolution is true, we’ve had literally eons of animals being born and dying, each generation getting more complex until, voilà, we have man in some primitive form. OK, here’s a question for you to ask people who believe that: If evolution is true, and eons of generations of animals have come and gone to get us where we are today, then why did Jesus have to die on a cross? Think about that for a minute. Why did Jesus die? To pay our ‘wages of sin is death’ (Romans 6:23a). Why? Because death was the penalty for sin, for the original sin of Adam and Eve. If there had already been eons of death on earth, then death did not come as a penalty of sin and we have no ‘wages of sin’ to pay. So, Jesus would not have had to die to pay that price for us to save us from our sin.
That is the way we have to teach our Bible classes in a day when everyone questions everything, and there are so many voices competing for our minds and souls.