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The Rise And Relevancy Of Apologetics In Youth Ministry
Rise And Relevancy Of Apologetics In Youth Ministry
1933 G. K. Chesterton observed that while it is important to win the
lost to Christianity, leaders must increasingly endeavor to "convert
to Christianity." Chesterton's remark was a timeless reminder
that the church must be ever dedicated in its duty to pass on
biblical truth to upcoming generations.
Because more belief
systems than ever are competing for the attention of teens, I believe
that it is vital for churches to incorporate apologetics and
worldview content into their youth ministries. "Worldview"
refers to what
we believe. "Apologetics" is all about why we
believe the things we believe. Students today need to learn about
The Greek word for apologetics appears
several times in the Bible. Usually translated as "answer" and "reason," apologia is
an ancient legal term meaning "a defense." Categories of
Christian apologetics include the following: (1) Textual
apologetics - defending
the trustworthiness of the Bible, then presenting the content of what
it says; (2) Evidence-based
apologetics - presenting
external data that provides objective confirmation of the Christian
faith (such as historical or scientific facts); and (3) Philosophical
apologetics - exposing
the flawed reasoning behind popular arguments against Christianity.
my experience, several key issues are essentials when making a list
of apologetics topics for teens. Youth should be equipped to
biblically process such questions as Is
there absolute truth? Does God exist? Is the Bible trustworthy?
Was Jesus authentic? Why does God allow pain and suffering in the
authors (myself included) have written about the faith challenges
present on university campuses. But years before college comes
along, teens are pondering how Christianity stacks up against
competing beliefs. Statements like, "You've-got-your-truth-and-I've-got-mine," or "Jesus was
just one of many great spiritual leaders" have become axiomatic in
our culture. Youth
must be equipped to understand why they believe the claims of
Christianity rather than those of some other belief system.
shouldn't we resign ourselves to the absence of truth suggested by
post-modernism? Why not just embrace the atheism insisted upon by
books like Richard Dawkins' The
God Delusion? The
answer is multifaceted. But Christianity is to be believed and
followed because it is true.In
a world of sincerely held opinions, Christianity comes to us via
historical, yet personally relevant, fact.
recent video on You Tube showed some footage from Africa in which a
baby water buffalo was rescued from the mouths of three hungry lions.
The people whose camcorder captured this could be heard cheering as
one adult water buffalo courageously fought off the lions. The video
reminded me that within the world are predators, prey, and
protectors. Teens needs to be preemptively equipped for the
intellectual questions and spiritual challenges that inevitably come. Apologetics
content helps by demonstrating that Christianity is credible,
reasonable, and relevant.
youth leaders shy away from teaching apologetics assuming that teens
won't get it or that it is a pursuit for just the super
intelligent. To such sentiments, I respectfully object! For twenty
years now I have witnessed teens of every state and economic strata
react to apologetics content with enthusiasm and appreciation. What
is really cool is when they share how they used apologetics in
reaching out to their friends.
am also encouraged by the knowledge that one of the most well-known
verses related to apologetics was written by the apostle Peter.
First Peter 3:15 - quoted by apologists everywhere - was penned not
by Paul the theologian and philosopher, but by plainspoken Peter, the
fisherman. More than ever before, we must rise to the challenge of
his words and equip a generation to "always be ready."
McFarland serves as Director of the Center for Christian Worldview
and Apologetics, North Greenville University. He is the daily host
of Exploring the Word, a nationally syndicated radio program heard on
the American Family Radio Network. Alex earned an M.A. in Christian
Thought/Apologetics from Liberty University, and is the author of 10
books. He has been involved in youth ministry since 1989.