hot house Christians

June 22, 2016

not ashamed

Sadly, the majority of our Christian students aren’t ready for either college or life in the “real” world. They’re not prepared for the serious intellectual challenges awaiting them, let alone the barrage of moral challenges from an increasingly secular culture. It’s a huge reason why we continue to hemorrhage youth from our churches.

The study of. Apologetics helped rebuild my faith in Christ, and I became convinced of its absolute necessity for student discipleship. That’s right, I said necessity. Apologetics is not optional in a post-Christian culture. It’s not just for the nerdy youth group kid “who’s into that kind of stuff.” God is a rational God, and we are made in His image. Therefore, every student is rational by design, instinctively gathering reasons and evidence as they seek to make sense of the world around them and form a coherent set of beliefs about reality. As the church equips a new generation for the cause of Christ, we must begin with the conviction that apologetics is an indispensable tool.

Now, I’m under no false pretense that if we simply give students apologetics we’ll automatically secure their faith in Christ for a lifetime. Human beings are not just thinking beings; we’re emotional, experiential, and volitional as well. That’s why 1 Peter 3:15 (nasb)—the apologist’s theme verse—begins and ends with two very important phrases. Peter starts with this reminder: “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts.” Apologetics should be done amidst a certain kind of life, one where we surrender more and more of ourselves to Christ. When we do this, He transforms us. A life transformed by Christ is the requisite context for making “a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you.” Peter ends the verse with a picture of such an apologetic: it is gentle and respectful.

So, while apologetics training is necessary to disciple the next generation, it is not sufficient by itself to form fully devoted followers of Jesus. However, this does not minimize its necessity. The mind plays a prominent role in our spiritual transformation—“be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2 nasb)—and, therefore, we ignore the minds of the next generation to our own peril.

Maybe you’re already convinced but wondering, “How can we effectively equip a new generation with apologetics?” Let me share some ideas that are borne out of my own experience teaching students as a youth pastor for eleven years, as a parent now for 38 years and as Pastor for the 40. I’ve made plenty of mistakes in all three roles, but my experience has allowed me to hone an approach that can be effective at home, at church, at youth group, or in a Christian school.

So yes the above is a teaser, something to whet your appetites (yes that’s a pun for the knife fans). We need to practice what we preach, live what we hear from the church, the Lord and his word, and not be the “do it because I say so parents” but the live like I live parents (no hypocrisy).

We need to not only rescue the lost, but in some cases rescue our own youth that are “hot house Christians” that can never live in the secular world.

Stay tuned

God bless from

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