If you’ve ever shared about your beliefs or discipled a new believer, then you’ve probably been confronted with questions about the Christian faith. In fact, with many contemporary style churches, we may discover seekers and skeptics showing up in our Sunday School classes or small groups. I suppose that’s to be expected–right? After all, we invite all people to “come and see” and check out the claims of Christ. A good thing!
All my life, I’ve held a deep interest in apologetics. It may be because of my engineering background, love for teaching or interest in nature and science–probably all the above. Alister McGrath has written Mere Apologetics which helps believers work with seekers and skeptics on reasons for believing in God.
A former atheist and scientist, McGrath is now a professor of theology at King’s College in London. Very informative and readable, his book presents apologetics in a fresh, clear way. It’s intellectually stimulating, but not overly academic.
McGrath wants to turn us into better communicators rather than better arguers. His methods appeal to both the mind and the imagination. One of his heros is C.S. Lewis, perhaps the greatest apologist of all time.
Here are some of the big ideas I observed from reading Mere Apologetics:
- What is apologetics? It’s a “reply” to questions about or attacks on the Christian faith. Not be be confused with evangelism, but it can lead some to the door of faith.
- Some people have to believe there is a God, before they can believe in Him. There’s a difference.
- Know your audience. Not everyone is looking for a rational argument for Christianity. But some desperately want to see it demonstrated, that it really makes a difference in people’s lives. That it can–in certain respects–explain their world and their experiences.
- We may not be able to prove God exists in the strictest sense of the word, but so what? We accept many things in everyday life (and science) if they seem to have a reasonable explanation.
- To justify (not prove absolutely) our Christian beliefs, McGrath offers several clues or pointers toward faith: origins of the universe, fine-tuning of the universe, orderliness of the physical world, our longing for justice and an intuitive sense of beauty.
- Isn’t it presumptuous to believe all truth must be discovered through science? Must we imprison all explanations within a materialistic view of the world?
“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.”