Why It’s Urgent That You Train Your Kids To Defend Their Faith Now

By Lane Noble

I’m going to be honest with you. I’m writing this article, not merely out of deep concern, but out of fear for future generations.

I’m no parent, but I do have a vested interest in making sure that future generations hear and be transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If we do nothing else for future generations, we need to do everything that we can to help them to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Psalm 34:8) We can never guarantee it, but we can sow as many seeds as we can and pray that God gives the growth. (1 Corinthians 3:5-9; See also Matthew 13:1-23)

Now this is likely not new information for you, and, if so, I’m glad that it’s not new to you. What you may not be aware of is the new crisis that we find ourselves in.

Now let me be clear, I am not in any way suggesting that all hope is lost for future generations. To the contrary, so long as God is for us and not against us, hope is never lost. Study the cultures of generations past and you’ll see that Christians have faced unique challenges in every culture and time period, and many of those cultures would seem to us to look impossible to share the Gospel with. God still worked in those cultures, and God can still work in ours, but He calls us still to be the laborers in His field. (Matthew 28:19-20) This command is not merely given to us for current adults, but also for young people.

I along with many others have been sounding the alarms for awhile now, and this article is an attempt to turn the alarm’s volume up so that every Christian will know what is going on and what we need to do about it.

What’s Going On?

In generations past, typically, the time limit on being able to effectively train one’s children to defend their faith was about seventeen years. There were exceptions, of course, but generally it wasn’t until one’s children went off to college that parents need have any reason to fear that their child would walk away from the church. Indeed, many did. A lot of times this happened because parents didn’t do much for the spiritual welfare of their children, if at all. In many cases parents often meant well in what they did for their children but didn’t do what was necessary to train their child in the way they should go, and, some, to the dismay of the parents and the church, walked away with no fault of the parents or the church. Not everyone can be reasoned with, and some children just walked away from the church out of love for their own sin, with no rational backing behind it, even if the young person themselves thought that they had a good reason for doing so.

Whatever the case, parents typically had at least seventeen years to prepare their children from the inevitable assaults on their faith. However, as of the past few years, parents have had their time to do so dramatically cut short. Not only are we seeing an increase in middle and high schoolers walking away, but we’re watching the seeds of an anti-God worldview being planted in the minds of elementary schoolers.

False teachers across the country are breaking into the homes of godly families and attempting to indoctrinate your kids, that’s right, your kids, with a new worldview that is completely contrary to the Word of God.

Now the natural question then becomes, “How are these false teachers reaching my kids?” You’ve probably guessed it already. They’re primarily getting there in three places: (1.) The internet, (2.) schools, and (3.) the culture writ large.

I know about these becomes I was reached by false teachers through two of these mediums growing up. Thankfully, I went to a private Christian school growing up so there wasn’t much that was taught to me that was contrary to God’s Word there. However, even there, through my peers and through other mediums that I was introduced to at school, (not really the school’s fault that I was introduced to them), I was confronted with godless philosophies.

Subtly, but surely, false teachers are seizing every medium you can imagine to transform the culture into a more godless one, and they want your kids to come with them. Indeed, they know very well that the most effective way for them to transform the culture is through children. There are so many ways for them to access book loads of false teaching it is almost impossible to keep them away from it.

In light of this, we need a solution. Many would probably suggest that the logical way to go about this is to keep young people away from all of these mediums until their old enough. They would suggest that homeschooling with no unsupervised access to the internet or much contact with the larger culture is the only reasonable way to protect our future generations from corruption. While I understand where these people are coming from, I don’t think that is an effective way of solving the problem nor do I think that it’s healthy.

Let’s look at it the way. You can do all that you can to ensure that your child is never caught in an emergency situation without you before they’re an adult. However, you’re reasonable enough to know that you can never guarantee that. In light of this, you drill all of the wisdom that you possibly can into your child’s head regarding emergency situations. I can recall vividly my parents explaining to me what to do if the house had ever caught fire, or what to do if I were ever kidnapped, or what to do if I were ever lost. They did all that they could to make sure this never happened to me, but they knew that they couldn’t guarantee it, so they taught me what to do if I were ever I situations like the aforementioned.

Now, we know that our children are going to be put in emergency situations at some point in their lives, just as we know that they’re going to confront godless world views at some point in their lives. At some point they will have to dial the emergency number. At some point they will have to be the adult in the situation, and it’s very possible that it could happen when they are not adults.

The point is, in this situation, we need to train our kids to defend themselves against the godless moral revolutionaries that are seeking to bring them into their new anti-God religion. I’m going to be honest, it will be hard work. Raising children always is. However, you know that you would do all that you possibly could no matter how hard it is to protect your child physically. How much harder should be work to make sure that our children thrive spiritually!

This will include teaching them the basics of God’s Word. It will include taking them to church. It will include, as they grow, teaching them the kinds of things that they’re going to hear at school or possibly on TV or the internet. “You may hear someone say that girls can marry girls and boys can marry boys. Remember that God made marriage between a boy and a girl.” Or “Some of your classmates might not believe that God is real. Remember what the Bible says. Everything that is says is true.” As they grow older you should start teaching them how to defend it more thoroughly. Teach them the evidences for the death and resurrection of Jesus. Teach them how we can know the Bible is the Word of God. Teach them the answers to questions that they’re going to hear about the Bible and about Christianity. That means that you’re going to have to do some education yourself on this topic.

This doesn’t mean that you have to know the answer to every question or have to read every biblical commentary out there, but, as 1 Peter 3:15 indicates, we need to be ready to tell people why we believe what we believe. There’s plenty of websites, such as AnswersinGenesis.org and coldcasechristianity.com that are very helpful in informing you on what you’ll need to know for ministry in this current world and to prepare your kids for ministry in the current world. You can even take them to places like the Creation Museum, the Ark Encounter (a life-size replica of Noah’s Ark that defends the Noah’s Ark story), and the Museum of the Bible.

Consult your pastor about ways that you can learn to defend your faith and equip your kids to do so. It’s worth the work. I promise.

If you want some good books on the topic, here are some I suggest. You can pick just one or two to read or you can read all of them. They are all great, easy to read books to help you defend your faith and will be invaluable for you as you train your child to do so:

The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel

The Reason for God by Tim Keller

I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be An Atheist by Frank Turek and Norman Geisler

Homosexuality: Speaking the Truth in Love by Edward T. Welch

A Pocket Guide to Logic and Faith: Discerning Truth in Logical Arguments by Jason Lisle

May Jesus be made much of in all generations!

An Open Letter to Christian High School Students from a Christian College Student

From Lane Noble

To my brothers and sisters in Christ who are of high school age,

I thank God for all of you, because you’re living in an age where it’s very difficult to be a teenage Christian. There are less high school students who believe in God now than ever before. Even in just the three years that I’ve been out of school, the level of godlessness of the younger generations has increased dramatically.

While I wasn’t a high school student in exactly the same context as you are, the storm of godlessness that now permeates our world was threatening to form during my high school years. In the years since I graduated, there are three things that I wish I knew as a Christian in high school. I want to share them with you:

1. Cling to the Bible like it’s your lifeline…because it is.

You know how poorly you function without food. If you don’t get the proper nutrition that you need, you don’t focus as well. You aren’t as strong without it. In some cases you want to pass out.

Jesus tells us that the Bible is just like food in that we need it just as much as we need food. He says this in Mathew 4:4 when He says, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Just as we become physically weak without eating food, we become spiritually weak without the Bible. The only difference is we can never have too much Bible. We can have too much food (You learn that one the hard way).

You will notice a difference in the way you think and live if you are constantly reading the Bible. Don’t just read the daily verse on the Bible app, although that can be helpful. Actually read the Bible. You can even listen to good sermons and read good articles about the Bible. It doesn’t have to be a long time of reading. Most Bible chapters are short, so a chapter a day can be very helpful. Or listen to it while doing chores or jogging.

2. Recognize That God Knows Best, Not Those Around You

A lot of times as teenagers we think that our situations are unique and therefore we have a good excuse to not to do what the Bible says. In fact, that kind of thinking is even common amongst adults!

There is no excuse for disobeying Christ. 2 Timothy 3:16 says that the Bible contains everything we need for “life and godliness.” Everything we need to know to be godly is in the Bible. He would never give us a command we couldn’t keep. (Hebrews 4:15)

Now this kind of thinking was a problem for me when I was in high school. It’s even more of a problem for high schoolers now. The reason is is because the culture that we live in is working hard to get everyone to accept ungodly philosophies.

I want you to read this part carefully, because it’s important. God gets to define gender and sexuality. Not the world. Holding to the Bible’s view of gender and sexuality is not the same as mistreating the LGBTQ+ community, no matter what the world says. There is nothing less loving than allowing someone to continue in their sin. Period. The most loving thing you can do for your LGBTQ+ friends is share the good news of Jesus dying for their sins and being risen from the dead.

I mentioned the above example because it’s the most common one nowadays. It’s not the only one, however, and it can be difficult to think biblically about them. That leads me to the next one.

3. Beware of False Teachers

When the Bible talks about false teachers, we typically think about the conservative religious ones. Like the Mormons or the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

However, false teachers aren’t always easy to spot. Sometimes they look like Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Sometimes they look like non-Christian preachers. Sometimes they are talk show hosts or famous celebrities. Sometimes they are YouTubers or Tik Tok celebrities. Sometimes they even look like your school teachers or school principal.

Let me be clear. Your teachers and school principal deserve all the respect you can give them. However, that doesn’t mean that everything that they teach you will be in line with God’s Truth. I even had a teacher one time that had me read an entire article about why my beliefs about the Bible were wrong, and one of the questions on my test later on in that unit was whether or not the Bible was considered consistent with modern science. I answered yes by the way. That wasn’t the answer my teacher was looking for.

Whether they be school teachers, celebrities, TV producers, or talk show hosts, false teachers are working very hard to draw you into their view of the world and away from God. Many will stop at nothing to get you to violate your convictions. Do not do it. I beg of you do not do it.

There are many resources that can help you defend your faith against the teachings of these false teachers. Here are just a few:

crossexamined.org

AnswersinGenesis.org

coldcasechristianity.com

There are a number of books and documentaries that can help you as well. Your pastor should also be able to help you defend your faith.

I write this to you because I want you to thrive in your walk with Christ and to be a light for Jesus in your community. I pray that God will continue to grow you and to make you more like Himself.

Your brother in Christ,

Lane

How to Evangelize the Bible Belt

By Lane Noble

Every born-again Christian has experienced it. They’ve dealt with the frustration. Sunday rolls around and people routinely show up to church like they’re supposed to. They then proceed to sing songs that detail the truths of the glorious gospel of Christ saving them from eternal condemnation. Once they sit down, the faithful pastor gets up to preach and they either listen respectfully or in some cases don’t listen at all to the proclamation of the greatest joy any human being can experience. Then they stand up and sing some more.

Not even an hour after church is over, these same people go back to approaching their lives as though God doesn’t exist, the Bible isn’t true, and Jesus never died for the sins of the world. Of course, these people typically do believe in God. They typically believe the Bible is true. They most certainly believe that Jesus died for their sins. They believe and were baptized. They’re good, right?

If you’re reading this article more than likely you know better. The people with whom this article will resonate most are probably people who have ever lived in the states of Texas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Iowa, etc. I myself was born and raised in central Kentucky, and, not only that, but I was brought up in church and attended a private Christian school.

I know “cultural Christianity” like I know the back of my hand. I lived in it and breathed it. In fact, I was sucked in and captivated by it. I was shaped by it in dangerous ways. Yet I’ve repented of my lukewarm lifestyle and since pursued Jesus. In light of this, I’ve examined my own experience and the experience of others. I’ve watched faithful Christians successfully minister to me and others.

Many in the Bible Belt are frustrated and weighed down by the burden of trying to minister and evangelize to people who live in it. Way too many people in it call themselves Christians and actually believe themselves to be. No matter how much you confront these people. No matter how much you preach to them. No matter how much Bible they read or listen to and no matter how many songs they hear, for some reason, their need for a Savior doesn’t seem to hit them. They believe it but they don’t believe it. It’s a sort of double think that is very difficult to understand, yet so many do.

I certainly understand what this is like because it used to be me. So ho does one convert a Bible Belt Christian. What is the answer to this perplexing puzzle?

As always, the Word of God has the answer to all that we need for life and godliness. (2 Timothy 3:16) This issue is not exception. The answer lies in 1 Corinthians 3 and Matthew 5.

The Answer to the Perplexing Bible Belt Problem

In order to understand the the solution, we have to understand the root of the problem. The root of the problem has to do with the fact that, in a biblically literate place like the Bible Belt, a new worldview called “cultural Christianity” has the potential to emerge. This new worldview makes it possible to believe the Bible but still live in sin. It’s beyond the scope of this article to go into an in depth argument as to why that’s not biblical. However, I will say that works reflect the fact that we’re saved. If we’re not growing in Christ, that should be a red flag that you’re not saved. This is indicated in James 2, Romans 6, and Galatians 5.

My pain point here is that this worldview comes about from a desire to keep living in sin and not fully understand how precious Christ is. On top of this, as the years go by, people who have this worldview eventually have children, and these children, while raised to believe that the Bible is true, look around and notice that those who claim to be Christians don’t live like Christians. Therefore, they conclude, full change must not be necessary to being a Christian.

Now, they would never vocalize it in that way. They usually fear God enough to speak reverently, albeit dispassionately, about God and His Word. However, it’s essentially the worldview that they have.

Of course, born-again Christians know that this is a false worldview. It’s a Satanic religion that says God is real and important but He doesn’t demand repentance. The last premise is never vocalized, but generally believed.

So how do we as Christians engage this? In short, the answer is to live as faithfully to Christ as you can.

Now before you get angry and say, “Wow, Lane. Thanks for that profound insight! I feel so enlightened!”, let me explain what I mean.

In 1 Corinthians 3:6, the apostle Paul writes, speaking of God’s servants ministering to the city of Corinth, “I planted, Apollo’s watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants or he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.”

The Bible likes to use agricultural language when talking about evangelism. Paul says that he was the one who planted in the city of Corinth, meaning he shared the gospel. Now when it comes to evangelizing Bible Belt “Christians”, the planting part is already done. They know the Bible. They know the gospel. They actually believe it intellectually. We should never stop doing this no matter where we are by the way. When it comes to Bible Belt “Christians”, we need to proceed to the task that Apollos accomplished: we need to water. How do we do this?

This is where Matthew 5 comes in. Matthew 5:6, Jesus says, “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

Notice the connection between people seeing our good works and then giving glory to God. When I was younger, I didn’t go to a church that had a moderate passion for God. My parents and other adults in my church had a passion for Christ. They poured into me and my friends at church. It wasn’t necessarily that they were constantly teaching us the Bible, although they did teach the Bible to us. These adults cultivated relationships with us, and, we also witnessed them being faithful to Christ. This is how we win Bible Belt “Christians” to Christ. They need to see what being a Christian is. They need to be seeing similarities between the church body they’re a part of and the ones in the book of Acts.

Solid, faithful, biblical preaching + faithful Christian living = change in the worldview of Bible Belt “Christians”

The last task mentioned in 1 Corinthians 3:6 is God giving growth. All we can do is plant and water. Only God can give growth, as is indicated in verse seven. Tragically, we won’t see every soul saved. However, if we proclaim the Word of God and the gospel specifically (regardless of whether we’re church leaders or not. This task is not relegated to them.) we will see souls saved. It’s a hard mission, but it’s the one that Christ has called us to. (Matthew 28:19-20)

Toxic Apologetics

By Lane Noble

There are very few strangers to the battlefield that is the internet nowadays. Even my grandfather, who doesn’t even own a computer (and hasn’t for years), is well aware of the of the swarm of angry mobs that populate Facebook, Twitter, and even Tik Tok. Different opinions are shot back and forth, and if you don’t agree with someone, or in some cases even if you agree with them for the most part but differ slightly, you risk ostracization. You are deemed unworthy of respect. The evidence and the logic is so clear. How could you disagree? No respectable person would disagree on this topic!

This isn’t a new problem. The problem has just taken on a new form. The uproars that we now see on social media used to take the form of mobs holding torches and pitchforks. Echo chambers were more physical than digital in nature. However, the nature of the debates we see online tend to scare people. We’ve all had thoughts that sounded something like this, “Is there somebody out there that actually believes that?” or “Is this sort of logic growing in our culture? I hope it doesnt become prominent.”

These sorts of thoughts come from listening to people talk on all sorts of topics: capitalism, socialism, communism, abortion, euthanasia, racism, religion, and the list goes on and on. It is not uncommon to write those people off as insane, or, more commonly, evil.

We are developing an even greater awareness of this behavior in our society today. There are many camps, and most camps seem to have some sort of thought police, and, I am saddened to say, Christians have found themselves in the middle of it.

While Christians have done damage in many areas in the midst of this culture war, I’m more concerned here with the area of Christian apologetics.

Apologetics can be defined as “the logical defense of the Christian faith.” One of the primary passages of Scripture that this is based on is 1 Peter 3:15 which says: “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (ESV).

There is a growing interest in Christian apologetics these days. Especially amongst college-aged students who have been positively impacted by notable Christian apologists such as Ravi Zacharias, Frank Turek, William Lane Craig, and, in my case especially, Ken Ham.

There’s a growing number of YouTube channels that have dedicated themselves to apologetics. These channels often answer commonly asked questions about Christianity, they’ll have conversations with atheists/agnostics, and, unfortunately for some, they will mock certain skeptics. The latter isn’t the case for all of them, and there are many good Christian apologetics channels out there. There’s also many good blogs (like this one I hope!) and websites dedicated to the subject of apologetics.

The internet is a phenomenal tool for sharing the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Seriously. The task of evangelism can be made ten times more effective with all of the digital tools and resources that we have at our disposal today. Not that the internet should ever take the place of physical, face-to-face relationships, as we should always try to pursue in the task of evangelism. However, our ability to get the gospel to more people, and to be equipped to do so, has been enhanced tremendously by the internet.

It’s even easier to equip oneself to for the task of apologetics with the internet. You can take free apologetics classes from wonderful resources. You can read apologetics articles written by great apologists. You can order books or access them digitally on Google books or through your local library. It has never been easier to equip oneself for the task.

With the internet now being an integral part of society, hope should be spreading more quickly around the world than a contagious disease. Instead, and in large part because of the contribution of Christians, confusion, fear, and depression have spread that quickly around the world.

Please hear me when I say that Christians are not the only ones responsible for this. We aren’t. There are so many different reasons why this is the case. However, there are many factors outside of our control. What is within our control, however, is what we do. We can change our own behavior, and that will go a long way with making the internet a much more tolerable place to be. Yet, this is not the case on the internet. Over the past few years I have noticed an increase in Christian and apologetics resources where, in terms of beliefs, I often wholeheartedly agree. However, I often avoid these resources just because of how toxic they can be, for lack of a better word.

There are some Christian apologetics YouTubers that, when the pop up in my YouTube recommendations, I want to roll my eyes and and throw up in my mouth a little. Why? It’s because these YouTube channels or these websites/resources are chalk full of anger, pride, arrogance, and mockery. When your “ministry” is radiating those attitudes, believe me when I say that you might look smart to a lot of people, but you will win very few souls to Jesus Christ.

While there are many tips that I can give here, I want to offer just three to help correct for this issue that I’m seeing on the internet these days. I hope that these tips are put to use and therefore make reaching the nations for Christ more effective.

  1. Avoid Intellectual Showmanship

Intellectual stimulation is not a bad thing. It is actually a very good thing. God wants us to love Him with all of our minds. He gave us rational faculties and He wants us to put them to use, as is indicated by the dominion mandate given to us in Genesis 3.

When I speak of intellectual showmanship, however, I mainly mean trying to come off as intelligent instead of actually seeking to be intelligent. This may sound obvious, but the sin is actually more subtle than most realize. I definitely struggle with it. Intellectual humility is a virtue that we all need to cultivate.

Here are a few examples of intellectual showmanship.

“That argument shouldn’t even survive a high school education.” -I hear this a lot and I’ve even made similar statements. It can be especially tempting to resort to this in apologetics because many skeptics habitually speak this way.

“You need to wake up and realize that (insert position here) is not plausible at all. It’s for crazy lefties or crazy right-wingers.” I hear this a lot in response to various positions, including, but not limited to, critical race theory, the age of the earth, young-earth creationism, arminianism and/or Calvinism, and other topics.

Other examples of intellectual showmanship include not speaking to certain topics out of fear that you’ll be scoffed at or not taken seriously by the world, not associating with certain Christian apologists, preachers, speakers, or writers out of being scoffed at or not taken seriously, or even looking down on other Christians, seeing them as less informed than you are or having less to offer in terms of substance. While many may think they aren’t guilty of these, I can guarantee that if more would examine their own hearts against Scripture, they would find more of this sin than they realized.

2. Be Careful How You Communicate to Different People

Most overseas missionaries and evangelists would tell you that how you present the gospel depends on who you’re preaching it to. If you’re preaching it in India, it’s going to look very different than if you’re preaching it in Mexico. Or if you’re preaching it in a Muslim-dominant country, preaching the gospel is going to look very different than if you’re preaching it in Ireland.

We can see this explicitly in the book of Acts. In Acts 2:14-41, Peter is preaching to a primarily Jewish audience. He mainly appeals to what would not only makes sense to them but what would convince them. He appeals primarily to the Old Testament to make the case that Jesus is the Messiah, and that He died and rose again for the atonement of our sins and to bring us back to Himself.

We see Paul later in Acts 17:16-34, however, using quite different language with the Athenians, who would have had a quite different way of thinking than the Jewish people. They cared nothing for the Bible. Paul had to meet them on their own grounds. He had to reason with them in a way that would makes sense to them.

We see this also in the gospel accounts where Matthew primarily addresses a Jewish audience, and thus tells the story of Jesus in a bit of a different style from John, who was probably addressing a Greek audience. This is the task of apologetics. We reason with people in a way that they would understand. This doesn’t make them stupid or unintelligent. We simply recognize that different people think in different ways and will thus need to have the gospel presented to them in a way that will help them to understand it.

When I read or watch many apologetics resources, or even listen to some speakers, I often see them trying to reason with a non-Christian in a way that is completely foreign to them. We need to keep this in mind especially now, when reason is being increasingly depreciated in our secular culture and emotions are increasingly becoming the arbiter of truth. We are seeing the old “reason above all things” form of secularism fade away, and the “I’m just living my truth” form of secularism is coming in. We as Christians need to be prepared to engage both forms, as both camps are full of human beings made in God’s image Who need to be redeemed by the blood of the Savior.

3. Avoid Division

We do more damage than good when we publicly mock or shame those in the family of God who don’t need to be publicly mocked or shamed. Increasingly in the western church we are seeing our brothers and sisters who have been redeemed by the blood of Christ get maligned by those who disagree with them on matters that shouldn’t divide us as much as they have.

An example of this concerns the age of the Earth. It’s a very important issue. More important than I think many realize. However, I see many in the church mocking those who believe the Earth is around six-thousand years old based on Scripture, or that God created the world in six literal twenty-four hour days. People in this camp are often maligned by those who aren’t as stupid or uneducated, not giving them the proper love and respect that those in the family of Christ are entitled to from us.

Another example is politics. Those who are apologists by profession often avoid politics for the most part so as not to distract from their main message. Tim Keller and William Lane Craig do this. However, there are some topics that apologists do and must talk about that touch the political realm.

Other apologetics evangelists and/or resources do talk about politics. Which is good. The problem becomes when we improperly malign our sisters and brothers in Christ for having a different perspective than us.

While there is a place for division over important issues, a majority of the topics that are fought over, such as whether or not evangelicals should vote for Biden or Trump, is not one of them. We may disagree on these kinds of issues, but we do not malign our brothers and sisters. Christians on both sides believe the fact that God created people of all skin colors equally, that all life is sacred, and that God made men and women equally. While there are rare exception, a majority of born-again Christians believe this. There is very little reason for political diviseness in the church. When there is, it’s usually explicit, such as whether or not someone can actively participate in a gay relationship and also be an active member of the church. The biblical action to take is to call that person to repentance and, if they don’t repent, they are to no longer be members of the church, as is the case with all sexual immorality.

We need to more slowly and more thoroughly think through whether or not divisions should take place. When they do, we carry such divisions out in a biblical way. Not in a way that intentionally causes conflict, but “so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” (Romans 12:18)

Conclusion

I hope that this was useful in helping you to see that the task of apologetics is a serious one, and we are to take it seriously. It’s a task that every Christian is to carry out faithfully, and, as 1 Peter 3:15 says, with gentleness and respect.

People’s souls are on the line here. Let’s make sure we’re doing this correctly.

Toxic Apologetics

By Lane Noble

There are very few strangers to the battlefield that is the internet nowadays. Even my grandfather, who doesn’t even own a computer (and hasn’t for years), is well aware of the of the swarm of angry mobs that populate Facebook, Twitter, and even Tik Tok. Different opinions are shot back and forth, and if you don’t agree with someone, or in some cases even if you agree with them for the most part but differ slightly, you risk ostracization. You are deemed unworthy of respect. The evidence and the logic is so clear. How could you disagree? No respectable person would disagree on this topic!

This isn’t a new problem. The problem has just taken on a new form. The uproars that we now see on social media used to take the form of mobs holding torches and pitchforks. Echo chambers were more physical than digital in nature. However, the nature of the debates we see online tend to scare people. We’ve all had thoughts that sounded something like this, “Is there somebody out there that actually believes that?” or “Is this sort of logic growing in our culture? I hope it doesnt become prominent.”

These sorts of thoughts come from listening to people talk on all sorts of topics: capitalism, socialism, communism, abortion, euthanasia, racism, religion, and the list goes on and on. It is not uncommon to write those people off as insane, or, more commonly, evil.

We are developing an even greater awareness of this behavior in our society today. There are many camps, and most camps seem to have some sort of thought police, and, I am saddened to say, Christians have found themselves in the middle of it.

While Christians have done damage in many areas in the midst of this culture war, I’m more concerned here with the area of Christian apologetics.

Apologetics can be defined as “the logical defense of the Christian faith.” One of the primary passages of Scripture that this is based on is 1 Peter 3:15 which says: “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (ESV).

There is a growing interest in Christian apologetics these days. Especially amongst college-aged students who have been positively impacted by notable Christian apologists such as Ravi Zacharias, Frank Turek, William Lane Craig, and, in my case especially, Ken Ham.

There’s a growing number of YouTube channels that have dedicated themselves to apologetics. These channels often answer commonly asked questions about Christianity, they’ll have conversations with atheists/agnostics, and, unfortunately for some, they will mock certain skeptics. The latter isn’t the case for all of them, and there are many good Christian apologetics channels out there. There’s also many good blogs (like this one I hope!) and websites dedicated to the subject of apologetics.

The internet is a phenomenal tool for sharing the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Seriously. The task of evangelism can be made ten times more effective with all of the digital tools and resources that we have at our disposal today. Not that the internet should ever take the place of physical, face-to-face relationships, as we should always try to pursue in the task of evangelism. However, our ability to get the gospel to more people, and to be equipped to do so, has been enhanced tremendously by the internet.

It’s even easier to equip oneself to for the task of apologetics with the internet. You can take free apologetics classes from wonderful resources. You can read apologetics articles written by great apologists. You can order books or access them digitally on Google books or through your local library. It has never been easier to equip oneself for the task.

With the internet now being an integral part of society, hope should be spreading more quickly around the world than a contagious disease. Instead, and in large part because of the contribution of Christians, confusion, fear, and depression have spread that quickly around the world.

Please hear me when I say that Christians are not the only ones responsible for this. We aren’t. There are so many different reasons why this is the case. However, there are many factors outside of our control. What is within our control, however, is what we do. We can change our own behavior, and that will go a long way with making the internet a much more tolerable place to be. Yet, this is not the case on the internet. Over the past few years I have noticed an increase in Christian and apologetics resources where, in terms of beliefs, I often wholeheartedly agree. However, I often avoid these resources just because of how toxic they can be, for lack of a better word.

There are some Christian apologetics YouTubers that, when the pop up in my YouTube recommendations, I want to roll my eyes and and throw up in my mouth a little. Why? It’s because these YouTube channels or these websites/resources are chalk full of anger, pride, arrogance, and mockery. When your “ministry” is radiating those attitudes, believe me when I say that you might look smart to a lot of people, but you will win very few souls to Jesus Christ.

While there are many tips that I can give here, I want to offer just three to help correct for this issue that I’m seeing on the internet these days. I hope that these tips are put to use and therefore make reaching the nations for Christ more effective.

  1. Avoid Intellectual Showmanship

Intellectual stimulation is not a bad thing. It is actually a very good thing. God wants us to love Him with all of our minds. He gave us rational faculties and He wants us to put them to use, as is indicated by the dominion mandate given to us in Genesis 3.

When I speak of intellectual showmanship, however, I mainly mean trying to come off as intelligent instead of actually seeking to be intelligent. This may sound obvious, but the sin is actually more subtle than most realize. I definitely struggle with it. Intellectual humility is a virtue that we all need to cultivate.

Here are a few examples of intellectual showmanship.

“That argument shouldn’t even survive a high school education.” -I hear this a lot and I’ve even made similar statements. It can be especially tempting to resort to this in apologetics because many skeptics habitually speak this way.

“You need to wake up and realize that (insert position here) is not plausible at all. It’s for crazy lefties or crazy right-wingers.” I hear this a lot in response to various positions, including, but not limited to, critical race theory, the age of the earth, young-earth creationism, arminianism and/or Calvinism, and other topics.

Other examples of intellectual showmanship include not speaking to certain topics out of fear that you’ll be scoffed at or not taken seriously by the world, not associating with certain Christian apologists, preachers, speakers, or writers out of being scoffed at or not taken seriously, or even looking down on other Christians, seeing them as less informed than you are or having less to offer in terms of substance. While many may think they aren’t guilty of these, I can guarantee that if more would examine their own hearts against Scripture, they would find more of this sin than they realized.

2. Be Careful How You Communicate to Different People

Most overseas missionaries and evangelists would tell you that how you present the gospel depends on who you’re preaching it to. If you’re preaching it in India, it’s going to look very different than if you’re preaching it in Mexico. Or if you’re preaching it in a Muslim-dominant country, preaching the gospel is going to look very different than if you’re preaching it in Ireland.

We can see this explicitly in the book of Acts. In Acts 2:14-41, Peter is preaching to a primarily Jewish audience. He mainly appeals to what would not only makes sense to them but what would convince them. He appeals primarily to the Old Testament to make the case that Jesus is the Messiah, and that He died and rose again for the atonement of our sins and to bring us back to Himself.

We see Paul later in Acts 17:16-34, however, using quite different language with the Athenians, who would have had a quite different way of thinking than the Jewish people. They cared nothing for the Bible. Paul had to meet them on their own grounds. He had to reason with them in a way that would makes sense to them.

We see this also in the gospel accounts where Matthew primarily addresses a Jewish audience, and thus tells the story of Jesus in a bit of a different style from John, who was probably addressing a Greek audience. This is the task of apologetics. We reason with people in a way that they would understand. This doesn’t make them stupid or unintelligent. We simply recognize that different people think in different ways and will thus need to have the gospel presented to them in a way that will help them to understand it.

When I read or watch many apologetics resources, or even listen to some speakers, I often see them trying to reason with a non-Christian in a way that is completely foreign to them. We need to keep this in mind especially now, when reason is being increasingly depreciated in our secular culture and emotions are increasingly becoming the arbiter of truth. We are seeing the old “reason above all things” form of secularism fade away, and the “I’m just living my truth” form of secularism is coming in. We as Christians need to be prepared to engage both forms, as both camps are full of human beings made in God’s image Who need to be redeemed by the blood of the Savior.

3. Avoid Division

We do more damage than good when we publicly mock or shame those in the family of God who don’t need to be publicly mocked or shamed. Increasingly in the western church we are seeing our brothers and sisters who have been redeemed by the blood of Christ get maligned by those who disagree with them on matters that shouldn’t divide us as much as they have.

An example of this concerns the age of the Earth. It’s a very important issue. More important than I think many realize. However, I see many in the church mocking those who believe the Earth is around six-thousand years old based on Scripture, or that God created the world in six literal twenty-four hour days. People in this camp are often maligned by those who aren’t as stupid or uneducated, not giving them the proper love and respect that those in the family of Christ are entitled to from us.

Another example is politics. Those who are apologists by profession often avoid politics for the most part so as not to distract from their main message. Tim Keller and William Lane Craig do this. However, there are some topics that apologists do and must talk about that touch the political realm.

Other apologetics evangelists and/or resources do talk about politics. Which is good. The problem becomes when we improperly malign our sisters and brothers in Christ for having a different perspective than us.

While there is a place for division over important issues, a majority of the topics that are fought over, such as whether or not evangelicals should vote for Biden or Trump, is not one of them. We may disagree on these kinds of issues, but we do not malign our brothers and sisters. Christians on both sides believe the fact that God created people of all skin colors equally, that all life is sacred, and that God made men and women equally. While there are rare exception, a majority of born-again Christians believe this. There is very little reason for political diviseness in the church. When there is, it’s usually explicit, such as whether or not someone can actively participate in a gay relationship and also be an active member of the church. The biblical action to take is to call that person to repentance and, if they don’t repent, they are to no longer be members of the church, as is the case with all sexual immorality.

We need to more slowly and more thoroughly think through whether or not divisions should take place. When they do, we carry such divisions out in a biblical way. Not in a way that intentionally causes conflict, but “so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” (Romans 12:18)

Conclusion

I hope that this was useful in helping you to see that the task of apologetics is a serious one, and we are to take it seriously. It’s a task that every Christian is to carry out faithfully, and, as 1 Peter 3:15 says, with gentleness and respect.

People’s souls are on the line here. Let’s make sure we’re doing this correctly.