We’ve spent several weeks taking a closer look at chapters from Josh McDowell‘s “The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict.” Let us now switch gears to another apologetic book titled, “Embodying Our Faith.”
Embodying our faith. It doesn’t seem so much like an apologetic statement does it? But Tim Morey, in his book of the same name, claims that it is.
Morey states that in our 21st Century culture, we have outgrown the modernist view and have evolved into a post-modern philosophy, whether we are fully conscious of it or not. With post-modernism comes greater skepticism toward Christianity (and other conservative institutions).
It was almost inherently believed in the 20th Century that Christianity was a relatively good and moral institution, but not anymore. Today, the skeptic can hear and maybe even believe convincing apologetic arguments, but Christian biases keep them at bay. Quoting a 2007 Barna Group study, Morey explains that 91 percent of sixteen- to twenty-nine-year-olds found Christians to be negative toward homosexuals; 87 percent found Christians to be judgmental; and 85 percent found Christians to be hypocritical. With attitudes toward Christianity like this, intellectual arguments only go so far.
But that’s not all. Younger Baby Boomers and generations X and Y also believe truth is either relative or it cannot be known. This is called deconstructionism. However, Morey asserts that deconstructionism may be dying. But closely related to deconstructionism is moral relativism. With moral relativism, emerging generations don’t care what Christianity says about sin. Relative morality says that individuals can make up their own ideas about sin. This leads to the next intellectual challenge, ‘religious pluralism.’ Religious pluralism is essentially a politically correct view of religion—all are equal, and no one religion is better or truer than another.
For the post-modernist, then, there is little incentive to pursue Christianity. So how are we to evangelize to our generation? This is where embodying our faith comes in. Morey states:
“By [embodying our faith] I mean an apologetic that is based more on the weight of our actions than the strength of our arguments. This is an apologetic that is high-touch, engages people relationally, ordinarily takes place in the context of an ongoing friendship, and addresses the needs inquirers have and the questions they pose. It provides the weight to our answers that reason by itself cannot.”
An embodiment of apologetics therefore will focus on investing in relationships and showing the unchurched the transcendence of Christ and the community and purpose that we have only in Christ. To accomplish this, the church, and ourselves, need to restructure our thoughts and practices of evangelism and discipleship. More on how to do this in the coming weeks.