Monday, December 05, 2011

Give More To Apologetics

As you make donations over this Christmas season, are you including apologetics ministries in your giving? People will donate many millions of dollars to helping the poor, finding cures for diseases, and other such causes. Governments, universities, and other segments of society will also invest large amounts of money in such things. On an average day, you might hear a few advertisements for charities on the radio, see a few more on television, see a couple others in a magazine, and get an email about one from your employer. Part of the money you earn by going to work will go to government programs intended to do things like providing food and shelter for the poor, in this country and around the world. These efforts involve a tremendous number of organizations and individuals and a tremendous amount of time and money, among other resources. But you'll rarely be encouraged to give a single penny to any apologetic work.

One of the excuses sometimes cited to justify Christian neglect of apologetics is that God doesn't need apologetics in order to work in people's lives. He doesn't need to use something like a philosophical, historical, or scientific argument.

Let's apply that same reasoning to other areas of life. God doesn't need our prayers. Let's stop praying. Or just let a tiny minority of the church do it occasionally. God also doesn't need Bible translators and publishers, and He doesn't need to have you read the Bible. He can just implant the information directly into your heart. He also doesn't need parents. Or pastors. He's omnipotent. He can accomplish things without using us. Let's not just neglect apologetics. Let's neglect these other things, too, and see what happens.

I'm convinced that one of the most significant weaknesses of the modern church is a neglect of apologetics. And we're living in an information age, when apologetics is even more important than it was previously. What if God sometimes allows us to suffer the normal consequences of our intellectual carelessness? What if, instead of constantly supernaturally intervening in order to make up for our neglect, He sometimes lets us suffer the natural consequences of our bad choices?

Ideas have consequences, and persuading people to hold one belief rather than another can have major significance. It's something that can "greatly help" (Acts 18:27-28). If you give money to alleviate something like poverty or a disease, then why not give money to uproot ideas that produce those symptoms? We're often focused more on shallow solutions than ones that are deeper and more lasting. We give money in response to poverty, a tsunami, or the spread of a disease, but we give much less, if anything, in response to the false ideas that surround us. Instead of feeling guilty for giving money to an apologetics ministry rather than something like a ministry that helps the poor, we ought to feel guilty for giving such a low percentage of our donations to apologetic work. If you give all of your donations to non-apologetic causes and none to apologetics, the world will applaud you. But we should be judging things by a different standard.

As you give during this Christmas season and in other contexts, I hope you'll include apologetics ministries in your giving. There are a lot of individuals and ministries that many of us are familiar with that accept donations for apologetic work: Alpha & Omega Ministries, Stand To Reason, Michael Licona, J.P. Holding, etc. Also consider giving to organizations doing work closely related to apologetics, like Dan Wallace's Center For The Study Of New Testament Manuscripts. Some apologetic web sites, like Apologetics 315 and Tekton, will receive a portion of the money you pay if you order through that web site's link. When you order a book online, why not do it through one of those links? You can search those sites for reviews of the books you're interested in and follow their link to Or go to Apologetics 315's opening page and look for the link on the right side of the screen. It doesn't cost you any additional money to order from through these sites, and they benefit when you do it. If you have any other recommendations, concerning which apologetic ministries to support or how to support them, tell us about it in the comments section of this thread.