The Modern Apologist
by John D. Morris, Ph.D. *
Christian apologetics--the systematic defense of the faith--has become popular in recent days. We are commanded to know what we believe and why we believe it, and to be able to defend it scripturally, historically, and scientifically against all detractors (1 Peter 3:15). Indeed, it is a welcome sight to see so many believers embracing this concept.
Several Christian universities are now awarding degrees in apologetics. Many ministries are giving seminars on the subject, and numerous Christian radio programs use the term apologetics to describe themselves, as do a few Christian television programs. There are apologetic ministries that specialize in prophecy, and others that specialize in cults. Some are geared for high schoolers, and some for college students. We can't help but appreciate those who strive to equip Christians to stand strong in the faith. Such endeavors are sorely needed.
Most Christians engaged in apologetics claim to believe in biblical inerrancy. At ICR we take this to mean that you believe all of Scripture, even the literal teachings of young earth creation. But what do we make of the fact that most national apologetic ministries accept some form of evolutionary or old-earth thinking? It has become commonplace for those involved to say, "I haven't made up my mind on the age of the earth," which is like saying "Three days of the week I'm a young earther, three days I'm an old earther, and one day I just don't know."
Often I'm an invited guest on "apologetic" radio programs. All too often, the host does not practice defending Scripture as it relates to creation, but instead points out what he perceives to be its weaknesses in relation to modern scientific theories. For myself, I am certain that science supports a young earth. Scripture is authoritative and clear on that. Why don't self-proclaimed Christian "leaders" rejoice in the evidence supporting scriptural truth, rather than naively accepting Big Bang cosmology, progressive creation, or theistic evolution?
Several years ago I debated old-earth and Big Bang advocate Hugh Ross on a nationwide Christian radio program. I brought up several scientific problems with the Big Bang, but focused on the scriptural evidences. The program ended with the host proclaiming, "Morris has the better scriptural case, but Ross has better science. I'll stick with Ross." How dare the Christian host call himself a biblical apologist? Is not Scripture enough? Must we rely on atheists like Carl Sagan to tell us how to interpret Scripture? Even if young earth science were not firmly grounded on the evidence--which it is--shouldn't Christians hold their questions in abeyance until more research is done, rather than abandon the clear teaching of God's Word?
Modern apologetic efforts are frequently a fence-sitting exercise, and all too often slide over to the other side when it comes to the Bible's scientific accuracy and relevance. But Scripture is clear on this point, and absolutely sufficient. When Christian "leaders" persist in waffling on important issues, perhaps Christ's message to the church of Laodicea is appropriate:
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. (Revelation 3:15-16)
* Dr. Morris is President of the Institute for Creation Research.
Cite this article: Morris, J. 2007. The Modern Apologist. Acts & Facts. 36 (12): 13.