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Careers in Apologetics: Not in the Church!

Note:  this post was originally intended for a small, almost exclusively Christian readership that consisted largely of folks who shared my perspective.  I have opened the post up to the World Wide Web but please read it in light of its original context.

In private correspondence this week I’ve talked with a couple of people who are pursuing their Masters in Apologetics. In case the reader doesn’t know, I am doing the same. I don’t get emails like that very often, but if the programs that Christian colleges are offering is any indication, there is a demand- at least from the perspective of students- for apologetics degrees.

I wonder if any one has checked the ‘want ads’ for apologetics openings. I have. There aren’t any. There aren’t any because there aren’t apologetics positions. So the scoop is that there are many determined men and women willing to commit to the time of study required to handle the deepest objections to the Christian faith but there isn’t any place for them in the Church. Not if they want to support their families of course, or make use of the Scriptural principle “The worker is worth his wages” or “Don’t muzzle the ox…”

If a person wants to support themselves in apologetics, the options are limited. 1. Become a professor. 2. Get lucky. 3. Self-Support, like a missionary. I fear for the people entering apologetics. I certainly think the education establishment could use a fair number of informed and godly men and women, don’t get me wrong, but those positions are few and far between and let’s face it, they aren’t specifically apologetics. Even CS Lewis was a professor of literature with his apologetics on the side.

But where we really need apologists are in the churches. On the front lines. Answering questions. Evaluating curriculum. Supplementing Evangelism programs. Making resources available. Certainly there are people already doing this, and that includes youth directors and pastors and DCE’s. Just as certain, pastors already have quite enough on their plate and if the lifespan of the average youth director is any guide (just barely two years in a given position, last I heard) the strain on the youth directors is enough as it is, too. You don’t have to tell me that the financial strain of adding yet another staff position would be immense. That is a problem on its own.

Here is how this all adds up in my mind: The Church at large badly misunderstands the situation that it is. The Church at large tolerates far too many Scrooges in their midst with business minded people controlling the funds. The Church at large has too many, shall we say, less than generous individuals in its midst- and this is tolerated (we wouldn’t want to offend them or inflict too much Law on ’em). The fact is that Christianity is not the favored religion in the United States any more. Mormon missionaries know more about what they believe than any 100 young Christians. Our young Christians get hammered their first year in college and fewer and fewer come back no matter how ‘fun’ we made their experience.

But now is not a time for fun. Now is a time to get serious about the challenges facing the Church. I wouldn’t want to be the pastor who has to try to waken his sleepy congregation but it has to be done. Standing from where I’m standing, we absolutely need dedicated apologists in every congregation. We need to fund apologists and others in the ‘culture wars,’ too, including artists and authors.

You might say that that isn’t the Church’s job. I disagree, but more to the point, I don’t think the Church’s job is to fiddle while the ship sinks, either. The ship is sinking.

There is another online apologetics outfit which I visit sometimes that has two essays that I think further flesh out this issue.  I resonate with most of what I find in them.  I submit them to you:

http://www.tektonics.org/gk/indictment.html

That is an indictment of the church in regards to its lack of bucking up for the current challenge.

http://www.tektonics.org/qt/sowant.html

That is an article he wrote about people who want to become apologists.

I submit this man’s experiences and advice to free myself of the charge that I am inventing a viewpoint to fit my interests.  I am highlighting a real need and if you are in a position where you could plausibly do something about it, I am urging you to do so.

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13 Responses to Careers in Apologetics: Not in the Church!

  1. […] A few years ago I published a post contending that the Church needs to create apologetics positions within congregations, but kept the post private and pass word protected.  It was originally intended to be read by a narrow audience, so keep that in mind as you read it.  You can read it here. […]

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Apologetics 315. Apologetics 315 said: Careers in Apologetics: Not in the Church http://bit.ly/cb806B […]

  3. One are that is ripe for Apologists who have degrees in apologetics: Christian private schools. It pays, it is consistent, and you get to train a group of students intensively (not just present the material, but have the students master the material through assigned readings, quizzes, tests, essays, etc.) for nine months. When’s the last time you tried that in a church service of sunday school class. It would bomb. I have had the privilege of training a 100 students a year for the past 13 years in apologetics. If 500 people who are getting degrees in apologetics (I am sure there is that many with SES, Biola, the Baptist seminaries, etc.) would commit to this we could train 1.5 million students in apologetics for the next generation (30 years, 100 students a year, 3000 students times 500 apologetists = 1.5 million). When need to think long term.

  4. Man, I feel what you’re saying. I’m currently online at Liberty, right now biology’s crushing me. I finished last term in Psych.210 and Theology 104 with a 4.0 GPA. Right now, I’m in Bio. 101 and Apologetics 104. I was addicted to marijuana and cigs for 25 years, cocaine(crack) for 7 years, and script narcotics then methadone for the final 6 years until May 16, 2010, having been broken and humbled after a cervical fusion on C3-4. As my mother prayed for me, I had a midday, eyes-open, movie-I-couldn’t-look-away-from vision with physical pain in my heart, and experienced a taste of the horrors of hell as I found myself in the hands of the living God. I know I am going to minor in substance abuse counseling, and know and have had confirmed that I will preach and reach many with an impact on the world. This ‘mixed calling’ mystery has had me perplexed for a while now, but I remember being astonished at Kent Hovind in my spiritual infancy, and felt I was destined for some type of intellectual outreach too. Apologetics really feels pretty strong now. I admit I was thinking about expecting this field to bring ‘personal gain’ as I read your post might be off, but I would be doing the same thing in drug counseling. We just need to trust Him to lead us to the right places I guess. Our perceived future failure of being ‘worth our keep’ is somewhat negative and we have not experienced that as of yet, so I will just encourage you to be positive, bro. Love in Him, later.

  5. I feel the frustration. I am not working for an apologetics degree but am mostly self taught except for some certificates. Whenever I try to talk to pastors in my church about the subject I get pointed in another direction or ignored. I have decided to start a web based apologetics ministry by starting a reasonable faith chapter and I just give my own time. I am trying to keep in interdenominational so anyone who is as interested as I am can participate. Its a frustrating but rewarding journey.

  6. I am looking for Universities for Masters in MA(Apologetic s) in Canada.
    Can anybody suggest some good options?
    Not getting expected info from the church.

  7. I’ve recently discovered Apologetics and am very interested in looking deeper into pursuing it. Thanks for the post, it’s only inspired me more.

  8. Thanks for this article, Anthony. You are certainly not the only one who believes in this idea. I’m neither an apologist nor a church leader, but I’ve come across bloggers from both groups envisioning a role for apologists in congregations. Maybe the best we can do is spread awareness by keeping the conversation going.

  9. Thanks for the comment, Marie!

  10. BRAVO!!!!! I wholeheartedly agree with your thesis! Please, bring apologists into churches–and everywhere else we can place them.
    I could go on and on about the root cause of of this problem–from the anti-intellectualism within modern American Christianity to the “dumbing down” of culture in general.
    Bottom line is this: “The Church at large badly misunderstands the situation..” YES it does! I’m a 40 year old married mother of 4 & attorney–I don’t want to go to adult Sunday School and play ice breaker games. I don’t want to listen to a women’s bible study group equate the accidental burning of a dinner with the warning of Jesus about how followers will have “troubles in this life.” I don’t want to listen to another mealy mouthed wishy washy Oprah sermon on self-improvement. If the Church continues down the road of superficiality, it will lose more than just the college-aged followers.
    I want to hear the gospel–the whole gospel. I want to understand Paul’s argument to Festus and King Agrippa in which Paul utilized apologetics to make the case for Christ. I want to use my soul, heart & brain in my daily Christian walk. Apologetics is imperative for true Christian growth and vital for even the most basic understanding of the Christian faith.
    Please keep talking about this issue. That’s the only way the churches will begin to take it seriously.

  11. I’ve had MA in apologetics for 7 years now and have only really got to use me degree in conversations with friend, family, coworkers, and a little bit on Facebook. I’ve recently been preaching in a young adults group at my local church. The young adult pastor feels there is a huge need for apologetics in the church but no funding. I’ve tried to get a teaching position at a seminary, but I didn’t have enough experience. Which begs the question, “How do you get experience if there are no jobs and barely an outlet for ministry?” I’ve been feeling God putting a strong burden in my heart to share the knowledge I’ve learned in my degree but I feel stuck as to how to do that, and how to get the time to study, since I have to work full time. I’ve started working on making a website and would like to start a foundation where if a church starts an apologetic study group I would provide free study material whether it was book or papers on various subjects, but I would need funding to get the books. I’ve tried started a caffine fast for at least 10 days in hope of having a brake though in this area and in other areas in my life. I think apologists need to stand in the gap in prayer right now until God can get a hold of the church’s heart in this area. The body is ready to listen and receive, the apologist are ready to teach, we just need the open doors, and financial support to free us from our daily jobs to go into ministry full time. Let’s stand together in pray. God can make a way where there seems to be no way.
    To the author; thank you for writing about this.

  12. Thanks for the comment, Lindsay.

    I hope that you will find a way to stay connected with this ministry. There may even be ways to get involved.

    Yours,
    Anthony

  13. Thanks for the article. I serve as pastor and am currently half way through my M.A.A. I felt a strong conviction to educate myself in the field of Apologetics. I agree that it is an area of ministry that is needed now more than ever. I would encourage those who are pursuing their degrees within this field to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. It is my belief churches will soon be actively seeking out Apologists who are well trained to help equip the Body of Christ; the seriousness of the season demands serious study.

    God bless…

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