Thinking in Church Before the Academy

Church & the Academy

This article by detective J. Warner Wallace does a great job of highlighting a shortcoming in the church today. Wallace points out that there has been an increased interest in apologetics at a university level in the last few years, even while the number of students who leave the church after high school stays quite high. This is not to suggest that students are deciding to study apologetics in college and then, after their training, they leave the church. It more closely suggests that students only really learn why they believe what they believe after they go to college, whether they stay Christians or not.

As Christians, this should bother us. We are commanded to be able to give a defense for our beliefs, and many of the first followers of Jesus did so because of the evidence they saw in Jesus’ miracles. These things are supposed to be fundamental to our faith, and yet many Christians have not studied them at any depth or with any instruction until after they leave the home.

Furthermore, with kids getting smartphones at an earlier an earlier age, they can search for answers to their tough questions at a younger age than previous generations. For this reason, it is even more critical than before that we address these questions when people first start asking them, even if this age is twelve or thirteen. This is not to force them into the Christian worldview, but simply to show them that when they are ready to choose what worldview to make their own, the Christian worldview has a lot to say about the big questions. We do not have to be afraid to ask the big questions.

The university can never replace the church as an educational institution. Not only is it too late in the life path of most people to answer their questions when they first start asking them, it does not incorporate these truths into life in the same way the church does. The church is where Christians should go to walk with other Christians and learn to apply the truths of the Bible to every aspect of their lives. We can learn to live an intellectually-fulfilled life more holistically if we start learning disciplines in all areas of life alongside our fellow church members. Further training at a university is great as well, but if we want to love God with all our minds as members of the church, we must learn to incorporate training into the church routine.

Jim writes:

“The Academy shouldn’t replace the Church in this mission. It’s time for the Church to embrace its responsibility to train the family of God so we can all become good Christian Case Makers.”