I trust that Os Guinness’ book Fool’s Talk, informed, stirred, and challenged your thought and practice as a Christian disciple. It focused on the dynamics of effective communication toward those who are indifferent or even hostile to the Christian faith.
Alistair McGraths’ Mere Apologetics is an introductory resource focused on helping seekers and skeptics find faith. As with the Guinness’ book, I’ll provide weekly summaries aimed at gripping you such that you’ll read his book, and not just ingest my summaries. My desire for all who read this material is that Christ would be seen as objectively superior to all other competing treasures, and that subjectively an intimacy with the living God would be truly experienced.
CHAPTER 1: GETTING STARTED (Pgs. 11-25)
According to McGrath, our mandate has been given by Christ in the Great Commission both with content for teaching and power for execution. Christ’s word is what we teach and God’s presence is what Jesus promised. That’s why when we are about doing the Masters business never are we to think we’re alone.
We are to understand apologetics as the reasoned defense of the Faith which must be practiced with gentleness and respect toward outsiders—even those who are our persecutors (Pg.16 see section). Apologetics defends, commends, and translates the Faith to seekers and believers. When defending we must answer honest questions and be person relative. When commending we must show the wonder and splendor of the kingdom. And when translating, we must do so exegetically, hermeneutically and humanly explain terms so that a child can understand our meaning.
Christians wanting to grow in their faith need to and must find answers to their questions. They must mine the riches of the faith and get proficient at explaining it creatively without losing the substance of the gospel. How desperate we are for church goers to be gospel proclaimers, not just attendees to hear a message.
The distinction between Apologetics and Evangelism is important and not so easy to distinguish. The former explains the Faith and removes barriers to hearing its proclamation, whereas the latter proclaims the gospel and calls sinners to repentance. Sometimes these two are neglected—apologetics (pg.22) and evangelism (pg.22). Either one is not considered as important or it is held that unless one is gifted in said areas, it will not be done
Nevertheless, apologetics and evangelism are necessary conditions for real conversions to obtain, but not a sufficient condition until the Holy Spirits’ activity manifests in the souls of dead people to bring them to life.