Beneath The Surface, An Editorial Comment: The Efficacy Of Apologetics -- By: Richard Lanser
Beneath The Surface, An Editorial Comment:
The Efficacy Of Apologetics
Of late I’ve been ruminating on the efficacy of the work we do at ABR as a tool for reaching the unsaved with the Gospel. The big question I’ve been mulling over is, “Does an emphasis on apologetics, specifically archaeology and creation science, actually help people get saved?”
If we peruse the Scriptures, we find that it presents us with a theological conundrum. A.W. Tozer pointed out the following in his essay, “Following Hard After God”:
Christian theology teaches the doctrine of prevenient grace, which briefly stated means this, that before a man can seek God, God must first have sought the man.
Before a sinful man can think a right thought of God, there must have been a work of enlightenment within him; imperfect it may be, but a true work nonetheless, and the secret cause of all desiring and seeking and praying which may follow.
We pursue God because, and only because, He has first put an urge within us that spurs us to the pursuit. “No man can come to me,” said our Lord, “except the Father which hath sent me draw him,” and it is by this very prevenient drawing that God takes from us every vestige of credit for the act of coming. The impulse to pursue God originates with God, but the outworking of that impulse is our following hard after Him; and all the time we are pursuing Him we are already in His hand: “Thy right hand upholdeth me” (The Best of A.W. Tozer; Christian Publications, 1978, p. 13).
The conundrum I see is that, whatever we do in getting the Gospel out and seeking to reduce resistance to its message, God must first do something behind the scenes to make our work effective. Our efforts are of no value unless God empowers them. The Apostle Paul alluded to this when he noted in 1Co 3:6 (NASB), “I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.” It was GOD who made all the human efforts efficacious, whatever form they took; as Jesus also observed, “apart from Me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5 NASB).
In affirming the above, I trust we all can gladly agree that God is always previous when it comes to our salvation; He must first initiate a work of grace in our hearts before we can respond in saving faith to the Gospel. Yet even as we acknowledge the primacy of the Spirit’s work, it is clear He has given us a role to play as well. Preaching the Word has always been commanded in the Great Commission. But what about apologetics? Apologetics is not the Gospel; can we be reasonably sure that God is pleased to make efforts directed towards apologetics worthwhile as well?
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