Toward a Missions’ Apologetic -- By: Marshall Wicks

Journal: Journal of Ministry and Theology
Volume: JMAT 04:1 (Spring 2000)
Article: Toward a Missions’ Apologetic
Author: Marshall Wicks

Toward a Missions’ Apologetic

Marshall Wicks

Professor Of Bible
Word Of Life Bible Institute, Pottersville, New York

It seems that Christianity is always at a crossroads. Writers see disaster or opportunity at every turn. The Church, if all these writings are correct, has staggered from one catastrophic episode to another. Yet God always sees to it that His people survive. This new millennium does give one opportunity to muse on the Church’s achievements. More importantly, it provides a great impetus to look ahead. Throughout the close of the twentieth century many ambitious plans were made to reach the world with the gospel. Incredible telecommunications advances, the internet, improving travel, and decreasing costs all contributed to an optimism that the world was indeed reachable.

The old millennium is over, and the lost are still waiting to be reached. There is no crisis to be touted, but missions is at a crossroads of sorts. As Christianity prepares for the new millennium, it might be helpful to review a few of the basics. Has Christ provided a sufficient message? Is that message sufficient to be understood? Is Christ sufficient to empower His messengers to complete the task? This article will show that Christ has provided a sufficient message for us. Subsequent articles will deal with interpretation (toward a missions’ hermeneutic) and communication (toward a missions’ homiletic.)

The Epistemological Dilemma

Invariably, any theological or philosophical discussion must begin somewhere. The appropriate starting place for the theologian is apologetics. It is apologetics that defines the roles and relationships between biblical truth and truth gathered from other sources. It is apologetics that establishes the presuppositions from which the theologian will operate. And it is apologetics that ascertains the means whereby God’s truth can penetrate the human heart and bring

about a decision for Christ. “Simply put, apologetics is the study and practice of defending the Christian faith against the array of challenges, critical attacks, and scrutinizing questions leveled contrary to it by the unbeliever.”1 Bernard Ramm concurs, “Christian apologetics is the strategy of setting forth the truthfulness of the Christian faith and its right to the claim of the knowledge of God.”2 Since both evangelism and missions deal directly with a Christian attack on the unbelieving mind, apologetics may and should function as a theology of evangelism and a theology of missions.


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