Years ago Dr. R. C. Sproul shared a story of a time he had a conversation with the Dr. Francis Schaeffer about the future of the church.
“About thirty years ago, I shared a taxi cab in St. Louis with Francis Schaeffer. I had known Dr. Schaeffer for many years, and he had been instrumental in helping us begin our ministry in Ligonier, Pennsylvania, in 1971. Since our time together in St. Louis was during the twilight of Schaeffer’s career, I posed this question to him: ‘Dr. Schaeffer, what is your biggest concern for the future of the church in America?’ Without hesitation, Dr. Schaeffer turned to me and spoke one word: ‘Statism.’,” Dr. Sproul stated according to Ligonier.
Indeed, he was right. Statism is forcing its way into society through socialism and critical studies. Sproul described Schaeffer’s concern with statism as “the citizens of the United States […] beginning to invest their country with supreme authority, such that the free nation of America would become one that would be dominated by a philosophy of the supremacy of the state.”
I won’t even post examples of this due to the fact that examples are everywhere (I’m looking at you Bernie Sanders!). The citizenry is all too willing to give the Federal Government complete power and control over their lives and the Government is all to willing to oblige.
So what does this have to do with apologetics? It seems that Schaeffer’s prognosis of American culture was correct. If we keep going down this path that we are headed then we will end up in a freedom-less, secularized society. Ironically, everything would be socialized and the only thing privatized would be faith—if even that.
Therefore, my personal assessment is that apologetics will have to get a lot more political. This doesn’t mean that Christian apologetics will have to dirty its hands delving into partisan issues—with some exceptions like abortion, marriage, and other social issues of this sort. On the other hand, this doesn’t mean that politics needs to be baptized, either. What it does mean is that Christians will have to stop avoiding the topic of politics and voice the Biblical position to today’s questions which are by nature political.
Andrew Breitbart has been quoted as saying, “culture is upstream from politics,” or perhaps it was, “politics is downstream of culture.” I’ve heard it both ways. Either way, the sentiment is the same: The culture shapes politics. But what shapes the culture? Ideologies.
Norman Geisler used to say, “ideas have consequences,” and they certainly do. Certainly we are still contending with the ideas of Hegel, Marx, and Foucault today.
So if we’re going to engage with the culture then we must show that only the Bible has the answers to today’s problems. We should also show that the American Experiment is the best society ever produced. And this isn’t to confuse patriotism with Christianity. What it does mean is that America was built upon Judeo-Christian principles and is at its best when it abides by those principles.
So I believe more apologists should take up writing more op-eds and articles and submit them to the media which is where society gets its news. Write and submit. Answer today’s pressing questions with Biblical truth and send it out. You just might be surprised how many people you reach and how God can use you for His purpose.