Last night I had a few college students over to my house for an honest discussion on other religions. We are doing a short three-week series on what is essentially apologetics, using Timothy Keller’s “Reason For God” video driven guide.
Overall it’s good stuff and it sparked really great conversation. If you haven’t looked at Keller’s book (Reason for God), I highly recommend it.
I had pitched the small group as an opportunity to ask hard questions and have real, honest conversations about difficult topics in the Christian faith. What I was struck by however, was that about half way in I realized something. All of these students were Christians. Not only that, generally speaking they are all pretty strong in their faith. I paused to ask myself the following question: was my goal to really have an honest conversation where they could ask any question or was my goal to arm them up like some kind of apologetics gun slingers and send them out into the world dispelling untruths.
I didn’t know, so I asked them. They definitely wanted the honest conversation rather than being armed up as gun slingers.
I remembered then what and who I was dealing with. Sure they want to be able to answer the questions as they come, but what they really want is to find reason for faith. I believe I’ve said this before so please excuse my redundancy, but if we don’t provide a context in the church for this to take place, we create an intellectual vacuum which causes them to go somewhere else. This not only serves to further separate the church from relevance it motivates them to seek other sources for dealing with truth about the world. Shame on us if we let this happen. Shame on me cause I know I’ve let it happen.
Ephesians 4:14 says that when we as a community become mature (Vs. 13), “Then we will no longer be infants, blown back and forth by every wind of teaching…” Thus a mature community of Christians is stable in their faith. However, this doesn’t mean that they don’t ask the hard questions. Rather it is this maturing stability which provides us the security to deal with these questions as they come up.