Welcome to “The Apologetic Mind!” My name is Jonathan Ruth. I am a born-again Christian who has had an increasingly growing desire to learn how to be a competent apologist. That is why I started this site. I am a 30-something who believes (perhaps incorrectly, perhaps not) that the believers in the body of Christ composed of my generation and those younger than me have lost contact with rich, intellectual aspects of our faith. We have been raised in a world of post-modernism and political correctness, beset on all sides by these insipid ideologies. Like a fish swimming in a dirty stream, it is only natural that certain facets of this sociological environment we find ourselves in have muddied our own waters.
Need an example? A survey conducted in 2009 found that only 19% of born-again Christians who responded actually held a genuinely biblical worldview. In the survey, claiming a biblical worldview indicated that you held the following beliefs: that God is an all-knowing, all-powerful Creator, that absolute moral truth exists, that the Bible is accurate, that Satan is real, that we cannot earn salvation and finally, that Jesus Christ died for our sins and rose again (from Today’s Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah daily devotional dated August 9, 2009).
Need another example? In 2010, renowned atheist Christopher Hitchens was interviewed by Unitarian minister Marilyn Sewell. The transcript of that interview was published on the Portland Monthly Magazine’s website. In that interview, the following exchange occurs (you can find the complete transcript here):
Question from Marilyn Sewell: The religion you cite in your book [God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything] is generally the fundamentalist faith of various kinds. I’m a liberal Christian, and I don’t take the stories from the scripture literally. I don’t believe in the doctrine of atonement (that Jesus died for our sins, for example). Do you make any distinction between fundamentalist faith and liberal religion?
Answer from Christopher Hitchens: I would say that if you don’t believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ and Messiah, and that he rose again from the dead and by his sacrifice our sins are forgiven, you’re really not in any meaningful sense a Christian.
Do you see what just happened there? Granted, the interviewer does admit that she is a “liberal Christian,” but it took an atheist to tell her that her unbelief in one of the fundamental pillars of our Faith disqualifies her from calling herself a Christian! That is a sad state indeed!
Blaise Pascal once said, “Truth is so obscure in these times, and falsehood so established that, unless we love the truth, we cannot know it.” (And he lived in the 1600’s!) I fear we are ever more and more exchanging the truth of Christ for a personalized religious experience that may or may not be grounded in doctrinal integrity. There is no doubt a very important place for religious experience in our lives. Christ in fact offers us a personal relationship with Him, and Paul tells us in Romans that we cry out to God the Father, “Abba” – a very affectionate and loving term like “Poppa.” But we must be careful to remember that, as Christians, we have a very specific thing to offer the world, and truths of the message we have to offer are of vital importance. Christ Himself said, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14, NKJV)
An apologist, according to the Oxford English Dictionary is, “A person who offers an argument in defense of something controversial.” As I said at the beginning, I want to learn to be an apologist for Christ. I want to learn how to present a reasoned argument for Christianity and positively engage a world that more and more devalues truth. I hope you enjoy this site and will engage with me on this journey.
Be blessed…and be a blessing to others,
– Jonathan Ruth