APOLOGETIC OR APOLOGETICS?
by Kevin Rutherford
we see in our culture today is a strong trend toward subjectivism and
pluralism. This is exactly the mindset
that poisoned the thinking of the Jews in the days of the judges, and the Jews
in the days of Jeremiah. Judges says, "In
those days there was no king in
This trend toward subjectivism runs counter to the Scriptures. The Scriptures teach us that truth is absolute (John ). The Bible shows us that we can know that we are right, and consequently conclude that others are wrong (l John ). When Paul preached he did not compromise the truth in order to please those who upheld error. Instead, he worked hard to reason with, explain to, demonstrate to, and persuade those who did not know the truth (Acts 17:1-4). Where is that kind of preaching today? Sadly, it is fading quickly from the pulpits of churches of Christ across the nation and throughout the world.
In the church today we have mass chaos and confusion. Christians no longer understand, or believe in, the distinct and unique nature of the Lord's church. Years of weak preaching and watered down teaching have taken their toll upon the church. Christians are not being reminded of the reasons why instrumental music is sinful. The church is not being properly educated in the importance and purpose of baptism. Christians are compromising with all manner of moral issues as well.
Our liberal "Christian" universities are further compounding the problem.
Professors puffed up with their "higher" learning from denominational seminaries are frequently attacking the faith of their students. Christian universities are seeking to remake the church into just another run of the mill, average every day denomination. Students graduate and return to their home congregations where they are anxious to change the "worn out traditions" of the old members. Sadly, many of those things they consider "worn out traditions" are in fact clearly taught in the Scriptures. So many of the older members they want to criticize are those who have been faithful to God's Word for decades.
It is popular in the church today for Christians to apologize for the churches of Christ of the past. An ecumenical mindset has invaded the thinking of Christians who wish to compromise on every doctrinal issue that may upset someone. In a very arrogant way the new liberals look down upon Christians who are remaining true to the Scriptures. They mock and rebuke Christians who do in fact seek to remain in the old paths of faithfulness to God and His Word. In a conversation with a preacher who denies the essential nature of baptism in salvation it was implied that I was not old enough and had not been preaching long enough. This liberal preacher (who was also an "anti") told me he had left behind the idea of the essential nature of baptism some fifteen years ago. He was suggesting that he had matured past the point of believing that baptism is necessary for the remission of sins. Despite his "maturity" Acts is still a part of God's Word.
It is time for Christians to stop apologizing for believing, practicing, and teaching the truth. It is time for Christians to renew their efforts to speak the truth in love (Ephesians ). Instead of apologizing let us get back to "apologetics." The word "apologetics" comes from the Greek word denoting "to give a defense." Let us get back to the work of seeking to save the lost, while working to defend the truth. Let us remind the brethren of the sinful nature of denominationalism. Let us remind the brethren of the importance of baptism. Let us teach them again why we don't use instruments in worship. Let us re-inform them of the respectful nature of worship. Let us make it clear to those who are destroying and attacking the unity of the Lord's church that we will not be deceived by their " ... smooth words and flattering speech ... " (Romans 16:17, 18).
Brethren, "How long will you falter between two opinions?" (1 Kings ) Make up your minds. Are you going to give in to the subjective, pluralistic, arrogant, divisive, and false doctrines of the "liberals," or are you going to stand firmly planted upon the Scriptures in a balanced, godly, and loving way? "... chose for yourselves this day whom you will serve ... But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." (Joshua 24:15)