Do Apologetics Matter Anymore?
I would be a rich man if I had a dollar for every time I heard or read an emerging leader say something like: “Apologetics don’t matter anymore in our postmodern world,” “Young people no longer need evidence; it’s about relationships.” Are these claims true? Have we moved into a new era in which apologetics are no longer needed? From my perspective, nothing could be further from the truth.
This past weekend I spoke at the Big Dig youth apologetics conference by Focus on the Family to over 2,200 youth. Speakers included Lee Strobel, Josh McDowell, Ryan Dobson, Mark Mittelberg, and Alex McFarland. I was blown away at how engaged, interested, and attentive the students were. Many of them took notes and hung around book tables to ask questions. There is clearly a movement of young people who desire to know not only what they believe by why. They want to dig deeper.
One student emailed me with the following thoughts after I gave a talk based on my new book Understanding Intelligent Design: “So I was at the Big Dig this past weekend and absolutely loved it! All the information was so helpful but I connected the most with yours. All the scientific proof of Christianity and a Creator just absolutely amazes me…I'm really excited to get started looking at many of the worlds "truths" and find why our truth is the only one!”
Throughout the weekend I asked students if they chose to come or if their parents dragged them to the conference. EVERY student I talked to said that it was his or her decision to attend. In fact, one young man was even willing to miss a high school soccer game to be there!
Don’t believe the claim that apologetics no longer matter for new generations. Let me state it clearly: Apologetics matter more than ever for this generation, especially since youth today are exposed to more non-Christian ideas than any generation in history. And apologetics are not only important for Christians—they matter in evangelism, too. But this does not mean we simply continue business as usual. We need to really re-think how we engage younger generations with an apologetic that meets their thinking patterns and emotional needs.