I recently ran across a 2009 article where Christian apologist, speaker and author Ravi Zacharias talks about "Defending Christianity in a Secular Culture." The whole thing is good, and I encourage you to read it.
In a few places throughout the article, Zacharias draws attention to the value of equipping the church, in the face of a secular culture that is increasingly hostile or indifferent towards Christianity. Below are some short quotes from the article where we see this:
Zacharias draws attention to the need of all Christians to be equipped at a certain level:
He does this first by showing what happens if Christians AREN'T equipped with basic truths of the faith:
The average church member is unprepared and ill-equipped to face the attacks that are coming at us full-force. We are leaving our young men and women who are attending universities as lambs to the slaughter.
This isn't just for college-aged students. All of us find more exposure to ideas and experiences that challenge the Christian faith than perhaps ever before in our lifetimes. The situation shouldn't intimidate us, however, as Zacharias says clearly:
For the sake of the truth, for the sake of the gospel, and for our calling in this time in history, it is imperative that we love the Lord our God with all our hearts and all our minds and equip our people to do so. This fierce and vast battle [of worldviews] does not need to intimidate us. Not everybody can argue at a level to reach a Bertrand Russell, but God does put people into our paths who are at our level. Let’s thank God that the church has people at different levels who can take on everyone. We need to know that the gospel is simple enough to reach a little child and sophisticated enough to reach the finest minds, such as those of Augustine and Paul and others throughout history.
And Ravi Zacharias shows Local church pastors how they can reasonably take steps in this direction.
Zacharias encourages pastors - at least at a high level and in key areas - to continue studying and stay on top of issues facing their people:
How does a pastor cope with these attitudes regarding Christianity and the church? Pastors need to do their best to study and understand the issues before them and their people. They need to work within their comfort zones of response and not be afraid to admit when they are outside of their reach. They have access to books, CDs, debates, seminars, and tapes in which specialists ably deal with apologetic material.
And then - when pastors are out of their depth - we need to be able to recommend excellent resources by Christian experts in key areas.
Pastors need to say, “I am not a neuroscientist. I do not understand all the implications of genetic engineering, but I know Christians who do. Here are their books.” Pastors need to bring in these speakers and their material [if not live presentations, at least via books and other resources!], and interact with the experts.
Again, the whole article is worthwhile and I encourage you to read it.
Everything that Zacharias highlights in these quotes above is why I'm so excited about the Brookside Institute - where we're all about building and reinforcing foundations of the Christian faith. It's here that we offer an equipping environment for adults in an intentional way. The Brookside Institute is one place we very specifically value the equipping arm of the local church, and try to do so in multiple creative ways. The Institute is one place where you can find book recommendations and explore categories like apologetics, Bible, culture, and theology.
I'm grateful for all the ways Brookside Church values what the Institute can offer, as one important ministry of a healthy local church! If you're interested in learning more about the Brookside Institute, be sure and find more about us here, check out our classes, and keep your eyes on the Institute blog!
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