As I have been studying Christian apologetics over the last few years, I have come to the conclusion that what is needed in the Church today is far more than mere apologetics. The time I invested in my degree was merely a beginning. Beginning of what? Christian apologists and philosophers refer to it in different ways, the “life of the mind,” the “Christian mind,” or an “integrated Christian worldview.” Christianity in this country is suffering from many decades of neglect. Specifically we have neglected the intellectual tradition that began with Jesus and was continued by Paul, the Church fathers and many other believers down through the centuries.
The burgeoning interest in Christian apologetics today is the “canary in the coal mine” of our modern culture. A culture that is being ripped apart by moral, intellectual and philosophical changes. We are witnessing the fruit of a silent church. Consider the following comment written by Austin Farrer in 1965 (emphasis added):
It is commonly said that if rational argument is so seldom the cause of conviction, philosophical apologists must largely be wasting their shot. The premise is true, but the conclusion does not follow. For though argument does not create conviction, the lack of it destroys belief. What seems to be proved may not be embraced; but what no one shows the ability to defend is quickly abandoned. Rational argument does not create belief, but it maintains a climate in which belief may flourish.
Our society has abandoned the Christian worldview that participated in its founding, not because science, philosophy, or progress has demonstrated Christianity to be false, but because of the silence of so many.
The solution is to rediscover the intellectual foundations of Christianity. As with many topics, a C.S. Lewis quotation seems to be the best description of what inspires my Christian life.
I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.
The word “integrated” in “integrated Christian worldview” has two different meanings. The first is captured in the Lewis quote above. God as the sovereign author and sustainer of reality can be found everywhere. In every part of nature and in every field of human knowledge, evidence of God is present. The second is less of a description so much as it is a goal or result. It is what inspired the title of this blog. Every single person who has ever lived and every person alive today suffers from being disintegrated. We are separated from each other, from creation, and from our creator. Separation is not a strong enough word, we are really at war. The conflict runs so deep that we are even separated from ourselves, in that our priorities are distorted by our culture. We are drawn away from the things that would makes us truly content to pursue things that will ultimately destroy.
The disintegration of the human person is solved in the person and work of Jesus Christ. An adequate knowledge and trust in Jesus is really only the beginning of a tremendous adventure growing closer to God by loving Him with all our heart, soul and mind.