As I write and reflect on this story, I am disheartened and encouraged at the same time. A few weeks ago, a good friend who I hadn’t seen in years came by to visit. He had been away doing ministry overseas but was on furlough for the next few months. We chatted about a lot of things, mostly about ministry and how our beliefs shaped the message and method of our approach to apologetics.
Looking back I had already known about my friend’s passion for truth—and that he was willing to go wherever truth led. Having graduated from a top seminary he held orthodox beliefs and had all the proper knowledge with respect to the truth claims of Christianity. He was a budding apologist. However, in just a few years since he began his public ministry I noticed he began entertaining unorthodox beliefs and practices which became the foundation of his teachings. He probably thought of himself as avant-garde, progressive, a sort of trailblazer in his mission to teach and show others the truth of the Gospel — at least others thought so.
He began to attract a following, but at the same time I began receiving reports of cancelled invitations from mainstream churches in the community and surrounding areas. It didn’t matter to him, and perhaps even thought that they were affirmations he was headed in the right direction while others were lost. He continued to eschew conformity and began questioning everything.
As we continued chatting I learned, although he wouldn’t admit it, he had become a panentheist and a skeptic. Ideas have consequences and the trajectory of his line of thinking led him to this place. His mantra became “question everything” and has encouraged his followers to do so. He no longer is foreclosed on anything. Everything is up for grabs. As we said our goodbyes I said that I would continue to pray that the God of the Bible would reveal himself more fully as he continued his search for ultimate meaning and truth. He accepted it in a sort of veiled wry manner, but we completely understood each other.
Then a few weeks later I found out through social media that one of his loved ones was sick in the hospital and asked for prayer. Without hesitation I prayed for him, his family and his loved one who was suffering pain. But then thought to myself, to whom would he want me to pray to? How does my friend think anyone or anything is listening or caring? How does one imagine impersonal forces to consider our human struggles? He would say love is the answer. But what is the source of love unless it originates from a person.
As I mentioned earlier, I am disheartened by my friend’s rejection of the Christian faith. But I’m also encouraged because the work of apologetics must move forward. In this day and age, with moral confusion and “truth decay” (borrowed from Douglas Groothuis) surrounding us we must continue to be obedient and faithful to our calling found in 1 Peter 3:15, with a special emphasis on the latter part of the verse which tells us to do our apologetics with gentleness and respect.
As the year ends, would you consider a financial, tax-deductible gift to our ministry. We certainly could use your help. One of our biggest expenses each year goes to our radio ministry. We need at least $15,000 to start the new year. Our volunteer staff would appreciate the extra gas allowance which is included in this figure. We’re also working on our online certificate program in apologetics which we plan to launch in Canada next year. This requires your prayer and faithful giving if we are to expand our reach throughout the world. Our desire is to have every believer in their local churches be equip to defend the truth claims of Christianity using an online self-paced learning system. We’ll be promoting this at the local church level but we’ll quickly want to expand the reach to the global church.
We have been on the radio for at about 15 years and we haven’t changed our style, format or considered other markets. This is about to change as we are exploring ways to use our resources to reach a more targeted and new audience beginning next year.
We’ve grown our staff (mostly volunteer for now) to include others who are gifted in areas some of the veteran staff aren’t. We’re thrilled and excited about what the Lord will do through us in the coming months. The work ahead is expansive. We can’t do it alone and so we need your support. Would you please partner with us in the coming months as we seek to accomplish God’s purposes in expanding His kingdom through apologetics.
In His Grip,
Founder & CEO