Resources that help Christians defend their beliefs and answer life’s big questions are in demand, ministry experts say.  

Signs of a growing interest can be found across Tennessee. While Christian apologetics is an old field of theology, new conferences are tackling the topic and a Southern Baptist-affiliated university has added an apologetics minor.

It’s a response to an increasingly secular society as well as an effort to keep young people from leaving the church, said J. Warner Wallace, an apologetics professor at Biola University in California.

Young believers especially want to know why Christians believe what they do, and they want intellectually robust answers, too, Wallace said. Apologetics can offer that, he said.

“What you’ll see is just the rise of people who are making a case for why this is true and why this worldview not only competes well with other worldviews, but actually does the best job of explaining reality,” said Wallace, a cold case detective who became a Christian at age 35.

Wallace will join other Christian apologetics experts, including Ravi Zacharias, for the Defending Truth conference next month at New Vision Baptist Church in Murfreesboro. The all-day event hosted by National Religious Broadcasters’ NRBTV is in its fifth year.

“You’re going to see them grow especially as the culture moves further and further away from the teaching of Jesus,” Wallace said. “Christianity is trying to survive in the American culture, and in order to do that it’s going to have to No. 1, be really loving, show the love of Christ. And No. 2, show the mind of Christ.”

Surveys show that religiously unaffiliated Americans are a growing group. A 2016 Public Religion Research Institute report says almost 4 in 10 young people identify as such, and more than 60 percent of the religiously unaffiliated who grew up in a religion left their childhood faith before their 18th birthday. The most commonly cited reason for leaving was a lack of belief in the religion’s teachings.

The trends play into why Union University in Jackson added an apologetics minor to its School of Theology and Missions this year.

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SOURCE: Holly Meyer
USA TODAY NETWORK – The Tennesseean