Thursday, May 13, 2010

Apologetics Toolkit: Tips for the Apologetic Life #04

This continues the Apologetics Toolkit series on: Tips for the Apologetic Life. The goal behind this series of 5 tips is to provide a few ideas on how to take the ideas studied in apologetics and apply them to "real life" situations. This particular tip has to do being aware of cultural influences.

Tool #04: Study Culture

1. Culture shapes people's receptivity to the Gospel
It is important to be mindful of cultural influences, for it plays a large role in how receptive people are to hearing the Gospel. In William Lane Craig's recent book On Guard, he says, "the gospel is never heard in isolation. It is always heard against the backdrop of the culture in which you've been born and raised. A person who has been raised in a culture that is sympathetic to the Christian faith will be open to the gospel in a way that a person brought up in a secular culture will not."(p.17)

2. Cultural awareness helps you assess your approach
Being mindful of culture can help us to see the obstacles that most common in our region, as well as give us insight into a proper tactical approach that may be unique to our locale. Wherever you live, you are a missionary. So cultural awareness allows you to pray more specifically, communicate more strategically, and share the Gospel more effectively. The Albert Mohler program is a good resource for Christian thinking on culture.

3. Current events are stepping stones to conversation
Another reason to be mindful of culture is that an awareness of current events is a perfect vehicle for conversation. Being in the world - but not of it - allows us to know what some of the trends are in contemporary culture, entertainment, news, etc. This gives you the opportunity to use a current event (say, a movie or news story) to start a conversation, and use illustrations and analogies drawn from the events, stories, and narratives found in the culture. Damaris is an excellent resource for knowing what is going on in culture and being able to apply that knowledge for illustrating and sharing the gospel. (see their Tools for Talks, CultureWatch podcast, and more) Books like Faith, Film and Philosophy: Big Ideas on the Big Screen can get you thinking along these lines.

What does this look like in a in everyday life? It looks like this:
Understand that people think the way they think for a reason - cultural influences play a role. Keep abreast of the news, movies, and cultural trends and use them to start conversations and create illustrations for apologetic use and sharing Christ.

What was last year's post? See here.


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