“In my books,” insisted Lennox, “all Christians are apologists – positive or negative.” This is because “We are in the world, we’ve been commanded to witness to our faith. Part of that – a major part of that witness is defending the faith against misunderstanding and against misrepresentation. So it is going to take us out of our comfort zone – inevitably.” Part of our task, says Lennox, is to break through the notion held by so many – that “faith is for the private sphere.”
I especially appreciated the point that John made about fear. There’s a fear that paralyses of course, which is not much good – when we’re not confident enough to articulate a defence of what we believe. But there’s a healthy kind of fear too – that fear when we find ourselves in a strategic position in our society to speak out and engage in apologetics, the fear that is the realisation of the weight of that responsibility, and our obligation to do so effectively, our responsibility not to miss those opportunities. In an evangelical ethos that fears the bogeyman of “intellectualism,” or that prefers to focus on ourselves and our sense of spirituality, justified (ironically) in the name of being “deep” Christians, we run the risk of being poor stewards of the opportunities we are given. What it amounts to is retreating into the very “comfort zones” that Lennox calls us out of.
Professor John Lennox will be coming to New Zealand this month. To be honest I’m shocked that there isn’t some publicity around this visit. Given his talent and passion for Christian apologetics and specifically on the interface between faith and science I’m looking forward to hearing him in person speaking on those subjects.