“If all the world were Christian, it might not matter if all the world were uneducated. But, as it is, a cultural life will exist outside the Church whether it exists inside or not. To be ignorant and simple now — not to be able to meet the enemies on their own ground — would be to throw down our weapons, and betray our uneducated brethren who have, under God, no defense but us against the intellectual attacks of the heathen. Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered. The cool intellect must work not only against cool intellect on the other side, but also against the muddy heathen mysticisms which deny intellect altogether.
Most of all, perhaps we need intimate knowledge of the past. . . . the scholar has lived in many times and is therefore in some degree immune from the great cataract of nonsense that pours from the press and the microphone of his own age.
The learned life then is, for some, a duty.”
CS Lewis – Sermon on Wartime.
The above quote from Lewis excited my thinking as a young man at Bible college, and it excites me today.
Lewis preached this in 1939 to Oxford students wondering about the point of their studies with a war happening, and much of this sermon is applicable today.
Today, we live in a hustled and busy environment in which Christianity is assaulted at every corner. It is therefore easy to retreat into one’s faith, and to focus less on the failings of post-Christian America and more on the hope we have in Christ, but to do so is to abandon the younger generation.
Today we are in the midst of a great cultural downgrade, and the effects on the Church cannot be denied. This great cultural downgrade has led to a loss in the rigor of our thinking, and greater searches for “new things” as at Athens in the years of that city’s waning greatness; precisely because Americans give little thought to philosophy and theology leads many to simply accepts the mainstream humanism that has become the de facto state religion in America. And because this muddy, ill-conceived philosophy permeates every layer of our society, our children are infected in their schools, online, and by their friends.
Ephesians tells us that we are in a great spiritual war, and so it is easy to ignore the rigors of apologetics. After all, it’s a “spiritual war”; yet, we cannot divide the spirit from the intellect. Apologetics is simply one great front in this formidable struggle with principalities, powers and the rulers of the darkness of this evil time. And just as World War II was not confined to the Western front and the westward action of the English and Americans, it would have equally been impossible to defeat the Germans if the Western front had been ignored. So too within this great spiritual struggle, apologetics cannot be ignored.
We are commanded to provide an answer for those who ask of our hope – I’m reporting for duty as best I can, I hope you will also volunteer in the battle for hearts and minds, ultimately for the glory of King Jesus.