The name Truth in the Trenches was chosen for this ministry because I view apologetics as a part of a larger, spiritual conflict, and in the post-Christian west, the Church is under assault. Ephesians warns us that we wrestle not only with human beings, but with “Spiritual wickedness in heavenly places.” The intellect is, theologically speaking, a part of the heart, but sadly, as believers, we often try to treat the heart in one of two ways that fails to recognize the holistic sentiments in our view of the heart. We tend to either separate the head from the heart, resulting in an anemic Christianity guided by a muddy sentimentalism, or the Bible’s emphasis on doctrine leads us to treat Christianity as a wholly intellectual endeavor.
With the end of the apostolic period, the Christian intellectual tradition includes discussions where more than one point of view may be presented, and in these matters, we are not discussing apologetics. Thus, Truth in the Trenches attempts to present a “mere Christianity,” or better a “mere Evangelical” approach to Christian apologetics without regards to specific denominations or requiring adherence to secondary divisions, in these things we ought to seek brotherly love, despite differences. Yet, this is not as open as it might seem at first glance. If the culture wars have heated up on the church externally, there have also been Satanic agents inside the church, Jude warns us of those who have “crept in unnoticed,” Paul referred to his theological opponents as the ”Smuggled in false brethren” and John stated of the Gnostics that some depart because they were not “of us.” There are elements of the current Evangelical movement moving towards a new heresy, a “post-conservative Evangelicalism.” This shift is most is seen at the lay-level attempts to legitimize homosexual behavior, accommodations to religious relativism, or in claims that the Old Testament is a theistic revision of Ancient Near Eastern myths. This post-conservative Evangelicalism is not new, and mirrors the development of Theological Liberalism. In postmodern times, it should not surprise us that there are postmodern revisions of Christianity, any more than it should surprise us to find Christian Gnosticism in the late first century Hellenistic world, or German idealist attempts to redefine Christianity along the lines of Kant, Hegel and others. Truth in the Trenches embraces a discussion of Mere Christianity that asserts the sine qua nons of the faith remain intact.
But, besides the question of the gospel we defend, there are the arguments we choose to engage in and those we do not. Debates between Christians and non-believers often tend to occur over the same questions, with the same arguments raised by both sides. This is not the most effective approach to Christian apologetics, one may win debates along these lines, but not hearts. This has become even more difficult in post-modern times when outrage and argumentium ad hominem are increasingly treated as valid and sound reasoning; the post-Christian culture is, increasingly, a post-rational one, as well. But these also raise an emotional resonance that makes a reasoned conversation difficult or impossible, therefore while Christians ought to put up defenses of the traditional arguments, they are not our most effective weapon. Instead, demonstrating the weakness of the unbeliever’s premises, along with positive arguments for Christianity provide a better approach, at least to open the door. Truth in the Trenches, therefore, seeks to borrow from the cultural and moral apologetics of figures such as Francis Schaeffer, C S Lewis and Nancy Pearcy with the historical and evidentialist approaches of Gary Habermas, with a seasoning of the more formal classical arguments used by Geisler and Craig.