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"Answering the 'So What' Questions"
by Tom Goodman
October 12, 2006

Watch out! I have a “homework assignment” at the end of this article!

Haddon Robinson makes the case that apologetics has less impact in evangelism today than in past generations.  In a recent interview with Preaching Today newsletter, he says:

“There was a time in which apologetics had great force.  I don’t think that’s as true today.  In a postmodern age, to use that cliché, people aren’t as impressed with evidences that demand a verdict.  That’s not just my opinion.  It’s the opinion of a lot of people who are skilled at reaching non-Christians, who have, in the past, used apologetics.  Usually apologetics are more forceful for those who have come into faith, and having come to faith, have all kinds of questions.”
That’s what I’ve discovered as I’ve been on mission in my world.  “Apologetics” means “a reasoned defense of the faith,” and you’d think that apologetics would be a perfect study to get seekers into.  But instead I’ve found that it’s something that believers like to study to strengthen their faith.

That’s why my book, The Anchor Course, isn’t an apologetics book.  While I’ve tried to provide certain “proofs” for things like God’s existence and the resurrection of Jesus, I wanted to provide more than that.  The book is designed to answer the “so what” questions.  In other words, people aren’t asking, “How can this be true?” nearly as much as they’re asking, “What difference does it make for you?”  For example, I’ve found that people are a lot more interested in what Christ’s resurrection proves than they are in what proofs there are for Christ’s resurrection.  What difference does it make to believe that Jesus rose from death?  You need to be able to answer questions like this.

In the article, Robinson goes on to explain what a church really needs to do to reach seekers today (Watch out!  The homework assignment is just around the corner!):

“Often a church that has small groups, that has warm fellowship, that draws people to an atmosphere of love, has something going for it.  People are drawn to that, and then they want to talk about the gospel.  People want relationships; they want to know there are people who care about them.  When they find that, then they will hear the gospel, but I don’t think apologetics is as strong and as needed today as it was 25 years ago.”
He says that what people need is “people telling their story.”  (Don’t say I didn’t warn you!  Now we’re almost at the homework assignment!)—

“I’m talking about telling your testimony, what’s happened to you along the way.  You’re telling how coming to trust Jesus Christ has made a difference in your life.  When someone hears that story, and it overlaps their story, there’s a way in which that can connect.  That’s truer today than in the past.  We’ve always used testimonies, but today the witness box has an appeal to people because, in a way, that’s the way life comes to them.”
I completely agree.  It sure sounds a lot like the I.N.V.I.T.E. Strategy to me!  I hope you will keep building relationships with your THEMs, involve THEM in activities with your Forever Family, and tell THEM your story.  You’ll see fruit from this effort.

So, here’s a “homework assignment” for you:  October 29 is “High Attendance Sunday” at Hillcrest.  It also happens to be the Sunday that we get to that line in the Creed—“I believe in the forgiveness of sins.”  I’m going to talk about how sin separates us from God and why the cross was God’s way to make forgiveness possible.  I believe several will put their trust in Jesus on this day.  Will your friend be one of them?  Here’s what I need you to do: (1) pray for this special day; (2) bring someone to this special day; (3) be ready to tell your story of how you came to Christ, because you may get a chance to tell your friend about it.

I’m praying for you as you complete this “homework assignment”!


Click here to read the full interview with Haddon Robinson.

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