Reconstructing Faith: The Credible Apologist

How to use this content- Though this content is different than Momentum’s normal publication, we want to encourage your ministry team to listen to this thought-provoking podcast and use the enclosed talking points to develop a plan to engage those who are deconstructing their faith. 

In this episode, Trevin Wax, vice president of research and resource development at the North American Mission Board, talks about how this reconstruction process of our faith is not just for ourselves as Christians (to regain our credibility), but to ultimately restore our witness for Jesus. As we reflect on the previous podcasts, we hope that these episodes enlightened you to the issues of the current church’s credibility here in the United States and encourage you to continue faithful ministry to our Lord Jesus.  

Trevin highlights C.S. Lewis in this episode as an individual who is a credible witness to Jesus because of the combination between his intellect and imagination. Lewis contributed many works that were personal and amusing that still influence us today. Lewis was masterful at calling us to live out our faith in ways where our thoughts and actions were consistent with the example of Jesus. 

What ways are we being challenged to be faithful in our ordinary means of life (in our family, preaching, teaching, leading, living, reading, writing, and more)? How does faithfulness in these areas inform our apologetics and evangelism. When we hear and think about apologetics, we most often think about an academic pursuit or exercise but there is an integrative part of our lives that is living out the apologist in us as those who’ve been called to represent Christ.  

What led Lewis to live such a life? Michael Ward discussed how Lewis was clearly undergoing a change. Whether he recognized it or not, we can see it in his writings that Lewis was “becoming a more integrated man, humbler man, a more gentle spirited man… He was thoroughly converted.” John Stott wrote, “the real secret of expository preaching is not mastering certain techniques but being mastered by certain conviction.” Similarly, how are we keeping ourselves in the conviction of God’s love (Jude 1:21)? Before we begin this process of reconstructing our faith and getting rid of the “rot in the house,” are we thoroughly converted? Are we absolutely resolved about the gospel, its implications and the task God has entrusted the church? 

How do we comfort people who are broken over the credibility of the church in its current crisis, and help them to embrace Jesus for all He is?

Trevin points out in the podcast how the two Lewis scholars (McGrath and Ward) warned about the instrumentalization of the church as an institution, meaning that the church is primarily good for social changes and or other means. Lewis was a great apologist in realizing how the truth of Christianity is not ultimately determined by how well the church exemplified it. In fact, it was the other way around. The manifestation of the Church being a pillar and buttress of truth (1 Tim 3:15) is primarily dependent on Christ and His faithfulness. How do we comfort people who are broken over the credibility of the church in its current crisis, and help them to embrace Jesus for all He is? How do we not excuse the errors of the church but seriously address the issues, take responsibility, and move forward in this process of reconstruction? 

Allister McGrath stated that the church isn’t always the best witness for Christ as every organization has its flaws. But at its best the church should be a beacon of truth and light pointing to the person of Jesus Christ. As we wrestle with the “already, not yet” tension of our personal and corporate sanctification, how do we lead our church to hold this tension? How are we going to reconstruct our faith in such a way that we are becoming the true expression of Christ full of truth and grace?  

Content used with permission by Trevin Wax (Vice President of resources and research at North American Mission Board- NAMB)