The Southern Baptist Convention, of which I am a member, has undertaken a challenge recently laid down by Southeastern Theological Seminary president Dr. Danny Akin in his sermon “12 Axioms for a Great Commission Resurgence”. This challenge, in a nutshell, is to get back to our Biblical roots and primary mission of telling the world about Jesus.
While the axioms that make up the core of this movement are quite sound, I believe we are missing one key to actually bringing about a resurgence or making ourselves as Southern Baptists agents of change in our culture. Specifically, how we do evangelism.
I’m not talking about methods or programs, I’m talking about how we prepare and train for engaging a culture that is increasingly hostile to the objective claims of the gospel. The risks we run rushing unprepared into a world that, as Francis Schaeffer once said, is unable to even process the epistemic notion that there could be such a thing as objective truth and that we as mere mortals could dare to know it.
In short, we need to step back and make sure we do some serious preparation among our own members before we send them out. We need to encourage an intentional investment by local churches into apologetic training. Learning both the tactics and the information necessary to stand firm on the rock solid foundation of the faith that many throughout history have died defending.
Interestingly enough, the North American Mission Board has a program well-suited to the task of assisting local churches in their efforts to train and equip their members to “contend for the faith” as Paul encouraged Jude1 . This is known as the Certified Apologetics Instructors program directed by Mike Licona, a well known and respected defender of the faith.
If churches are serious about taking up the Great Commission Resurgence challenge and truly wish to engage the world around them, to storm the gates of Hell as it were2 , I hope they make use of the fine apologists who belong to this program and who are ready, willing, and able to serve their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ in equipping them with sound training.