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In the fall of 1995, I had the privilege of first being exposed to the concept of an Open Forum, as developed by Search Ministries. They were a highly effective tool in helping seekers explore and reflect upon their spiritual journey. Over the next year, my wife and I would lead and facilitate many home discussion groups (although I would also conduct them in business offices and at early morning breakfasts.) To this day, I still lead an occasional open forum, and continually find that people are helped in developing discernment about life. As Socrates said, "An unexamined life is not worth living."
As part of my training with Search, we read I’m Glad You Asked, which studies the most commonly heard questions that seekers have today, and diagrams how one might respond appropriately. I found the apologetic material developed by Larry Moody and Ken Boa to be practical and helpful.
But I also found some of the questions they raised to be dated. That is not meant as a criticism of Boa and Moody. I think they would say the same thing. Once a book is written, it becomes locked in time. I simply found that the more forums I facilitated, the more the questions were taking on a different character. I was dealing with what we now call the postmodern culture.
This brief booklet is designed to explore what it means to live in a postmodern culture. Second, it is written to help you develop appropriate responses to the types of questions one hears as we head into the Twenty–first century. I suppose you could call this article I’m Glad You’re Still Asking! And I am glad! People are more inclined to investigate the spiritual dimension of their lives than ever before. But the way we respond—the answers we give—need to take into account the actual questions that people are now asking. In other words, I rarely hear anyone ask me about the reliability of the New Testament manuscripts. That was twenty years ago. Now, they want to know if history tells us anything at all! That’s a different question.
I’m glad that people are still asking us questions. The apologetics you will observe in these pages are built around the premise that most people are influenced by postmodernism without even knowing what the word means. As water is to fish, so postmodernism is the air we breathe. Invisible and yet vital. This, then, is not a particularly academic treatment of postmodern apologetics. I leave that to those with more brainpower. I am taking the same direction suggested by Michael Green:
Most of our apologetics is directed to those who are literate, middle–class rational thinkers. But the majority of our countrymen do not read books at all. They are not middle–class and they are not abstract thinkers. They are immediate visual people. The Christian presses pour out more and more books for a reading public that is, if anything, shrinking. Such books have very little impact on our society in a television age that relies less and less on the written word.
You will see on the pages that follow that I have departed from the usual flow–chart way of thinking in response to genuine questions. I do believe that flow–charts are helpful. But I will employ more visuals and attempt to get you into the mind of unchurched individuals. They think in particulars and without contexts. Charting the flow of a conversation with a postmodern—while it might be a helpful tool to keep in your mind—will be difficult at best. They are not given to rational arguments. They are looking for a compelling story that grabs the imagination. Lendor Calder said it well: "Spiritual awakening will not occur when Christian doctrines are better defended; rather, it will occur when holy imaginations make the Christian story more likely to be appreciated. The experience of C.S. Lewis is a case in point."
I hope this brief paper better enables you to paint the Christian story in such brilliant and sublime colors that many come to appreciate the beauty of our God and savior Jesus Christ.
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