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Have Evangelical leaders brought the church into a place where non-Christians are more accepting. Isn’t teaching apologetics to youth only something that will alienate unbelivers from the gospel? Chris, Tonbridge from Kent, UK asks:

How would you encourage young people to develop their apologetics?

Greg Koukl’s Answer:

I’m not sure if your question is “How do Christians who are young and therefore less knowledgeable in theology, apologetics, philosophy, etc. develop their apologetics,” or “Young Christians engage a different audience than older Christians (e.g., more postmodern), so given their audience, how should they develop their apologetics?” (Even in conversation with Christians you can see how important the first Columbo Tactic question is: “What do you mean by that?”)

If the first, the simple answer is to commit yourself early on to engage life as a student. Cultivate a life-long posture of learning through reading, study, reflection, and thoughtful interaction with others, especially those who know more than you do and are better at the skill of thinking than you are. This has been my approach and it has paid huge dividends.

If the second, I think there may be some stylistic concerns (more laid back, less dogmatic, more narrative, etc.), but the substance should be the same. One liability for younger people you may talk to is that they tend to be massively imprecise and have a very difficult time actually following an argument. They are image and feeling driven and both habits weigh heavily against thoughtfulness. This means you must press your first two Columbo questions (“What do you mean by that?” and “How did you come to that conclusion?”) graciously, but persistently. Otherwise you’re likely to get nothing more than sentimental confusion.

Jump right in with questions for Greg! Thanks Greg for being with us.

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