Alister McGrath: The case for a contextual apologetic

Alister McGrath recently shared an article he penned on apologetics to his FaceBook page. It carries important ramifications to any wishing to advance their thoughts in today’s world. In a word, we don’t live in a one-size-fits-all world, and we should not use the same frame of authority to convince every one of the validity of our points. This is certainly true for the Christian wishing to share a reason for their faith, but it is equally true that anyone wishing to converse in this ocean of information needs to take a moment to consider how the other person is best communicated-with. Fitting the conversation to the person, or perhaps simply the act of listening to do so will do much for those convinced of their views.


@Rogero welcome to PS. You said “recent” for a 2006 article. It is now almost 2019, do you still think this article applies in today’s environment given how much more secular the United States is now? I mean that today’s milleniual generation is nearly half “nones” and Christianity in America is pretty fracture along political and ethnic lines all happening in the last 10 years.

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@Patrick Thanks for the welcome! Yes, the article itself dates from more than 12 years ago, however it’s author just re-posted it today, which is when I first encountered it. As for it’s relevance, it is, if anything, even more relevant to the Christian who wishes to share their perspective in a world weary with trite answers to questions others are not asking (I think of H. L. Mencken’s famous quote about theology here). The Christian in today’s world can find clear parallels when attempting to present a cogent apologetic of their faith to attempts by the very first Christians in the pluralistic mileau of the first century Roman Empire—a point the article makes with several examples. That is not to say that the Christian today is any less susceptible to the charge of madness leveled against Paul the Apostle as related in the Biblical book of Acts. But right or no, even mad or no, the appeal to base argumentation in an acceptable context for the audience, which is the point of the article even should its Christianity be stripped away, is, I believe, of paramount importance for the communication of ideas to groups who do not share one’s own views.

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ok. welcome to the discussion. I hope you find it lively enough for you. Fasten your seatbelt. :sunglasses: