Preparing for the Last War: Evangelicals and Apologetics

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Why Ireland Needs Answers

Too many generals prepare to win the battles fought by a previous generation. British armies from 1939 to 1941 used the tactics of 1918. As a result, UK forces were routed by the Wermacht in the Battle of France. Two years later, General Percival repeated the mistake in Malaya and Singapore. He failed to appreciate the importance of air-power, armour and a lightning advance. 120,000 soldiers surrendered to a much smaller Japanese force; millions of civilians were left defenceless before one of the most brutal and cruel forces unleashed on civilization, the Imperial Japanese Army.

In Ireland, as elsewhere in the West, evangelicals are still fighting the battles of 1859. We preach as if the world understands our subculture and shares our presuppositions. Yet the entertainment industry, the press, and even school curricula preach that facts are the business of science, and all else is mere prejudice. Attacking works-righteousness in sermons is redundant when generations have been raised on relativism and nihilism. People won’t see any need for salvation if “stuff happens” is their catchphrase, or if they view all moral judgement as an act of oppression. We can modernise our worship tunes and turn up the volume; but our message will remain incomprehensible.

The enemy is massing at our borders and are retreating inside a cosy subculture. So instead of digging trenches we should be preparing to meet a blitzkrieg. A glance at the latest editorials, or a brief conversation with an unconverted friend, will reveal how post-Christian Ireland has become. Christianity is accepted as a pleasant and comforting pass-time; it is not viewed as a claim to absolute truth, a call to know Christ, or a command to obey the living God. We need to prepare to meet and engage a culture which can no longer comprehend the basic terms of the Gospel.

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