The following is a quote from B. B. Warfield, a very influential Presbyterian theologian of Princeton, at the turn of the twentieth century. He was one of the champions of the fundamentalist movement, which was responding to the modernist influences, and the liberal fall-out that those influences were having as they penetrated the walls of the American church. Anyway, here’s Warfield (this was written in 1903):

It is the distinction of Christianity that it has come into the world clothed with the mission to reason its way to its dominion. Other religions may appeal to the sword, or seek some other way to propagate themselves. Christianity makes its appeal to right reason, and stands out among all religions, therefore, as distinctively “the Apologetic religion.” It is solely by reasoning that it has come thus far on its way to its kingship. And it is solely by reasoning that it will put all its enemies under its feet. (George Marsden quoting B.B. Warfield, “Fundamentalism And American Culture,” 115)

Remember Warfield was fighting unbelievable cultural forces, within and without the church, and he was promoting the reality that the church is the bastion for rigorous intellectual cultivation, not modernist speculation about “truth”. Warfield’s view is also informed by a certain philisophical grid (Scottish-Common-Sense-Realism), and is not immune to certain points of speculation himself. Unfortunately Warfield’s influence, in this regard, is still felt in many realms of the Evangelical Church today. I do think there is a place for Apologetics, but I don’t think that we want an “Apologetic Religion.” If anyone has something to defend it is the “world”, not Christ and His followers. When we follow an “Apologetic Religion” we end up allowing society and culture at large to determine the questions that end up shaping how we answer; instead of listening to the questions we are presented with through God’s Word. The fall-out, we end up trying to answer questions about God, that He never intended to answer, necessarily. The result of Warfield’s “Apologetic Religion,” well just go read any popular “Evangelical Systematic Theology.”

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