In Season 1 Episode 2 of The Eudo Podcast, Dr. Paul M. Gould answers the following questions:
- Why should we think about the state of the culture we find ourselves in?
- What is culture and how does culture change?
- What is Apologetics?
- What is Cultural Apologetics?
Question #1: Why, as Christians, should we think about the state of the culture we find ourselves in? Or why should we care about the spirit of our age?
Reason 1: Because God has called us to understand our time (Rom. 13:11; Acts 17:23).
Reason 2 (which is really just an extension of the first reason): Because faithfulness to Christ demands it (2 Timothy 1:14; 2 Corinthians 10:5).
The collective mindset, the collective conscience, and the collective imagination of our culture informs whether or not the gospel will get a fair hearing. The church has grown anti-intellectual and out of touch with the relevancy of Jesus and the gospel to all aspects of contemporary life. As a result, the gospel doesn’t get a fair hearing: the Christian voice is muted, the Christian conscience is muted, and the Christian imagination is muted.
In short, Christianity is no longer seen as reasonable or desirable or both. As Christians, we want the gospel to get a fair-hearing, and it will do so to the extent that those in culture think it plausible or desirable.
Question #2: What is culture and how does it change?
Definitions of Culture:
- According to Andy Crouch: “Culture is what we make of the world.”
- According to Stonestreet and Kunkle, building on Crouch’s definition, “Culture is what people do with the world.”
So, if culture is what we make of the world, if it is what we do with the world, then how does it change?
We change culture is to make new things and new meanings – culture is always changing, cumulative, it almost always changes from the top-down (according to Hunter, culture change takes place when culture-shaping institutions, and those who lead culture-shaping institutions, create new artifacts and meanings).
Question #3: What Is Apologetics?
The English word “apologetics” comes for a Greek word “apologia” that you find in 1 Peter 3:15 (… Always be prepared to make a defense (apologia)…”)
So, what is Christian apologetics? The rational defense of the Christian faith. Or, as William Lane Craig articulates, “Christian apologetics involves making a case for the truth of the Christian faith.”
Question #4:What Is Cultural Apologetics?
Here is how Paul defines cultural apologetics: Working to renew the Christian voice, conscience, and imagination so that Christianity would be seen as reasonable and desirable.
In this first season of The Eudo Podcast, Paul hopes to show you how we can re-enchant the world — so that we can awaken in others the deep longings of the heart for goodness, truth, and beauty, all of which find their source in Jesus and the gospel.
Next time, we will consider the two tasks of the Cultural Apologist: showing Christianity reasonable and showing Christianity desirable.
- Craig, William Lane. On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision. Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2010.
- Crouch, Andy. Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Press, 2013.
- Gould, Paul. Cultural Apologetics: Renewing the Christian Voice, Conscience, and Imagination in a Disenchanted World. Grand Rapids: MI: Zondervan, (Forthcoming) March 2019.
- Stonestreet, John, and Brett Kunkle. A Practical Guide to Culture: Helping the Next Generation Navigate Todays World. Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2017.