In 2007, members of Evangel Ministries in northwest Detroit went out into the surrounding neighborhoods to share the gospel in a summer-long program called Dare to Share. They came back with reports of new connections and conversions—and new questions. Many of their neighbors had voiced powerful objections to the faith.
Senior pastor Christopher Brooks realized that the apologetics he had studied at Biola University, and later at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics, needed to be placed in a new context. "We realized that we needed to respond to not just the historic topics of theology and philosophy, but also to the pressing, present question: 'Does the Lord see what's happening in the hood?'"
Brooks's forthcoming book, Urban Apologetics (Kregel Publications), tells the story of how Evangel enthusiastically embraced that challenge. The newly appointed campus dean of Moody Theological Seminary–Michigan recently spoke with CT executive editor Andy Crouch.
You are consciously doing apologetics from and for a minority community. What difference does that make?
Being part of a minority group is a battle for definition: being able to define your own narrative and the world. When you are in the minority, other people begin to define these things for you.
When urban Christians, in particular minorities, have approached apologetics, we've often found a disconnection between what popular apologists are defining as reality and what we are experiencing.
The New Atheism and other intellectual challenges to the faith are real and relevant, but they are not a part of the fabric of everyday life for an African American. When it comes to the quest for the minority to reclaim ...1