Do not be an Accidental Christian

imagesThis past weekend, the second annual Stand Firm Apologetics Conference was held here at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The keynote speaker for the event was J. (Jim) Warner Wallace, who has carved out a name for himself as a cold-case homicide detective turned apologist for Christ.

I was completely impressed with Jim. His three plenary sessions on the reliability of the New Testament documents, the historicity of Jesus, and the resurrection were outstanding. He was insightful, energetic, funny, organized, and methodical as he built his case.

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11081412_10153098120925661_8860420773157945817_nFor me, and for my fellow partners in crime (that is, my fellow philosophers—R. Keith Loftin and Travis Dickinson) who help give leadership to the new Masters in Christian Apologetics at SWBTS), the real pay off was spending time with Jim before and after the conference. As one observer put it, Jim is “a force of nature.” From the minute he hit the ground in Fort Worth, he was talking to us about how to build our program, platform what we are doing, and be strategic as apologists and evangelist. We all came away convinced that there is much more that we can and should be doing to build our young and growing apologetics program (as proof, Loftin finally saw the wisdom of joining Twitter).

One thing Jim said that has stuck with me this week is his claim that many in the church are accidental Christians: they are holding onto the truth, but they just don’t know why they are Christians. They are “accidental” Christians in the same way I am an accidental Texan. I now live in Texas but if you were to ask me about its history, its leaders, its geography, its state flower, its state bird, and more, I wouldn’t have much to say (beyond “Remember the Alamo”). But, I still (begrudgingly, I admit) would now call myself a Texan, even though I don’t really know why I am a Texan beyond the obvious fact that I live in Texas. Often, Christians are Christians like I’m a Texan: “I’m a Christian because I go to church” or “I’m a Christian because I grew up in the Church.” One of Jim’s passions is to challenge Christians to stop being accidental Christians. To this I say a hearty “amen.” We must, for the sake of those we seek to reach for Christ and our own spiritual formation in Christ go deeper. We must learn not just what we believe, but why we believe it.

I’ve blogged about the perils of anti-intellectualism here and provided reasons why the church needs philosophers here.

A good place to start is J. Warner Wallace’s book Cold Case Christianity. Come and see just how strong the evidence is for belief in Jesus. And stop being an accidental Christian.

P.S. stay tuned:  the keynote speaker for next years Stand Firm Conference (3rd weekend in March) will be my mentor and friend, the Christian philosopher J. P. Moreland.

Here is a little teaser from J. Warner Wallace:

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Response to Do not be an Accidental Christian

  1. Pingback: The Divine Game of Clue: God’s Crime Scene by J. Warner Wallace | Paul Gould

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