Rawlings School of Divinity
Doctor of Philosophy in Theology and Apologetics (PhD)
C. Fred Smith
Missional, Apologetics, Missio Christi, Mission, Early Church Apologists, Pluralism, Mission of Christ, George Bannister, Tatian, Aristides, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Postmodernism, Postmodern, Post-Christian, Postchristian, Skepticism, Skeptic, Evangelism, Pre-evangelism
Missions and World Christianity | Religion
Bannister, George B. Sr, "Missional Apologetics: An Examination of Essential Elements in the Apologetic Approaches of Early Christian Era Apologists in Light of the Mission of Christ to a Pluralistic World" (2019). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 1962.
The cultural ethos known as postmodernism has impacted the epistemological and functional structures of contemporary society in dramatic ways. Changes in the attitudes, standards, and belief systems from which people operate in their day-to-day lives have seen radical alterations in the last fifty years. The impact of the postmodern milieu has been evident in various ways in local church ministry, as well as the extension of local church ministry on the mission field.As a result of the waning effectiveness of traditional evangelism methods and indications that there is a relationship between that waning efficacy and the postmodern milieu, scholars have attempted to formulate strategies for effectively penetrating the culture with the gospel. There is an urgent need for pre-evangelism tools aimed at garnering the thoughtful consideration of the Christian message by a society identified as postmodern, post-evangelical, and post-Christian by researchers and scholars. Apologetics has historically filled the needed role in presenting arguments and evidence designed to legitimize the Christian worldview in cultures where it was not seen as a viable option. This work proposes that a Missional Apologetic approach is also a viable option for promoting the Christian Worldview in the post-Christian world. The Missional Apologetic approach proposed must find its basis in the Mission of Christ (Missio Christi) as defined in the Gospels and Acts and as extended in the works of the Early Church apologists. The similarities of the culture versus Christian conflict in the early Christian era and post-Christian era cultures, makes it is necessary to take a deeper look at the apologists who defended the Christian faith in the pre-Christian culture. Taking a closer look at the apologies of men like Aristides, Justin Martyr, Tatian, and Tertullian can provide some principles that take the work of apologetics in the post-Christian culture to a higher level of effectiveness.