Skip to main content

Mere Orthodoxy exists to create media for Christian renewal. Support this mission today.

Readers Write about the Book: On Understanding and Apologetics

July 30th, 2013 | 2 min read

By Matthew Lee Anderson

Chalk this up as among the nicest notes I've gotten in a while:

I'm almost done with The End of Our Exploring and had to pop up from my reading chair to thank you for it. I've read the popular books on questioning that you mention in the beginning (Rachel Held Evans, David Dark, etc.) and I've read a fair bit of the faith-and-doubt books, but your book has a ... biblically immersed approach that I've found thrilling and new for this genre.

I cut my intellectual teeth at an apologetics camp after high school and its major contribution in my life was to make me defensive. Looking back at the camp now, I've realized that it taught me a rather large theoretical "worldview" system that was labeled "biblical" without ever actually making me interested in what the Bible had to say about my moment-by-moment walk with God - how as a Christian I live within the truth instead of possessing it myself. Ironically, I first understood the gospel two years *after* this camp experience when I visited L'Abri Fellowship for the first time and was confronted with the beauty of Christ, a beauty that your book amply shows.

I suspect this is a relatively common story.  I am a fan of apologetics, as the reasonable defense of Christianity is an essential element in the church's witness to the world.  But in their attempt to overcome the scandal of an evangelical mind, many conservative Christians outsourced the formation of the intellect to worldview camps and apologetics ministries.  That gets the whole process backwards, though:  the work of defending Christianity's truthfulness has to flow out of a deep hunger to understand it first.

There is one line of thought floating about that suggests that answers extinguish our desire.  But whether that is true depends entirely on the desires and the answers we discover, or so it seems to me anyway.  Some answers might be so marvelously strange, so infinitely wonderful, so comprehensive of us and everything else that they do not extinguish our desire but reorient it toward trying to make sense of the outline we have been given.

But then, I've written this down already.  If you have read the book, I would be very eager to hear your responses to it.  Feel free to leave them in the comments or email me.

Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is the Founder and Lead Writer of Mere Orthodoxy. He is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to our Faith and The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of Faith. Follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.