I was listening to Dr. Frank Turek today, as I do many days, and I was troubled by one of his main focus areas. He often cites a statistic that three out of four young people leave the church/faith/christian religion when they go to college. His diagnosis of this problem is that they aren’t being taught apologetics from a young age, and are therefore not equipped to stand firm in their beliefs when they are confronted with a contradictory worldview, especially one espoused by a “wise” professor.
I would like to make two observations about this. First, if they are “leaving the church”, that probably means that they are not part of the true church in the first place. This is due, in part, to the current evangelical emphasis on walking the aisle and making a decision for Christ (usually after a high energy gospel message complete with heart tugging soundtrack), regardless of whether or not He has chosen you. The bottom line is that there are more false conversions than we would like to admit in the church. Don’t get me wrong, God does save people in those moments. My point is that He does that in spite of their works (making that decision), not because of them.
Second, a person can logically agree with the major tenets of Christianity while remaining an unbeliever. You can convince someone that objective reality points to God. You can convince someone that atheism is a corrupt worldview. What you can’t do is convince them to take out their heart of stone and put in a heart of flesh, be born again, or have faith in the one true God. Only God can do that. In my limited experience, and I am willing to budge on this, apologetics is a more useful tool for the believer. It isn’t a causal agent in belief, however it can bolster an already existing faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
I think Dr. Turek is a very smart man. I just think that he is a bit off on his analysis of the situation. I think the root cause of the statistic mentioned earlier is that those three out of four teens in the church are no more Christian than an outright atheist. Afterall, there are no degrees of Christianity. You are either hot or cold, on or off, light or dark.