Many apologists prefer to defend merely the essentials of the Christian worldview, choosing to avoid some of the more heated discussions and debates within the Church. However, many questions and challenges arise that go beyond the essentials into these debated details. Mark Whorton, in his book Peril In Paradise (to read my review, click here) addresses the importance of investigating the details of theology to develop a consistent worldview to defend against such challenges. Here are nine quotes from his book that goes into more detail on the importance of theology to the defender of the Christian worldview:
"The Christian faith is defensible and testable for the simple reason that it is true."
"If a Christian makes erroneous arguments from Scripture on a matter that the unbelievers know perfectly well, we should not expect them to believe the Scriptures on the more important matters of sin and salvation."
"When [our children] are confronted with the incompleteness and inaccuracies on which their creation worldview was established, the faith built on that foundation will be in jeopardy. If they come to think that the Bible is wrong in the first three chapters, they will likely reject the rest as well."
"If we dogmatically assert a simplistic and erroneous defense of our faith, then the substantive truth of our faith is marginalized and our children are at risk. If our children learn that we err on these matters, why would they believe us when we teach them of the death and resurrection of Christ"
"It is very important to recognize the distinction between paradigms and truth. Paradigms are human constructs--models that attempt to integrate distinct points of fact (the 'data' of revelation) into a consistent system from which we can make sense of our world. But as a human construct, a paradigm is fallible and incomplete, even when based on the infallible and complete truth of revelation. This subtle distinction is highly significant when it comes to analyzing our worldviews. Often what someone asserts as the clear reading of Scripture is actually an implication from a particular paradigm. So while the truth of God's word is not in question, His word demands that we test our paradigms to see if they are consistent with His revealed truth."
"Each of us has a mental picture of what God is like built from what we learn in church, Bible study, and our environment (family, friends, popular culture etc.). Expecting God to conduct Himself in a certain manner, we interpret life through the perspective of our paradigm. Many crises of faith come about when daily experience or the revelation of God does not fit our paradigm."
"God is not bounded by what is thinkable to His creatures. When God does not act in the way we think He should, it reflects the deficiencies of our understanding of God rather than flaws in His true nature. Instead of constraining God to act in a way that appeals to our way of thinking, we must allow for God to act in ways that are befitting a transcendent Creator with an eternal plan."
"When our interpretations fail to be consistent with God's revealed truth, we must realign ourselves with the truth and return to our testing. If we choose to advance an ideology that does not faithfully adhere to truth, then we have departed from the company of Christ."
"To bring people to a saving knowledge of Christ, we must first remove the roadblocks in their path. At every turn, apologists must be gracious as they tear down the lofty things raised up against the knowledge of God. While the argument might be won, the soul might be lost because of an attitude that fails to demonstrate Christ's love. The Christian spirit is as important as it substance."
I have also written a few posts on this topic:
Internal Debates and Apologetics
Is Your View Falsifiable?
Is Consistency Important?