Operational Apologetics: Faith Meets Socio-Politics

We live in a world that is predominantly anti-Christian. Biblical values, ethics and traditional morals are considered regressive and hateful, so it can be very difficult for some to negotiate such a culture. Mark Coppenger put it this way. “The greatest challenge to the life and witness of the church in our age is widespread moral confusion and denial of moral authority.”1 How exactly should the apologist (indeed, any Christian) respond to such a culture? 

First, it is important to note that Apologetics has two basic manifestations: 

1. Dialectical Apologetics-This is the logical discussion of ideas and opinions with the goal of establishing truth and advancing the gospel of Jesus Christ in the lives of individuals. 

2. Operational Apologetics-This is where the truths of the gospel are brought to bear on the operations of government, including all its resources and policies, impacting the social life of the community. What we will discuss in this paper is Operational Apologetics. 

Action Steps

It is important that we understand the reality that Apologetics is first and foremost action; it is living and advancing truth in concrete ways, not just arguing for any given position. The task of confronting culture and government in concrete ways might sound very dismal and maybe even hopeless, but that is only if you believe God is not able to combat the negative influences in culture and government. This does not mean that we have some assurance that our culture will be healed and healthy again. In fact, if we truly believe in the eschatology of Sacred Scripture, then we must accept the inevitability of a massive cultural breakdown and shift to a pagan worldview at some point before Christ returns. However, that does not excuse us from Operational Apologetics. There are three basic things the apologist can do strategically and effectively.

 1. Pray-When you pray, do not be afraid to pray against the enemies of Christ. So many Christians have been erroneously taught that we cannot pray against the enemies of the Lord but are to pray for them. It is not an either/or proposition. There is plenty of evidence of prayer against the enemies of the Lord in Sacred Scripture, as well as admonitions to pray for them. Give thanks, praise, and pray against the agents of evil. (1 John 5:16; 1 Chronicles 16:11; 2 Chronicles 7:14; Psalm 5; 10; 17; 35) 

2. Family-Marry, have children, and keep a home that is very conscious of traditional morals and values. Respect and teach traditional gender roles, reinforce healthy relationships between men and women, and pray together as a family. Find a church that is strongly family oriented and deeply rooted in orthodox Christian doctrine. Teach your children what we believe, why we believe it, and how to defend it. Don't be afraid of the hard cultural questions. 

3. Get Active-Change is not going to occur if you sit back on your couch and complain loudly while watching the nightly news. It changes only when you get up, go out and get active. Educate yourself on the latest apologetics scholarship by consistent reading and listening to the leading apologists. Be aware of local issues and politics and carefully consider how to respond to them biblically. Get to know your local politicians, city council, teachers, school board members, etc. Where you see the danger signs of cultural rot, get involved. Warn others, attend school board meetings, support good candidates for office, and perhaps even run for office yourself. Be engaged! Do all in your power to advance traditional Christian morals. 

Most importantly, recognize that you are in the midst of a culture that is always steeped in nihilism. Christian philosopher Nicolás Gómez Dávila wrote, “When respect for tradition dies out, society, in its incessant desire to renew itself, consumes itself in a frenzy.” Operational Apologetics seeks to preserve tradition and stop the frenzy. It is a culture of despair and destruction. Man, without a greater cause isn't able to find enough in himself alone to make life worthwhile. The current culture of the West has reduced people to their most basic animal-like instincts guided by the disordered principles of inherited depravity. Thus, it seeks to destroy that which is superior to it, seeing it as a threat to survival. In doing so, it also seeks to elevate the Self above all other things and people, focusing entirely on selfish desires and passions. In other words, it is just another attempt to be “gods”, following the lie of the serpent in Eden. Therefore, anything that would dare inhibit that self-deification, especially the morals, laws and Gospel of the only true God, becomes an obstacle and an existential threat. Keep in mind that 73% of Americans (a number that includes some Christians) oppose religion having influence in policy decisions by our government. When you understand that the morals we as Christians hold as objective and absolute are considered to be religious, this helps you to understand why even some Christians vote against policies that would advance some aspect of them. The Leftist will use a lot of flowery rhetoric at times to make his disordered passions sound like lofty humanistic compassion for all, but in reality, it is all simply the barking of demons who, in extolling the “freedom” of man from the archaic edicts of a culture and faith best left to the dustbin of history, are really reducing man to the vilest actions of his depraved heart. As Blaise Pascal wrote, “He who wants to play the angel ends up the beast.” You will not advance truth nor win souls by keeping your opinions to yourself and not placing them in the center of all social and political discourse. Natasha Crain notes that, “The dominant worldview of the culture around us-strident secularism-is fundamentally at odds with the biblical worldview.” She accurately states, “Silence won't take you much further in culture than speaking truth will. But it will take you further away from what God has called you to.”


It is the goal of a holistic apologetics method to change hearts and minds through both logical dialogue regarding truth and the gospel, as well as advancing those truths in the social sphere through a vigorous Operational Apologetics effort. This demands the apologist be involved in the public life of his neighborhood, city, state, and nation, advancing moral truth and goodness in social policy. A rejection of this aspect of apologetics is to be taken further away from what God has called us to do.