Try this experiment. Look at your high-school yearbook (or your parents’, if you’re under 25). Now pull out those old clothes and wear them to your next job interview or public presentation. What impact will you make?
Outdated arguments, like old fashions, make a difference. Outdated apologetics can ruin more than your first impression; they can destroy your credibility.
Unlike God’s unchanging Word, scientific models change all the time as new discoveries and evidence come to light. This is as true for creationists as it is for evolutionists. For instance, scientific models of the atom changed many times in the twentieth century alone. If we base our creation apologetics on outdated science, educated hearers may conclude that our faith is as shaky as our science and turn away from the gospel. What a responsibility to keep up to date!
Before you bring up an argument you learned years ago, ask yourself these questions to determine whether you need to freshen up a bit first:
Is This Argument Based on a Bible Truth or a Scientific Model?
God’s Word never changes, so an argument based solidly on the Bible will not be wrong. (But don’t confuse an interpretation, no matter how well reasoned, with a clear statement of Scripture. For instance, Genesis 1:6 clearly states that God created a “firmament,” but the idea that the firmament was a vapor canopy is an interpretation.)
Science, however, changes constantly. This does not mean that all science stands on shaky ground, but some is shakier than the rest. So if you know a scientific field is especially subject to change, don’t trust something you learned years ago.
How Old is the Information?
Where did you hear or read it? If your information comes from articles or videos that are 10 or 15 years old, you may be attacking an error nobody believes anymore, or you may be promoting an idea new discoveries have disproved. Such errors can hurt your credibility with an informed listener.
Do I Understand It, and Do I Understand the Opposing Viewpoint?
A little learning is a dangerous thing. When we learn how a new scientific concept supports the Bible, we can get so excited that we are tempted to assume we understand this complex subject fully, though we’ve heard only a simplified version. More reading usually unveils many unstated intricacies we never knew.
Science is very complicated, and if you’re talking to someone who is fairly well educated, it’s easy to slide quickly into areas where you are not a master. In such a case, it is better to confess your ignorance and stick to things you know, especially Scripture.
How Much Study Must I Do Before I Am Prepared?
If we had to wait until we had a complete answer for every question, we would never start talking about our faith. Learning the basics is possible for any believer. Several creationist organizations have updated books or series on the basics. And you can stay abreast of the latest developments by regularly skimming the news section of this magazine or visiting AnswersinGenesis.org, ICR.org, or other good creationist websites.
The most important quality in defending the faith, however, is Christlike humility. Nobody expects us to know everything. There is no shame in saying, “I don’t know,” or, “Let me look into that and get back to you.”
If you prepare appropriately (2 Timothy 2:15) and humbly rely on God and His Word, the Holy Spirit will give you the words you need (Luke 12:12).