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Baucham touts ‘expositional apologetics’

MILL VALLEY, Calif. (BP)–Voddie Baucham, a Christian apologist, told students at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary that his goal “is not to make Christianity cool but to communicate it clearly.”

During a two-part lecture March 21-22, Baucham taught students to communicate the Gospel clearly through expositional preaching based on 2 Timothy 4:1-5. Such preaching, he said, is commanded by Jesus, helps pastors be prepared at opportune and inopportune times, and is “the only way we have moral authority.”

“If we are grabbing the text kicking and screaming out of context, are we preaching the Word?” Baucham asked, referring to topical preaching.

Expositional preaching is effective in apologetics, he said.

“There are a limited number of questions you will be asked, in only six to eight categories,” Baucham, pastor of Grace Family Baptist Church in Spring, Texas, said. “So if you understand the key biblical passages that address these categories and learn them in detail, then you will have an answer in context.”

Baucham said telling one’s own story is not sufficient in apologetics.

“If the best answer we can give is, ‘It changed my life,’ then any so-called ‘messiah’ is good enough, as long as he or she changes my life,” he said. “Expositional apologetics moves us out of the realm of ‘My story is better than your story’ to ‘My source of authority is reliable; your story is rooted in yourself. Have you ever been wrong?'”

He illustrated expositional apologetic preaching with a message that he said answered the four basic questions all people have: Who am I? Why am I here? What is wrong with the world? How can what’s wrong be made right? He first explained how secular humanism, the main competing worldview with Christian theism, answers those questions. Then, using Colossians 1:15-23, he explained how Christian theism answers those same questions.

Baucham also spent time in a question-and-answer session with students following the first lecture, fielding questions about youth ministry, age-graded ministry, one-on-one evangelistic conversations, his own discipleship experience and the emerging church.

Jimmy Cook, a master of divinity student from Arkansas, said Baucham had visited Cook’s introduction to preaching class before the first lecture.

“I had asked him what one skill is needed for preaching, and he said to find your own voice as a speaker,” Cook said. “So then I asked how I could find my authentic voice, rather than imitating others. His response was great: ‘Have people around you who love you and who’ll tell you you’re being a fake.'”

Baucham was the featured speaker at the annual Hester Lecture Series, named in honor of the late H.I. Hester, a longtime professor at Golden Gate and head of the department of religion at William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo.

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  • Amanda Phifer