Hope for the Hood

Below is the broad outline for the apologetics course/book that I am working on. This is only part of the D. Min. project. WTS calls it the Ministry Model. The lessons will follow the broad organizational structure of Method, Commending the Faith, Defending the Faith, and Attacking Unbelief. The following are themes I intend to focus on:

Method

Covenantal Apologetics. Why apologetics? Define apologetics. Delineate its covenantal nature. What are the key elements of a covenantal apologetic? Why is covenantal apologetics helpful as an apologetic methodology in the urban context (what does CA bring to the table?)?

The Urban Context: Ghetto Nihilism and the Crisis of Identity. Trace the theme of the crisis of identity in the urban context and how it has resulted in Ghetto Nihilism, hopelessness in the hood.

Applied Apologetics. Apologetics must be applied to specific contexts and in specific ways. Will also focus on the role of the apologist and the Holy Spirit in the apologetic task. How does apologetics relate to evangelism? How does apologetics relate to the church? How does apologetics relate to discipleship?

Commending the Faith

Christianity as a Belief System. Christianity is a system of truth. And as a system, it must be defended as a whole.

Christianity as a Worldview. Founded upon the belief system of Christian doctrine, Christianity is a way of living and thinking.

Christianity as a New Identity. Christ reshapes our identity and re-creates us. Our image is restored and redeemed. We are no longer dead in our trespasses and sins. We are now alive together with Christ. We are no longer “in Adam” but “in Christ.” And this changes everything.

Christianity as a New Family. Belonging, identity, and purpose are all found in Christianity. The Body of Christ is the foundational family. Christ’s love for the church serves as the basis for all are biological families and spiritual families.

Christianity as a Way of Hope. Our restored image brings with it hope. We, above all, have joy and hopefulness even in the most difficult of circumstances.

Defending the Faith

Why do we need to defend the faith? The need for deconstructing false beliefs about Christianity.

The Problem of Evil and Hopelessness in the Hood. Why is the hood so hopeless? All hopelessness stems from Christ-less-ness.

Christianity and Racism. Is Christianity just a white man’s religion? Christianity sadly has its identity wrapped up in the understanding of being a white man’s religion. Therefore, how would it ever appeal to the African American. This is a question of identity. Christianity as a tool of oppression.

Islam and its Variants. The rise of traditional Islam in the hood. Nation of Islam. Other variations of Islam. Islam is appealing because it deals with the African American identity. It creates belonging and provides a sense of identity, dignity, and purpose.

Other Common Objections to Christianity. Indifference and Irrelevance. Need to make the case for the absolute relevance of Christianity. And also, be clear that there are only two types of people in this world. There is no middle ground, no neutrality with Christ. You are either “in Christ” or you remain under the wrath of God, “in Adam.”

Attacking Unbelief

How do we attack unbelief? With gentleness and respect. We must become listeners. Give the benefit of the doubt. Love our friends and our enemies. Speak the truth in love.

Idol Hunting. What are the surface idols and deep idols of the hood? How may we address those idols? Idols are rarely perceived. We need to be able to discern them and point them out as a key element of our apologetic witness.

Objections are Excuses. We need to lovingly point out how common objections to Christianity are often not really objections at all, but simply excuses. They are fig leaves that cover up the true reasoning for objecting to Christianity. Often those objections are moral. At war with God. Children of Satan. Living in darkness. Don’t want to change.

Inability of Unbelief to Sustain Itself. Apologists must point out the inherent brokenness and contradictoriness of unbelieving belief systems. At root, unbelief is a flat out rebellious denial and rejection of the Lordship of God. Inward curve upon itself.

Conclusion

Christ is the Only Hope for the Crisis of Identity in the Urban Context. Make a call for belief. It is all about changed hearts founded upon renewed minds supported by godly living. The goal is nothing short of gospel-transformation.

 

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