Listening In: Justin Bailey


WARREN SMITH, HOST: I’m Warren Smith, and today you’ll be listening in on my conversation with Justin Ariel Bailey, whose new book is Re-Imagining Apologetics: The Beauty of Faith in a Secular Age.

The practice of Christian apologetics—the discipline of providing a logical and persuasive defense for the Christian faith—is a Biblical mandate. I Peter 3:15 says, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you.”

Throughout the history of the Christian church, apologists have played a key role in the spread of the Gospel. Modern apologists point to Augustine and Pascal and C.S. Lewis as forefathers in the practice of apologetics. And today we are seeing something of a resurgence of Christian apologetics. As recently as a month ago I had Alisa Childers on the program. She has taken her place in a long and honorable line of Christian apologists.

My guest today, Justin Bailey, affirms the enterprise of Christian apologetics, but he says Christian apologetics must engage not just the intellect, but the imagination. He says one of the reasons such figures as C.S. Lewis have been so effective is that they do both. His new book, Reimagining Apologetics: The Beauty of Faith in a Secular Age, explains why and how an appeal to the imagination is vital if we are to make the Gospel attractive and convincing in a secular age.

Justin Bailey is a professor of theology at Dordt Univeresity, and he’s also an ordained minister in the Christian Reformed Church. 

Due to the COVID travel restrictions, we had to use a little imagination of our own to make this interview happen. I was in my home studio in Charlotte, and Justin recorded his half of our conversation in the studios of Dordt University in Souix Center, Iowa.

Justin Bailey, first of all, welcome to the program. I really found your book Re-imagining Apologetics, nourishing and challenging in many ways. And I want to start off with just a couple of real basic principles. For one thing you say that in the title of your book that we’ve got to re-imagine apologetics. Why? Why do we have to re-imagine apologetics? What’s limited about the way we’ve traditionally done, historically done apologetics in the secular culture in which we live right now?

JUSTIN BAILEY, GUEST: Yeah. Well, first of all, let me just say thanks so much for reading the book and thank you for wrestling with it and taking it seriously. That’s always a gift to an author to know that somebody is reading it and taking it seriously. 

Let me answer your question just by saying that I am certainly not against apologetics as it’s been traditionally practiced. I think that that is important. I think it should continue to be practiced. I just think that maybe it’s become a little bit top-heavy. And what I mean by that is that we have done apologetics lately in such a way that we imagine people to be something like a brain on a stick, and if they just can get the right answers or the right reasons to believe in their head, that that will take care of everything. So, I’m not trying to do away with the important ministry that traditional apologetics has played. I just want to take the imaginative context of belief more seriously. And so by re-imagining apologetics, I’m not calling for an end for the way that it’s traditionally been done though. I think there are some problematic tendencies about traditional apologetics. I’m calling for a more holistic approach to apologetics, a more integrated approach to apologetics, which actually is the way that apologetics has been practiced throughout the history of the church.

SMITH: Well, I want to talk about some of that history, but before I do that, or maybe as a way of getting into that, you talk about uppercase and lowercase apologetics in your book. What do you mean by that?

BAILEY: Yeah, so uppercase apologetics is apologetics with a capital a and it is a what we might call a magisterial project. It’s a top-down way of doing apologetics where I have my reasons for belief that I am giving to you and this is evidence that demands a verdict, to quote the title of Josh McDowell’s famous book. And it’s focused very much on the defense of Christian truths. And, again, there is a place for that, but I am seeking a different sort of apologetic, perhaps an apologetic with a little bit more patience, or perhaps some epistemic humility. It’s a particular posture in the way of doing apologetics that is not so magisterial, but is a ministerial necessity. And rather than simply being concerned with defending extracted Christian truths, it is interested in discerning God’s presence in the reflections and the imaginings and the hopes and the desires of the person who is being presented with Christian faith.

SMITH: Yeah. Well, let me say it this way, Justin, and then you tell me what’s wrong with what I’m saying. Traditional apologetics might say something like this: These are the 20 reasons that we can believe Jesus was raised from the dead, or these are the 10 key reasons that we can believe in the authority of scripture. But what you’re saying is that before we’re willing to really engage with those, you know, 20 bullet points or these 10 PowerPoint slides, there’s gotta be a why. There’s gotta be a desire. There’s gotta be a sense that not only that these things are true, but we’ve got to want them to be true. There’s got to be a sense of longing for that truth before we’re going to do the hard work of discovering whether they’re true or not. Is that a fair way to say it? 

BAILEY: Yeah. You’ve captured it rather well. Another way to say it would be that the traditional way of doing apologetics is interested in apologetics as sort of a science. Whereas I’m interested in apologetics as an art. And there’s an art to persuasion and there’s an art to conversation. And then there’s an art to engaging people in their imagination and not just in their intellect. Now that doesn’t mean that we do away with the science. The science gives us method. It gives us content, but we all know—those of us who are in relationships with people who might find themselves all over the spectrum of belief or unbelief or perhaps they belong to another religion—that belief is a lot more than just ideas. There’s a whole social relational cultural context, which is the soil of belief. It’s the context in which beliefs become believable.

And so simply to give somebody a list of reasons why they should believe without engaging that imaginative, existential context is really to do them a disservice. It’s interesting. It’s also not the way that faith has presented to us, is it? The Bible is not given to us in bullet point form. Perhaps maybe we wish it was. We wish that there was just, these are the things that you should believe because maybe we would argue less. But what God has done instead is given us really a narrative form, a story of how he has engaged with the history of Israel and has showed up in the person of Jesus Christ and has worked through the Holy Spirit and the church. And this is the primary form that we’re given is this story which requires us to use our intellect, of course, but prior to that, it requires us to engage our imagination

SMITH: Well, and what you say and what you said just a few moments ago and what you say in the book is that historically, that is the way that we’ve understood apologetics. You quoted Blaise Pascal who famously said, and I’m going to read you this quote, “Men despise religion. They hate it and are afraid it may be true. The cure for this is first to show that religion is not contrary to reason, but worthy of reverence and respect. Next, make it attractive. Make good men wish it were true. And then show that it is.” We do the second part pretty well as modernists, but we don’t do that first part very well, do we? Making them wish it were true.

BAILEY: You’re exactly right. And that’s the level that I’m hoping to engage my readers and to engage the discipline is especially in a context where we no longer assume that people think that Christianity is good for the world. For parts of our history, at least in this country, it has been a broad consensus that Christianity is not only true, but also good. And we’ve sort of gone through a paradigm shift or in the midst of a paradigm shift where many people are not doubting just the truth of Christianity, but also its goodness. Is this even good for the world? And prior to both truth and goodness is beauty. And my argument is really that though—beauty and goodness and truth, all three of these things make claims on us. You must change your life because these are things that give us something of reality. Beauty is the most powerfully felt, but it’s always the one that can be the most deceptive, right? There’s lots of things that may appear attractive to us or may appear lovely to us. And so for us to engage the truth of faith or for us to get reality right, we can’t just take the truth context into account. We also have to think about the beauty and the goodness. And beauty is measured by goodness and goodness is measured by truth, but that’s not the way we experienced them. We experience it in reverse. We experience beauty first and that leads us to goodness, which then leads us to truth.

SMITH: Well, and in fact that’s kind of a key point, isn’t it? I mean, you can’t separate these three. If something is not beautiful then it is not as true or as good as it might otherwise be in our telling of that truth. Is that a fair statement?

BAILEY: You’re exactly right. To live well is to respond rightly to reality. And when we respond rightly to reality, we are responding to a beauty that is good and is grounded in truth. There’s this great quote by theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar. I think I mentioned it in the book where he talks about when we separate the one sister from her two sisters, we lose all three. When we when we try to do just one—perhaps just truth to the exclusion of beauty and goodness, or even if we were to just do beauty to the exclusion of goodness and truth—we end up actually losing all three.

[BREAK]

SMITH: Welcome back. I’m Warren Smith. And today you’re listening in on my conversation with Justin Bailey. His new book is Re-imagining Apologetics. Let’s get right back to that conversation.

Justin, I’d like to drill down into your book just a little bit and I’m going to start very near the beginning because after having read the entire book, I come back to the introduction and and I’m very taken by how this one little section in the very beginning of your book in some ways encapsulates the whole book. It’s a quote that you begin your introduction with from a 21 year old student named Daniel. And Daniel says “When we’re in church and I’m listening to the preaching, it’s like you’re weaving a spell. I believe and the world makes sense to me. But then I walk out the door of the church and the spell is broken.” And you use that quote to kind of set up this idea of enchantment versus disenchantment. The idea that as apologists, as Christians, that a part of our goal, a part of our task, a part of our mission is to make stronger spells, to create an environment where Christianity is not perceived merely as true, but is enchanting to the imagination, to the whole person. Do I have that right?

BAILEY: You have that right, yeah. That conversation was really transformative for me because of how well it was put, but also because it represented and summed up many of the conversations I was having with young adults, with emerging adults and the way that they talked about their faith. I was rather adept at the traditional way of doing apologetics. And yet I was sensing there is this disconnection from the students between Sunday or between the times when they were in church and then the rest of life, that it wasn’t coherent. It didn’t fit together. The Christian story they felt was true, but it wasn’t compelling to them. It wasn’t beautiful to them. And so this is one of the reasons why, while serving as a pastor, at the time I went back to school and now I’ve ended up teaching as an academic and writing this book. It really is the result of my own quest to my own questions of how best to minister to students, to young adults who are feeling very acutely, that sense of disenchantment.

SMITH: Well, in some ways, too, and again, I want to get the language right that you used in your book. You say that’s, in some ways, the difference between an apologetics of despair and apologetics of hope. Can you unpack those two phrases for me?

BAILEY: Sure, yeah. An apologetic of despair is the way that we have traditionally approached secular worldviews. So, for example, you might try to show that a secular worldview without any concrete basis or objective basis for truth or meaning is incoherent and leads to despair. Francis Shaffer called this taking the roof off. It’s very common in a presuppositionalist method, for example. Showing how any other foundation other than the Christian faith leads to despair. And I think that there’s a place for that as well, but I think it ought to be also balanced with the other side of the equation, which is hope. And what I mean by that is that people have desires that orient their quest for what is true. Things that they hope are true. A vision of the world that they see, a vision of the world that they walk around with, that is intuitive, that this felt before it could be even articulated in beliefs. And so an apologetics of hope operates on that same existential register as far as how livable something is or how capacious, how big is it. Is it able to make sense of reality? But it moves in the opposite direction. It seeks to say, what is God doing already in the life of this person and specifically in their hopes and their desires and not just trying to deconstruct their worldview. 

SMITH: Justin, there are a couple of figures in your book that I want to get you to say more about. Some of them are more theological and philosophical figures. And I’m thinking, for example, of Charles Taylor and Friedrich Schleiermacher. The others are more on the artistic side. And those are folks like, for example, George MacDonald and Marilyn Robinson. I want to talk about the philosophers, theologians first. We’ve already talked about Pascal and how he was in some ways—and, again, my words, not your words, so correct me if I’m wrong—kind of a model for the way we ought to do apologetics. He understood sort of that scientific approach, but he also understood the need to appeal to the whole person to make Christianity not just seem true, but attractive to men and women of goodwill. That experiment was tampered with a little bit by Friedrich Schleiermacher. Can you say more about him, who he was and why you began your conversation at least on the philosophical, theological side with him?

BAILEY: Yeah, so Friedrich Schleiermacher is a very, very influential theologian in the history of modern theology. In fact, most readings of Schleiermacher—and I have sympathy with these readings—see Schleiermacher is sort of the point at which modern theology went wrong. And what happened with Schleiermacher is he was encountering all of these objections from his unbelieving friends who were artists and aesthetes. They were interested in music and art. And they were not interested at all in the historic Christian faith. And so what Schleiermacher tried to do in his speeches to what he called “culture despisers of religion.” It’s a great phrase. People with a lot of culture, but they hate religion. And what he tried to do is revise and reframe the Christian faith in terms of experience. So, underneath Christianity, the most foundational thing about it is not truth, but a particular religious experience of dependence. And so he tried to build a theological, really an apologetic—he’s one of the first theologians to separate apologetics, actually, from traditional dogmatic theology. And he tries to build an apologetic and also a theology out of a different starting point, which is the starting point of religious experience. Now, because of that starting point, there are lots of ways that Schleiermacher’s project goes wrong. And I am not trying to affirm or approve of his whole project so much as his starting point. I’m very interested in the sort of people that Schleiermacher was trying to reach—artists and people with “culture” who have rejected Christian faith, but have found deep what we might call even religious meaning in popular media, in sports, in the visual arts and things like that. And so I bring up Schleiermacher as a starting point to say where did this go wrong? And how can we learn from Schleiermacher’s critics? And there’s two sides to this. Maybe some more conservative critics and then some more progressive critics. The conservative critics are really interested in, well, you’re disconnecting the project from truth. And the, I don’t know if progressive is the right word, but the, what we might call post-liberal critics are saying you’re disconnecting it from the church. So these are the two conversation partners that I have in the second chapter as I trace how can we affirm Schleiermacher’s basic impulse, but keep it connected to historic Christian faith, to a desire to get reality right. And, of course, to the practice of the local church. 

SMITH: That’s right. I mean, Schleiermacher, just to be clear, I mean, he was an enlightenment figure, I guess. Born in the late 1700s and died in the early 1800s. So he’s really a product of the enlightenment in many ways. And a lot of people would say he’s also the father of the higher criticism and the liberal theology that we kind of saw come to sort of full fruition in the late 19th and earliest century predecessor of Karl Barth, for example, who is, let’s just say I have problems with Karl Barth, even though, you know, obviously I can’t deny his power and importance. So we’ve got him on sort of one end of the philosophical continuum here. We have another figure, Charles Taylor, on the other. Charles Taylor, I think you would say, might be a little bit more of an exemplar for us. Someone that we can maybe take a little bit more from partly because he operates more in our historical context.

BAILEY: Yeah. Yeah. So, Charles Taylor is a Canadian philosopher whose book A Secular Age is one of the most important philosophical treatments of secularity. And I follow Taylor and tell the story of the secular shift that he tells which is a very interesting story because the way that the story of secularity is usually told is what’s called a subtraction story. It assumes that the world was never enchanted, that all the enchantment is something that we added because we didn’t understand things. And so now that we understand everything in our contemporary context, we can subtract all of that enchantment stuff out of it. What Charles Taylor does is tells the opposite story. He says, it’s one thing to say that you’ve subtracted it. But what if the other story is actually the case? That it would be less like emerging from the cave of a superstition and into the sunlight of scientific certainty. It would be more like building a fortress over yourself and believing then that the fortress is all that there is. And so what we do is we enclose ourselves in what’s called an imminent frame that shuts out the transcendent as best we can. And this is the story that Taylor is trying to tell. And so he says if that’s the case, that desire for religious depth and meaning is not going to go away, but what’s going to happen is we’re going to look within rather than from without. So rather than the transcendent light of the sun streaming through, we begin to come up with our own lights, fluorescent lights that will light up our secular fortress that we’ve built. And so that’s the story that I follow Taylor in. And I said, okay, so now what do we do if we’ve emerged into this time, this secular age in which people look within before they look without, how do we meet people where they are? If these are the facts on the ground, how do we meet people in their desire for authenticity? 

SMITH: So in a way, if I could summarize, what Taylor is saying is that the enlightenment experiment, the modernist experiment with all of its press about opening up the world and giving us the benefits of science to see the world in a fuller and more complete way has, in fact, limited our understanding and view of the world to the point that we either reject or are completely blind to the transcendent. Is that a fair summary? 

BAILEY: That’s right. Yeah. One of my favorite literary examples of this is in C.S. Lewis’s book The Silver Chair. And if your listeners have read that book, it tells the story of these two children who go underground into this underground world. And there a witch tries to enchant them into believing that her world is all that there is, and that there is no world above the surface. And that’s a really good picture of the story that Taylor is trying to tell is that what we’ve sort of done is we’ve gone underground. We’ve built this fortress over us, which now shuts out the provocations of the real world, the world that is filled with enchantment and transcendence and meaning and all of those things. And I want to say because that is the real world, at least as I understand it, it’s going to continue to break through. It’s going to continue to show up. It’s there. Transcendence is there. And so we need to learn how to discern that even while people have tried to shut it out.

[BREAK]

SMITH: Welcome back. You’re listening in on my interview with Justin Bailey. Let’s get right back to that conversation.

Justin, in the second segment, we talked a lot about the folks that were the philosophical and theological underpinnings and context for where we find ourselves today. What I’d like to do now is pivot in our conversation and talk about some folks that you discuss in some detail in the book, who you think are, I think it’s fair to say, would be exemplars for us as Christians today to help re-enchant our imaginations, and to allow us to provide a more robust holistic apologetic. One of those characters is George MacDonald, the famous fantasy writer. Can you say something about him and why you think he’s so important?

BAILEY: I’ll just say that when I was writing the first part of the book, I was reading a lot of philosophy and doing a lot of theology. And then I began to think if you’re writing the book about the imagination, then you really need to consult those who are most adept in the imagination, which are artists and poets and writers. And so I decided that I really needed to take writers or someone who works in the imagination as my models for what can we learn from these people who are adept in the imagination for our practice of imaginative apologetics. So, George MacDonald was a 19th century fantasist and fiction writer and poet. And he was the figure that most people know of him because C.S. Lewis writes in his biography that George MacDonald’s work baptized his imagination, years before he actually ever came to faith in Christ. And so this was one of the reasons why I went to MacDonald was because C.S. Lewis has obviously had this incredible impact on the imaginations and faith of many Christians and so I wanted to get underneath that and learn from MacDonald. MacDonald is also working right at a time in Victorian England in the 19th century when unbelief and being publicly an atheist or publicly not a Christian was becoming socially acceptable. And there were lots of narratives of deconversion and unconversion that were being published. And so MacDonald is right at the tip of the spear when this begins to happen. And so he does his work, he does his writing, responding to these sorts of objections and the way he responds is in a thoroughly imaginative way.

SMITH: Well, you know, one of the things that has always fascinated me about George MacDonald, and I’ve got to confess to you that I know more about him, than I know him personally from reading his books, but he not only influenced C.S. Lewis in a profound way and others that we might think of as being Christian thinkers, like JRR Tolkien and GK Chesterton and Madeline L’Engle, for example, they were all heavily influenced by by George MacDonald. But he influenced a lot of writers that we don’t think of as Christian writers. I think of, for example, J.M. Barry, for example, and Frank Baum who wrote the Wizard of Oz and Mark Twain. Mark Twain’s later books, especially The Mysterious Stranger, which has got some really strange stuff in it about God and the afterlife, apparently was also influenced by George MacDonald as well. And in fact, I think it was Oswald Chambers who we know today as having written My Utmost for His Highest kind of a devotional book once said that he thought it was a sign of the decline of our age that more Christians don’t know George MacDonald. 

BAILEY: Yeah. It’s really interesting. The reason why he is not more widely read and part of that reason might be because C.S. Lewis who introduced probably most people who read MacDonald, read him because they come to him through Lewis. But the funny thing is that Lewis also introduces him as not that great of a writer. He’s a Christian teacher, but he’s not a great writer. And in some ways, Lewis is both MacDonald’s greatest asset, but he’s also this albatross that positions us to read MacDonald a certain way. I will say MacDonald is an acquired taste. Whenever somebody asks me to recommend MacDonald to them, I have a very long answer that I give depending on what they’re looking for. There are lines in MacDonald that are just absolute gold. And then there is a lot of, I don’t want to call it fluff, but there’s a lot of things that people might have to wade through to find that gold. But he’s had an incredible impact, not just  on those writers, but as I’ve studied him as I’ve read him on my own imagination.

SMITH: Yeah. Well, I think that’s right. I think that may be why I haven’t read more George MacDonald than I have. But I’m going to put you on the spot here, Justin, and ask you, what would you recommend to some of our listeners who have read C.S. Lewis or read Tolkein and kind of, you know, want to go to the fountainhead, go upstream to the spring, so to speak, what would you recommend? The Princess and The Goblin, maybe? Which had a huge impact on GK Chesterton, or would there be something else?

BAILEY: Yeah, certainly. I think that’s a really good place to start is the Curdie books. So The Princess and The Goblin, The Princess and Curdie. There’s a short fairytale called The Golden Key that is beautiful. The Light Princess. All of those are very accessible. I can read them to my children. If you want something a little bit more substantive than that, he has his fantastic works, which are Phantastes. This is the work that Lewis said baptized his imagination because he encountered in it holiness for the first time. It’s a difficult read, though. It’s sort of a fever dream. And it’s something to read maybe alongside others who can help you make sense of it. And then of course perhaps his greatest and most confusing work is Lilith, which he wrote at the end of his life and was kind of his take on Dante. He also has a bunch of books that are called realistic fiction. And in the chapter, I talk about a trilogy, which is the Thomas Wingfold trilogy. The first book in that series is Thomas Wingfold, Curate. And it’s about a pastor or a minister who is serving and has a crisis of faith and begins to doubt the existence of God. And he works through that crisis as he is in ministry through the course of the book. And then there’s two more books in which he serves as a mentor figure to others. So I would recommend as far as especially if somebody is reading my book and wants to go further, I feel like MacDonald at his apologetic best in the Wingfold trilogy.

SMITH: Yeah. Well, I appreciate those recommendations. Listen, I could talk about George MacDonald for a while. I find him to be fascinating. A lot of people don’t know George MacDonald’s grandson was a Hollywood screenwriter that worked with people like Robert Wise, who was the director of The Sound of Music and John Houston, who is Angelica Houston’s father and was a great, Hollywood sort of golden age of Hollywood guy in and of himself. So anyway, that’s a side trip that we can’t take today because I want to, Justin, try to land this airplane here with your book and talk about one more character before we kind of bring things to a close. Another artist, another writer, another novelist, and that’s Marilynne Robinson, who of course, is writing today, and, in fact, Marilynne Robinson has a new novel out Jack. I haven’t read it yet. Have you read it?

BAILEY: It just came in the mail yesterday. So it was a good mail day, but I haven’t had a chance to get into it yet. I need to set aside time for it,

SMITH: But tell me why Marilynne Robinson is so important to your project in Re-imagining Apologetics.

BAILEY: Sure. So I was looking for a contemporary writer and I had a few in mind of who I could use. And then I read a review in the New York Times of Marilynne Robinson’s book Gilead. And so this book is a book about an Iowa minister who lives in the middle of nowhere Iowa on the prairie. And it’s about sort of the way that he sees the world, his vision of the world, which is filled with God. And this book won the Pulitzer prize. And so I was reading this review by an atheist writer in the New York Times. And the writer said I’m an atheist, but this book allows me to see what it would be like to live in a world that is deeply fallen, but loved by its creator. And I thought that’s exactly it. Because the issue that we have is there are some things about faith that you can really only understand from the inside. And so how do you help somebody who’s on the outside to understand something that can only be really understood from the inside? Well, the imagination here offers us this profound gift because it’s precisely with the imagination that we are able to see through other people’s eyes. And so especially in Gilead, but also in the other books that she’s written, she offers us a glimpse of the world through shocked eyes of wonder, a world in which the world is bursting with meaning and dripping with glory because of God’s presence. And so I thought that if it was enough to make this secular New York Times writer see the world from a Christian lens and appreciate it and say, this is actually beautiful. I don’t know if it’s true, but it’s beautiful. Then I said, we can learn a lot from this writer.

SMITH: Well, what you just said—and I want to test this theory out with you. What you just said in some ways would add Marilynne Robinson to this Pantheon of writers that I think a lot of folks that kinda care about these issues would say include Flannery O’Connor and Walker Percy, and, you know, C.S. Lewis and JRR Tolkien, of course. Are there others? What about Wendell Berry, for example, would he be somebody that you would put into this category?

BAILEY: Yeah. Wendell Berry would be a great one. You mentioned Walker Percy already, and these are all authors that I considered along the way, Kathleen Norris, you know, some writers who are writing and engaged with the imagination and offering us really, what I would say is an apologetic of a certain sort. Now they probably would not want to call what they do apologetics because of the way that we think of apologetics in the narrow sense. But in a very broad sense, this is apologetic because what this is doing is opening the door for faith by sketching a picture of the coherence and the beauty and the imaginativity, the generativity of Christian faith. And this is an important and profound service that artists can offer to us

SMITH: That sort of transitions me, Justin, maybe to an end to our time together. You talk about at the end of your book the apologetics of culture care. And in some ways, I think that’s what you just described. The idea that the artistic enterprise of making, of creating is in and of itself an apologetic for the ultimate maker for God himself. Is that too trite or cliche? Or is it okay to say it that way?

BAILEY: No, I think you’re right. That one way to say it. So I call it the apologetics of culture care, and that is a phrase from — culture care is a phrase from Makoto Fujimura the artist who is at the moment, writing a book called I think Art and Faith that I’m sure it will say many of these things better than I could. And culture care is the idea of making in a way that is responsive to gratitude, gratitude to God for his grace that leads to generosity. And the reason why we make is because of a desire to share in divine generosity. And that leads to generativity that opens up possibilities for the world rather than closing them down. And so if sometimes the traditional apologetic becomes a little bit too much fixated on the culture war, perhaps a re-imagined apologetic can offer a supplement in an apologetics of culture care that is casting visions, opening up space, sketching possibilities for what faith in Christ opens up for the world. 

SMITH: Well, Justin Bailey, thank you so much for your book. You can probably tell, based on our conversation, that I’ve found it to be deeply encouraging and deeply nourishing, and I’m really grateful that you wrote it and thank you so much for the opportunity to have this conversation with you about it. 

BAILEY: Yeah. It was such a pleasure, Warren. Thank you.


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