How do we convince other Christians that apologetics is for them and not just for "academics?"

Good day Kasey,

How do I bring other members of my team (my senior pastor) that apologetics is not just confined to universities and philosophical debates. But for being prepared to respond to people’s serious questions about Jesus?
Thanks
Bill

Hey Bill-

I so appreciate your raising this question, because I’m right there with you on the need for churches to delve seriously into apologetics issues.

The truth is we all do “apologetics,” because apologetics is nothing more than “reasoned arguments or writings in justification of something” (that’s Merriam-Webster talking.)

We’re all going to argue for our positions. The only question is whether we will do so well or poorly! As my friend Mark Mittelberg points out, even those who deny the need for apologetics do so by arguing for why they don’t think we need it!

With that being said, sometimes apologetics does carry negative connotations, and there’s a very real caution to be found here. The apostle Paul himself tells us that “if I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”

I can speak to this, unfortunately, because I’m guilty of it! Out of an inner desire to look knowledgable, I can too often jump into conversations guns blazing and forget to have love, patience and compassion for the person I’m speaking to. In those situations, part of me feels like it’s almost better to remain silent - apologetics for selfish reasons is a lot more like having somebody clash cymbals together next to your ear than a loving, reasoned and persuasive articulation of the gospel.

Of course, I don’t know the details of your situation - it might be that this isn’t his concern at all. But if is the case that your pastor distrusts the idea of apologetics as compassionless head-knowledge, it might be worth it to demonstrate how concerned you are for that pitfall as well!

In my opinion, the best persuasion always comes when the other person can hear you articulate their deepest concerns and say “Exactly! I couldn’t have put it any better myself.”

James 3:17 “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.”

Love your passion for clear thinking brother! Thanks for this question!

Resources:

Here’s a list of amazing quotes about why apologetics is necessary, brought to you by The Poached Egg: https://www.thepoachedegg.net/2019/06/121-quotes-on-why-we-need-apologetics.html

And here’s a bonus quote, one of my favorites. It’s from from Christian philosopher Henry Stob:

“To become philosophical is the business of us all, and we always need more philosophy than we have. Life needs to be seen steadily and seen whole. This is but to say that it needs to be seen in philosophical perspective. The student has no call to dabble in philosophy; he is bound to throw himself into it with every energy of his soul. This does not mean he must heap up courses in school philosophy. It does mean that he must, in and out of school, love and pursue wisdom and be in never ending quest of cosmic understanding.”

2 Likes