A Quick Guide to Apologetics

For over a year now, I’ve been listening to a fantastic podcast called “Unbelievable?” produced by Premier Christian Radio in Britain hosted by Justin Brierley. The show focuses on discussions between two viewpoints, often Christian and non-Christian in order to create a space to think through issues relating to life and spirituality. And I have learned one gigantic thing about the way we do apologetics. (Apologetics is the defense of a belief, often used for defense of Christian belief.)

But are you ready for an in-depth explanation of how to make your apologetic efforts more effective?

Here it is:

Talk less.

Unimpressed? Maybe. But what I’ve noticed about the way Christians have been trying to change culture and defend their faith is that the method used is often debate. Debates, from my experience, usually end in talking over one another and shouting past one another in an effort to defeat the opponent one has been practicing against. Debate rarely ends well for either party. (Though, I have heard some very civil, polite exchanges on the podcast… fewer than I’d like, though.)

So how did Jesus defend his actions? Well, be asking questions and getting to the root of the problem others had with him and his ministry. It’s kind of a joke now in many Christian circles, but Jesus often answered questions with questions. The wisdom he showed in asking a question that made the interrogators stop and rethink their own presuppositions is still available.

While we have much teaching of Jesus and the apostles, we have as much or more of their actions. How did Jesus start many of his teaching sessions? With healing and care of the poor and oppressed. How did Paul or Peter get a crowd to share the good news that Jesus is King? By healing and care of the poor and broken.

While I can see some value in having an in depth response to the teleological debate, the debate on cosmology, or an answer to evolutionary biology, a better response may be: “I was once selfish and broken, and now Jesus has changed and healed me to better love and serve others.”

Our actions will often add more force to our words than the cleverest response. What actions do you and your family use to show how Jesus has changed you? What makes your family different in a way that shows others that Jesus is King in your home?

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