“The best responses to the questions people ask us about our faith are not those borrowed from textbooks, logically forced from biblical texts, or based on some ecclesiastically machined template. The best ‘defenses are those developed by individuals acting apologetically as they reflect on the questions being asked, the situations of the people asking them, and the resources available to answer them.” *
Apologetics can be problematic if we only want to regurgitate what we’ve eaten from traditional theological troughs. Good alliteration there huh? What we’ve learned form a book or classroom, absent from real life situations, may just be well reasoned but self-serving and ungraceful banter. If your apologetics is only making you feel better about yourself, then it’s quite possible that it’s parasitic. You might just be defending a position instead of a hope.
Advent Apologetics is about communicating joy, coherence, relevance, and hope, but also rightly handling the anxieties, difficulties, and concerns of others. Advent Apologetics is a dialogue or narrative. We enter in to other’s stories and share our own. Humans, whether we like it or not, don’t process this sort information in bullet points as well as in story form. We strive for bullet point apologetics because, if we’re honest, we don’t want hear other’s stories, and we really don’t have one of our own to tell. We’d rather go in blindly with assertions to deliver than dare to let our audience dictate the proper course of actionable conversation.
This series is called “Advent Apologetics” for the season, obviously, but I’m convinced that this “good will toward men,” in how we approach apologetics year-round has merit. What if we considered, at least for a season, that apologetics is about being drawn into the life scenes of other people and living in such a way as to have them written into ours?
Our text for today is 2 Corinthians 5:20
“So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” (NLT)
We model the values of the gospel in our response to people. Like it or not, we’ve been tasked with putting God’s graciousness on display, not our human arrogance or impatience. If we strive for patience, politeness, consideration, and helpfulness with others and their stories, then apologetics won’t be something we have to trained up for. It will be second nature.
* For the past 10 years, we have been ADVENTING during the holiday season by providing tons of food to the families in need during the holiday season. It’s not a fanfare and forget event. We go back throughout the year and visit with them, pray with them, and give them a message of hope. Please consider sponsoring one family this year. Find out more here.
* Adapted and edited from McGrath, Alister E. (2012-01-01). Mere Apologetics: How to Help Seekers and Skeptics Find Faith (pp. 158-159). Baker Book Group. Kindle Edition.