Should all Christians engage in apologetics?

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August
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Should all Christians engage in apologetics?

#1

Post by August » Mon Dec 28, 2009 7:05 am

This is a tough question for me. I would love to see all Christians equipped to engage in apologetics, but sometimes I just cringe when I see how some Christians engage.

Of course the Bible instructs us all to be ready to give reasons for the faith that is in us. Most of us who have been doing this for a few years, and have been active in debates and studying the various apologetics are quite capable of handling atheist attacks, and expose their views as unsubstantiated drivel. The "New Atheists" like Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris have made it easier with their kindergarten level of argumentation, but even so it seems that more Christians are threatened by that, and become irrationally defensive, rather than confronting and dismantling it.

I am sometimes embarrassed by how other Christians engage, not knowing what their opponent is talking about and blasting out a set of Bible verses that are completely irrelevant, followed by a set of personal experiences. There is room for that, of course, when the time and place is right.

Maybe, for me, it is too much about winning the the debate rather than just stating the Christian position and leaving it at that.

What do you ladies and gents think about this?
Acts 17:24-25 (NIV)
"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. [25] And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else."

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Re: Should all Christians engage in apologetics?

#2

Post by ageofknowledge » Mon Dec 28, 2009 11:29 am

Bloody their noses when they try to burn us at the stake but do it with love :lol:

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Re: Should all Christians engage in apologetics?

#3

Post by cslewislover » Mon Dec 28, 2009 5:23 pm

If someone's "heart is in the right place" that will show through. And if this aspect of someone's argument has no relevance to the the other person, then hopefully they'll simply recognize this and move on. If someone just wants to argue, and things get emotional, then it kind-of doesn't matter anyway, as far as I'm concerned. What you speak of happens on both sides of the debate. Yes, we should all be prepared to give the reasons for what we believe, and that can be experiential things too. In the bible, so many people came to faith because of their experience with the living God, not because he rationalized it into them.
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Re: Should all Christians engage in apologetics?

#4

Post by Canuckster1127 » Mon Dec 28, 2009 6:32 pm

August wrote:This is a tough question for me. I would love to see all Christians equipped to engage in apologetics, but sometimes I just cringe when I see how some Christians engage.

Of course the Bible instructs us all to be ready to give reasons for the faith that is in us. Most of us who have been doing this for a few years, and have been active in debates and studying the various apologetics are quite capable of handling atheist attacks, and expose their views as unsubstantiated drivel. The "New Atheists" like Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris have made it easier with their kindergarten level of argumentation, but even so it seems that more Christians are threatened by that, and become irrationally defensive, rather than confronting and dismantling it.

I am sometimes embarrassed by how other Christians engage, not knowing what their opponent is talking about and blasting out a set of Bible verses that are completely irrelevant, followed by a set of personal experiences. There is room for that, of course, when the time and place is right.

Maybe, for me, it is too much about winning the the debate rather than just stating the Christian position and leaving it at that.

What do you ladies and gents think about this?
August, I'm generally in agreement with you. Combative argumentation under the guise of apologetics is something I know I've done in the past and I don't believe it has proven effective, and in some cases it could even be counterproductive.

I think many time we've become so focused upon what we believe to be essential truth, that we've lost sight of the fact that it may just be as great a heresy in God's eyes to be positionally, intellectually right and yet without the expression of the love of God in our lives, words and actions.

One can swing too far in either direction perhaps, but much of the apologetics that I've come in contact with and devoted much of my life to wrestling and understanding, pales in comparison I think now, to a mature believer walking in grace and love and knowing when to speak and when to keep silent and allow God to shine through the way we love Him and one another.

blessings,

bart
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Re: Should all Christians engage in apologetics?

#5

Post by zoegirl » Thu Dec 31, 2009 5:47 pm

August wrote:This is a tough question for me. I would love to see all Christians equipped to engage in apologetics, but sometimes I just cringe when I see how some Christians engage.
agreed
Of course the Bible instructs us all to be ready to give reasons for the faith that is in us. Most of us who have been doing this for a few years, and have been active in debates and studying the various apologetics are quite capable of handling atheist attacks, and expose their views as unsubstantiated drivel. The "New Atheists" like Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris have made it easier with their kindergarten level of argumentation, but even so it seems that more Christians are threatened by that, and become irrationally defensive, rather than confronting and dismantling it.

I am sometimes embarrassed by how other Christians engage, not knowing what their opponent is talking about and blasting out a set of Bible verses that are completely irrelevant, followed by a set of personal experiences. There is room for that, of course, when the time and place is right.

Maybe, for me, it is too much about winning the the debate rather than just stating the Christian position and leaving it at that.

What do you ladies and gents think about this?

I think there is this sense that is the warfare of ideas, that there is this sense that common courtesy can fly out the window. I have been to other Christian blogs were sarcasm and downright rude behavior is excused in the name of "winning" and defending the truth.

They also excuse it by using Christ's example of righteous anger at the temple and at the Pharisee's. While Christ certainly showed wrath and pointed out hypocrisy, He did so in His ultimate wisdom, a trait many of these bloggers at other sites don't have.

like the character House, we have this idea that it is far better to have a ruthlessly arrogant and brutal physician who can heal rather than a kindhearted doctor who can't, with this mistaken notion that the two ideas are mutually exclusive. In the world of medicine, you can be an obnoxious jerk and still heal the body. But in this war for souls (which is so many times mistaken for just a war of ideas), both brutal honesty and kind words can be effective tools when wielded wisely. But far too often, Christians online and offline wield their blunt honesty like a juggernaut, leaving wounded ponderers behind.

The problem in this new medium of the net, we really are bereft of that so important link to that other person that face to face interaction provides, so that we are often fighting blind. In this case, it would seem prudent to withhold the brutality until we see the other hand more clearly.
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Re: Should all Christians engage in apologetics?

#6

Post by Canuckster1127 » Thu Dec 31, 2009 5:58 pm

Christ's anger was directed most often at the Pharisees who were the epitomy of their society and generation of apologists and thelogians. His greatest criticism of them was not their knowledge but rather their unloving, and far too often hypocritical application of it. Again, truth without love is a hammer and counterproductive. Love without truth is not any better. However, the primary description of God throughout Scripture is as Love. Fail there, and truth just isn't all that effective.
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Re: Should all Christians engage in apologetics?

#7

Post by zoegirl » Thu Dec 31, 2009 6:07 pm

that's true, Bart, I forget that sometimes about the pharisees.
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Re: Should all Christians engage in apologetics?

#8

Post by cslewislover » Wed Jan 06, 2010 4:33 pm

August, while I was looking for something else, I found this article. I thought it might be of interest to you.

Six Enemies Of Apologetic Engagement
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Re: Should all Christians engage in apologetics?

#9

Post by zoegirl » Wed Jan 06, 2010 5:04 pm

that's a good link!!
"And we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Jesus Christ"

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Re: Should all Christians engage in apologetics?

#10

Post by cslewislover » Wed Jan 06, 2010 6:04 pm

Yeah, I wonder what his book is like? A Soul in Cyberspace? I like this from the article: "Truth without love is arrogance; love without truth is sentimentality."
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Re: Should all Christians engage in apologetics?

#11

Post by August » Thu Jan 07, 2010 5:38 am

cslewislover wrote:August, while I was looking for something else, I found this article. I thought it might be of interest to you.

Six Enemies Of Apologetic Engagement
You are right, I like that article. Says most of what I thought, only much better.
Acts 17:24-25 (NIV)
"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. [25] And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else."

//www.omnipotentgrace.org
//christianskepticism.blogspot.com

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Re: Should all Christians engage in apologetics?

#12

Post by ageofknowledge » Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:26 am

Who in their right mind would go through all the hard work to be a competent apologist whom most people won't like and whose ministry most people won't support when all you really have to do is dress up to look nice, smile, and say shallow simple affirmative sayings while repeating that if people give you all their money God will "open the windows of heaven" and pour out money into their bank accounts to become loved and rich?

I suppose the correct answer would be a caring, concerned, authentic Christian and not well... the many that chose the other path.

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Re: Should all Christians engage in apologetics?

#13

Post by zoegirl » Fri Jan 22, 2010 4:41 am

We all should be "able to provide the reasons why we believe" and we all should expect it to be a struggle, both with Christians and non-Christians. I suppose that's why there are those that are gifted in those people-skills that draw money from people, fund-raisers and such. People are stubborn, sheep-like...it will be tough
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Re: Should all Christians engage in apologetics?

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Post by B. W. » Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:44 am

zoegirl wrote:We all should be "able to provide the reasons why we believe" and we all should expect it to be a struggle, both with Christians and non-Christians. I suppose that's why there are those that are gifted in those people-skills that draw money from people, fund-raisers and such. People are stubborn, sheep-like...it will be tough
I said before - when men fail to what is right, women will!

I have been thinking of starting a bible study at home but kept neglecting this but my wife began one with her co-workers at our house and demanded that I teach it!

In doing this, I discovered how little doctrine is taught from our mordern pulpits. Many Christians do not know why they beleive what they believe and how to defend themslves from objections to our faith in Christ or from cultist for that matter. It is enlightening to see people get feed steak they can chew on and digest instead of Milk and go away happy and stregthened in the Lord!

So I thank the Lord for my wife giving me a swift kick - when men fail to what is right, women will!
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Re: Should all Christians engage in apologetics?

#15

Post by cslewislover » Fri Jan 22, 2010 11:29 am

B. W. wrote:
I have been thinking of starting a bible study at home but kept neglecting this but my wife began one with her co-workers at our house and demanded that I teach it!
:pound:
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