To be completely fair, this is probably more for me than for anyone else. At times, it seems as though I have a tendency to assume that the same mistakes that I’m making are the ones that many Christians out there are making. With that, my hope is that someone who actually is making the same mistakes as me might read this and that it would somehow bless them.
What I’m referring to is apologetics. More specifically, it’s about how we approach apologetics. Apologetics is generally described using 1 Peter 3:15:
15But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
1 Peter 3:15
Basically, apologetics is the whole idea of giving an answer for our faith. It is the explaining of not only what the Bible teaches, but how we can be confident about it. It seeks to answer questions about how we can feel certain about our faith based on evidential facts. The down-side of apologetics is that most people who practice it tend to use the same method…arguing.
In some circles, an “argument” is simply a matter-of-fact statement or premise that helps to lead to or support a conclusion. But, normally when we think of an “argument” we think of a heated, spirited, often volatile exchange between two or more people with opposing views.
One danger of apologetics is that it can go from the former to the latter without us even realizing it. Another danger of apologetics, and one that I particularly struggle with, is that rather than using it to point out reasonable and reliable evidence to support the truth of the claims of Christianity, we can use it try to disprove other faiths and beliefs.
While there is certainly a place for that sort of thing, it can sometimes become the primary focus of our apologetic. When that happens, we spend more time trying to show how someone else is wrong than we do trying to show that Jesus is truth. That is certainly a mistake that I have to be very careful of as it is very easy for me to start down that road.
When you think about it, though, it requires so much more effort doing it that way. There are so many different world religions out there. It takes so much time, effort, energy, research, reading, studying, etc. to seek out and identify areas of weakness in so many of these other faiths. It is so much easier, instead, to simply focus on why one believes in Christianity. At least then, there’s only one faith to deal with. Perhaps there are many different denominations, but the main thrust of the Christian faith remains.
Besides, with all the aforementioned denominations available, there is already so much to study and research just among the Christian faith. How then would we find the time to study the others so thoroughly? Study others, certainly, but spend the majority of your time studying your own faith and why you can feel confident in that faith.
When you focus more time studying why you believe what you believe, your understanding of your own faith deepens. And the more your faith deepens and your foundation grows, the more confidence you will have in your faith. This translates into your attitudes and actions because you’ll believe at a deeper level and, I believe, will be more likely to live out your faith in obedience.
Evangelizing will benefit from this as well. When people see that you have thought things through and you’re not just blindly following the faith of your parents just because you’ve never bothered to question anything, it will add strength and power to your own witness. In the end, it has the affect of being more likely to bring people to Christ than you would if you spent your time telling people that they are wrong.
What’s the point of all this? Simple. Don’t be like me. Don’t be argumentative. Don’t tell people how wrong they are. Show people how right Jesus is and let them come to that conclusion on their own by seeing you live out your faith and share the truth of Christ (always in love) with them.
What are some ways that you’ve inadvertently beat people over the head with Christianity?
Grace, love and peace!