Thursday, April 21, 2011

Apologetics - Hurtful or Helpful?

Many homeschool moms are using Christian apologetics curricullum for their children. And although I'm all for teaching creation science, I've always felt there's something not quite right about apologetics.  Not to mention the very word, "apologetics".  Sounds like "apologize". And apologizing for faith in Jesus Christ is something I will never do.
Romans 1:16
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.


An article called The Problem with Apologetics is a good example to why practicing apologetics is not only unnecessary but dangerous.  If you took the time to read that link, it's pretty sobering isn't it?


The whole point of apologetics is to prove God to a rebellious mind.  But think about it in another context.  Nobody walks into an art museum and publicly declares that the paintings evolved right onto the walls. Paintings insist there was a painter, Creation insists there is a Creator.   I believe the whole matter is settled in Romans chapter one.  Everyone knows and understands God through His creation. Everyone.  So doesn't debating and "proving" God to fools make one a fool? 


It may be a misguided desire to see lost souls come to Christ, but I'm inclined to think that debaters like to feel intellectually superior.  But whatever the reason, causing a sinner to lose an intellectual debate does not impel him to fall on his knees in worship and reverence and humility.  Jesus is a sinner's only hope. 


While evangelism reaches the conscience - apologetics deals only with the intellect.


Therefore I believe apologetics is merely an exercise in pride.  And debate is its ugly twin sister.  Both are vanity which the word of God commands us against. 


Titus 3:9
But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.


Romans 1:29
Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, DEBATE, deceit, malignity; whisperers.

 
When a believer is tested and tried, the world is watching.  They want to see if the fruit is "real".  When real grapes are squeezed, they ooze juice while plastic grapes only crack.  Our testimonies are being lived out for the world to see and real Christians are not told to "apologize" or "defend" their faith. but to earnestly contend for the faith. 


Jude 1:3
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints..

 
So as I see it, we should be studying the word of God, letting our light so shine that others might see our good works and glorify the father, and contending for our faith.

3 comments:

Samuel Andrew said...

Although I agree with your concern about pride and the intellectual superiority of 'winning an argument,' 1 Peter 3:15 tells us to always be ready to give an 'apologia' for the hope that you have, and to do it with gentleness and respect. Apologia means 'defense' or 'answer.' From it, we get the word apologetics. It occurs 8 times in the NT, just look it up on blueletterbible.org to trace the Greek meaning and references.
That said, apologetics books have been faith-strengtheners for me. Though arguments don't replace faith, they can strengthen it. Apologetics books that have helped me from the beginning of my born-again faith in college were: More Than A Carpenter by Josh McDowell, and The Case For Christ, and The Case for Faith, both by Lee Strobel. If you haven't read these, please do. They are apologetic classics that I believe strengthen faith. They give reasons to back up what we believe when unbelievers ask. I once asked a Mormon, "Why do you believe in God?" The reply was, "I just do." Fortunately for me, that wasn't convincing or persuasive enough for me. I said, "No, give me reasons." She couldn't. That could be one of the reasons why I'm not Mormon, plus the grace of God to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. By the way, that Mormon was my girlfriend whom I later broke up with, also by the grace of God.

K.Albright said...

Sorry, to reply to the pro-apologetics, anti-Mormon comment, this is my email, not the other.

Simply Keeping Home said...

Thanks for your comment, Samuel! I think apologia literature is useful for both believers and unbelievers. But my post mainly deals with the prospect of apologetic conversations/argumentation. 1 Peter 3:15 says to give an ANSWER. An answer is usually preceded by a question. Not a comment, an insult, a getting of ones goat, a sarcastic remark, etc. This verse also specifies the attitude of the asker: someone who asks with meekness and fear. A seeker who is asking you or I about Jesus with meekness and fear is not looking to win an argument. They are looking for ANSWERS. We have to be ready to give them answers in a humble spirit of love and conviction. This, to me anyway, is quite different than apologetics. It's an introduction to the man Christ Jesus. Another interesting aspect of all of this to consider — what are we doing in our daily lives that would beg the question from an unbeliever in the first place? It is a challenge to find ways in our world today of cell phones junkies and secluded lifestyles. But we should always be ready to share Jesus, not apologia, with the meek and fearful. Because once you know and believe on him, the Holy Spirit will lead you into all truth. (John 16:13)
Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.