Culture At Large

When and how is apologetics useful?

Andy Rau

Dan Kimball has an excellent post at Vintage Faith about the role of apologetics today. I really like his approach: the question he asks is not whether apologetics is an important part of faith, but how and when it is most appropriately used.

I don't know about you, but the word "apologetics" has faintly negative connotations for me. I feel a bit uncomfortable about that, because I understand why apologetics is important to my faith. But whenever I hear the word, I think of courtroom-style proofs and arguments, and lists of short and snappy "reasons to be a Christian." Further, I think of division, because apologetics often appears to focus on theological difference, distinction, and error.

I don't think those are necessarily bad approaches, or that people haven't been helped by them. And yet... maybe it's just the way my brain is wired, but none of the above seem very... inviting.

That's why I really like Dan's vision for an apologetics approach that is grounded first and foremost in our everyday lives:

We need to have rational answers and logical intelligent reasons. But not in the way we normally have used them in spouting them out with a cocky attitude and to prove others wrong or given tidy and absolute answers for things we really don't have answers for. I hope our apologetics foremost do focus on us primarily being the apologetic, by walking in the ways of Jesus, and befriending those who don't know Him. And as they know us and that we follow Jesus, and eventually ask us reasons why or questions - we then have some answers and intelligent reasons to give them.

When people ask us questions about Christ and faith, we need to be ready and able to answer them. But maybe we need to put a greater emphasis on living our lives in such a way that people actually want to hear our answers in the first place.

Topics: Culture At Large, Theology & The Church, Faith