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By Brian Chilton
On this website, I have posted many articles on the Christian’s need to engage in apologetics. Apologetics being the defense of the Christian faith. I have noted with great frequency the intellectual need to know what one believes and why one believes it. But, I am not only a theologian and an apologist. I am a pastor, too. Being a pastor, I have found that different people handle tragedies differently. No one is prepared for the loss of a family member, especially a close family member.
Being a minister, I have conducted many a funeral. I have held the hands of those who grieve. I have prayed over those who weep. I have spoken condolences to the heart filled with sadness. Yet, nothing could prepare me for the loss of my grandfather–the late Rev. Odell Sisk. It is a different realm when you are the one grieving, the one weeping, and the one whose heart is filled with sadness. Yet through the loss of my grandfather, I found firsthand the amazing benefits of having a robust theology and sturdy apologetic. Four particular benefits stand out.
1. Apologetics provides the benefit of theological steadiness amid emotional instability.
There is a danger of becoming excessively emotional and excessively stoic. On the one hand, emotionalism does not lead to rational thought. It is best advised that people do not make major decisions while emotionally distraught. The loss of a loved one will lend toward emotionalism of the kind that does not see the world clearly.
On the other hand, there is also the danger of becoming too stoical, that is, disallowing oneself to experience any emotions whatsoever. Emotions are not bad. We are human beings. We have emotions. We should feel free to express our emotions in healthy manners. Thus, a person should not feel that he or she must suppress their emotions during times of grief. Honestly, I am not an extremely emotional person. I have been told that I have the emotional disposition of that of a rhinoceros’ hide. Perhaps. Of course, you need to have thick skin if you are going to make it in ministry. True, I am more inclined towards the intellectual rather than the emotional side of life. But regardless, I do have emotions and have found that it is important to express them rather than suppress them.
Apologetics amazingly provides theological stability in emotional instability. The apologist will readily have answers to the greater issues that often come by times of loss. Yet, he or she will also be able to express their emotions in a healthy manner. Truth provides stability. Thus, the apologist will find great stability when he or she suffers loss…
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