by J Warner Wallace
Bobby Conway is the Lead Pastor of Life Fellowship Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. He’s one of the few pastor’s I’ve met who earnestly understands the importance of Christian Case Making. That might sound surprising, given the fact he is, after all, a pastor (shouldn’t pastors be good apologists?), but great church leaders aren’t always accomplished Christian Case Makers. Most well-known apologists, for example (with the obvious exception of people like Tim Keller), are not also full-time pastors. Bobby, on the other hand, is both a full-time pastor and excellent apologist in his own right. He’s the creator and host of the One-Minute Apologist. I met Bobby last year while travelling in North Carolina, and we’ve become friends (I offer that as a disclaimer). But our friendship aside, I’ve been incredibly impressed with Bobby’s ability to juggle his responsibilities as a pastor while still contributing mightily as a Christian apologist.
Over lunch (about a year ago) we were talking about our responsibility as Case Makers. It’s not enough to simply know the truth. At some point, each and every one of us has to become an ambassador for the truth. If we’re honest with one another, it’s a lot easier to learn something than to represent it consistently to others. We’re all familiar with the key passage most apologists cite when describing the calling we have as Christian Case Makers:
1 Peter 3:15 “…but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;”
Most of us as Case Makers, however, are more focused on the first part of the verse than the last part. Enter Bobby Conway. Bobby’s heart as a pastor and his head as a Case Maker are evident in his book, The Fi5th Gospel. Bobby cites Rodney (Gypsy) Smith, a nineteenth century British evangelist who once said:
“There are five Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and the Christian, but most people never read the first four.”
Now I know what some of you may be saying: “Hey that sounds a lot like the old quote attributed to St. Francis of Assisi: ‘Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.’” Bobby discusses this Assisi attribution directly in a chapter called “Show and Tell” (describing Assisi’s life as an open door preacher committed to the verbal proclamation of the Gospel). Bobby would be the first to agree it’s seldom enough to simply live in a particular way without eventually pointing people to the transcendent cause (or motivation) of our behavior. If we don’t preach the Gospel with words, we’re likely to point people to someone other than Christ…
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