by Brian Hearn
I recently finished Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions by Gregory Koukl – a book I’d recommend to anyone who is interested in improving their skill in articulating the Christian worldview. The primary tactic in the book follows the Socratic Method and is taught through practical application. Though tactics are important, and the author does a fine job teaching you how to use them, it is helpful to have a holistic perspective on apologetics. The book focuses on the how, but only touches on the why, what, who, when and where. In this blog I want to briefly look at these other aspects and recommend the reader delve deeper for a well-rounded perspective.
The word apologetics finds its origin in the Greek apologia which means to give an explanation or defense. It is the same word used in 1-Peter 3:15 where it says “always be prepared to give an answer…” To be able to give an honest and persuasive answer about your worldview is a good thing, whether you are a Christian or not. Being able to think critically about what you believe and why you believe it is essential to living an honest intellectual life. Ironically, as I am writing this morning someone posted this on Facebook:
People who blithely go through life too busy or indifferent to ask hard questions about why they believe as they do will find themselves defenseless against either the experience of tragedy or the probing questions of a smart skeptic. — Tim Keller
For the Christian, I would add; a deeper and substantive integration between the life of faith and the life of experience and understanding is rewarding in and of itself. A rich and consistent worldview can be a blessing to those we interact with as well as add greater meaning to our own faith.
When it comes to sharing what we believe as Christians, reason is typically downplayed in the contemporary church. You may have heard it said; you cannot argue anyone into the Kingdom. The usual undercurrent in this comment is love overrides the need for reason. So based on this, why give apologetics any consideration at all? However, Koukl rightly points out in his book, you cannot love someone into the Kingdom either. The bottom line is God can use both love and reason to draw someone to Himself. If you have any doubt of this, all you have to do is look at the life of the apostle Paul in Acts. He reasoned with the Greeks. He reasoned with the Jews. I can tell you where Paul stood on the question of, ‘why’…
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