But, I don’t have time for apologetics!
by Steve Wilkinson
“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.” – Socrates (469-399 BC)
I often get the impression that people – even those already interested in apologetics – feel they just don’t have time for apologetics. It is as if I can ‘hear’ them thinking, “well, that is for you apologists, but the rest of us (with real lives) simply don’t have time for things like that.” What they may not realize, is that most apologists are ‘tentmakers,’ like the apostle Paul, supporting their missionary work through some other profession. Apologists are pretty busy too.
I can easily count the apologists who earn their living through apologetics work. All but a few have some other career which is their primary means of support. The church simply does not value apologetics enough at this point to fund it. One doesn’t just say, “I want to be an apologist when I grow up,” head off to school, and get hired into an apologetics job upon graduation.
This is not so much a complaint (here) as an insight; we love apologetics and we love the church, so we press on. It is simply the current reality, but an important one to recognize for the budding apologist. You are not going to get to some point in your life where becoming an apologist is easy, nor likely where someone pays you to do it. You just need to start NOW!
So, how then does a busy person become skilled at apologetics?
Leaning one’s craft seems to require three basic components: resources, time, and motivation. As the title of this article indicates, we’ll mostly focus on the time component, but I want to briefly address the others as well.
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When I started learning about apologetics, resources were sparse and required far more effort to gather. There were a few books by authors such as Lee Strobel or Josh McDowell. Every now and then, one might run across an apologetics oriented discussion on some product or interest BBS forum (this was before the Internet). There were a few ministries with radio programs beginning to address the topic. A friend got me started by lending a few RC Sproul and White Horse Inn cassette tapes. I was hooked.
Today, resources abound! There are a lot more books and many of the ministries have podcasts. There are apologetics web sites everywhere, and even some insanely useful apologetics aggregators, such as Apologetics315 and The Poached Egg. Various apologists fill social media like Twitter and Facebook with streams of resources every day. The problem becomes almost opposite; there is now too much to keep up with. No excuses in this category!
This category is key. This is the reason many of us have attended school at some point in our lives. Having that accountability in the form of money spent, or at least exams, keeps us focused on the goal. But, other motivations exist as well, such as a yearning to be a good disciple of Christ. There are communities of apologists who check in with one another, but it can certainly just be a friend from church. And while there may not be exams, if you start talking to people about your faith or teaching others, the pressure will soon be on to learn more…