Dealing with apparent failure in apologetics

by Mark McIntyre

The apparent failure

It is my guess that just about everyone who is interested in Christian apologetics is aware of 1 Peter 3:15 in which Peter encourages believers to be ready to make a defense (apology) to everyone who asks about our hope. Yet, when we make that defense, not everyone responds to the claims of the Gospel.

Admittedly, sometimes the lack of response is because of a poor presentation on our part. When this is the case, it should spur us on to further prayer, study and reflection so that we are better prepared the next time.

But, there are other times when the lack of response is not due to inadequate answers or a defective presentation. How then should we respond?

Don’t be surprised

In the first place, it should not be a surprise, nor should the lack of response be a source of inordinate frustration. I read this morning in John:

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“Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him,” (John 12:37, ESV)

The lesson that I learn from this verse is that in some cases, a rejection of the Gospel is not due to lack of evidence or understanding. I am reminded of the little ditty, “a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.”

If some could witness the miracles of Jesus and remain unconvinced and unconverted, we would be foolish to think that everyone will respond to our presentation and defense of the Gospel. The will overrides the intellect when dealing with matters of faith and world view. If the lack of response is an indication of failure, it is a failure that Jesus also experienced…

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Dealing with apparent failure in apologetics | Attempts at Honesty


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