Ten Quick Tips for Being an Effective Apologist
by Ed Jarrett
As a disciple of Christ, I am called on to always be ready to answer anyone who asks me about the hope that I hold on to. And it is not just me, but all who call on his name who are expected to be able to do this (see 1 Peter 3:15-16). Below are some tips that may be helpful to you in being able to successfully give a defense for your faith.
1. Be a Believer: An essential step to being an apologist is that you have a relationship with God; that you are a follower of Jesus. If not, you will be trying to defend something that is outside of your experience.
2. Be Active in your Faith: It will be very challenging, and not too effective, to share the reasons for your faith if you are not personally living it. You really need to believe, and be obedient to, the truth you are trying to defend.
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3. Know What You Believe: Can you explain to someone else what you believe? It is not enough to say that you hold to the doctrinal statement of your particular church or denomination. You are not really called to defend a doctrinal statement. You are called to give answer to anyone who asks you why you believe. And to be able to do that, you need to know what you believe.
4. Know Why You Believe What You Do: Knowing what you believe is really only a first step. You also need to know why you believe it. It is generally not sufficient to claim the belief because it is what your church teaches, even though it likely does teach that. It is much better when you can put into your own words just why you believe some truth about your faith.
5. Care About Others: An effective apologist needs to have a concern for the people that he is sharing with. Without that, your defense will likely be more of a sterile debate or an angry exchange. Genuine concern for the person you are sharing with will be evident to the other person, and will make them much more likely to at least give you a fair hearing…