No One Gets Saved By Apologetics… or Evangelism
by Jason Wisdom
I remember a conversation that I had with a really bright Christian friend of mine a few years ago. He said, “I have a bone to pick with C. S. Lewis for Mere Christianity.” He went on to explain that he was seriously offended that Lewis would act as if it were possible to convince someone to become a Christian. In his observation, apologetics was essentially an attempt to argue people into heaven, and that notion was just absurd.
Now, the field of Christian apologetics has experienced somewhat of a resurgence over the past decade. Even so, there remains a great chasm between the world of apologetics and the average church pastor and congregation. Many mega church pastors and Christian lifestyle speakers/writers are raking in money hand over fist these days, but the average apologist is still working another full time job (like me). This is due, in many cases, to the concern that my friend articulated. It is most commonly phrased as follows: “No one gets saved by apologetics.”
As you can imagine, a lot of apologists get seriously bent out of shape when they hear someone say that. And there are many good responses. But I want to suggest that the best thing to do when we hear someone say “no one gets saved by apologetics” is to agree with them. Have I lost my mind? No. Here is how I try to handle the conversation when it arises (and it does…A LOT).
No one gets saved by apologetics.
I agree. But no one gets saved by evangelism either.
What do you mean?
There is only one way that anyone has ever been saved, and that is by the power of the Holy Spirit and the finished work of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit works through evangelism and He also works through apologetics.
I know that, but you can’t simply argue people into believing. Even the best argument can’t save a soul. It isn’t about head knowledge, it’s about heart change.
I agree. But you also can’t simply motivate people into believing. Even the most passionate preacher can’t save a soul–only the Holy Spirit can. Also, you can’t believe something in your heart that you are convinced is false in your head and vice versa. We shouldn’t act like the two are mutually exclusive.
I would actually go a step further and say that I think evangelism and apologetics go hand in hand…