Objections to Apologetics: it’s arguing and debating

Christian Worldview Discipleship

You are arguing. Right now. By objecting to apologetics.

A very common objection to apologetics is based on a more basic objection to argument and debate. And half of the time, their understanding of arguing and debating are based on bad examples of those. However, as with everything, we should not develop our convictions based on experience, but on the Bible.

You have probably heard this line too: “we should be about winning people, not arguments.” The obvious implication is that those two things are completely opposed. I am wondering why everyone assumes you cannot do both. People, created in the image of God as rational beings, think and therefore have arguments. And because we are fallen in sin, our hearts opposed to God by default, suppressing the knowledge of God we know, and therefore unbelievers form arguments against Christianity! This is why Jesus, Paul, Apollos, and Peter advanced arguments and engaged in debates.

The idea that arguing and debating are not Christian usually comes with proof texts. It really is an argument against arguing.

Proof texting:

Remind them of these things, charging them before God not to fight about words; this is in no way profitable and leads to the ruin of the hearers. . .But avoid irreverent, empty speech, for this will produce an even greater measure of godlessness.

-2 Timothy 2:14, 16

Flee from youthful passions, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. But reject foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they breed quarrels.The Lord’s slave must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and patient,

-2 Timothy 2:22-24

But avoid foolish debates, genealogies, quarrels, and disputes about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.

-Titus 3:8

Paul’s exhortations to not get into silly debates, or to be quarrelsome are cited by those who use this objection. Indeed, it is for this very reason that I myself resolved years ago to not substitute the word “argue” for “quarrel.” When I am talking about a verbal fight, I use the word “quarrel.” I never use the word argue. I try very hard not to perpetuate the misunderstanding that all arguing is fighting and therefore an un-Christian, unloving thing to do…

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Objections to Apologetics: it’s arguing and debating | Christian Worldview Discipleship