Objections to Apologetics: You can’t argue someone into the kingdom

Christian Worldview Discipleship

If you have ever talked about apologetics or read about it, you have likely come across this objection:

“You can’t argue someone into the Kingdom (or heaven).”

God forbid you have used that yourself. This may seem like a good objection. I rather enjoy K. Scott Oliphint’s response to this line. He said, “you can’t preach someone into the kingdom, either.” His point is that our efforts, on our own without God in the picture, are all going to fail. The point is that we are not the effective agent. So whatever we do, apologetics, evangelizing, or preaching, without God in the picture, it’s not going to work. What makes these things effective? God the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit, whatever method or means of verbal communication you use is going to be worthless. This is a given.

This objection to apologetics is assuming something. People who have used this line are assuming, unwittingly maybe, that apologetics necessarily leaves out the Holy Spirit. Why would they assume that? I don’t know. I think it comes from assumptions about how God works immediately as opposed to working through means. Anyway, this line seems to imply that you might as well not waste your time making arguments for the Christian faith because it’s the Holy Spirit that gives life to an unbeliever. Oliphint’s response can be adapted: then you might as well not waste your time sharing your personal testimony. Or explaining that gospel tract. Or sharing the gospel at all in any way. Since, you know, God is the one who does it.

Why the unargued bias towards particular methods of reaching the lost, and the unargued bias against other methods? God mercifully works through the poor and (always) imperfect efforts of his people. If he didn’t, nobody would be saved. So why the assumption that the Holy Spirit would remain absent from the apologetic enterprise? Especially, considering the fact, that we are commanded to engage apologetically with unbelievers…


Objections to Apologetics: You can’t argue someone into the kingdom