What is “Relational Apologetics”? Interview with Mike Sherrard
by Sean McDowell
My friend Michael Sherrard recently wrote a book called Relational Apologetics, in which he aims to help Christians defend their faith with love and respect. It’s an excellent book that I happily endorse. Mike was kind enough to answer a few questions about his book.
SEAN MCDOWELL: Why did you write a book on relational apologetics?
MIKE SHERRARD: Well, to be honest, it was because a friend of mine wrote a book and I thought, “Well shoot, if he can write a book so can I.” Nothing like good brotherly competition. I suppose you can take this two ways: one in which you see me as an arrogant you know what or one in which you see the value of a good Christian community that spurs you on to good works. I choose the latter.
But I wrote about Relational Apologetics because more than answers, we need to know how to talk to people and build relationships. Apologetics is booming. We live in age of unprecedented resources. There does not exist a question for which there isn’t a good answer. But having answers and knowing how and when to deliver them are quite different.
Furthermore, answers are not all that is needed. I mean, how many times have you given the “right” answer and it did no good. We sometimes believe the lie that if I can just insert irrefutable evidence into my conversations then all will bow before Jesus. It doesn’t usually work that way. Often what is needed is a relationship that affords time for difficult questions to be answered and painful experiences to be healed. One-liners may win the argument. But we aren’t simply out to win arguments are we?
SEAN: You talk about the “humble apologist.” Some would say that’s an oxymoron. Why is humility important for apologists?
MIKE: I have found that my humility brings out the humility in others, and humility is essential to coming to Christ. The proud do not see God. You see, humility disarms. It brings down the other person’s defenses. And when someone’s guard is down they are more likely to see through their emotions and consider what you are saying…
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