How to LOSE friends…through apologetics
by John Mays
Apologetics has notoriously been thought to cause division. There are many reasons that, sadly, could be responsible for this stereotype of such a vital discipline. Some possibly reasonable; others. . . well, not so much. I hear comments all the time such as “apologetics is just arguing”, “we don’t need apologetics”, “what is apologetics”, what are you apologizing for?”, and of course “God, the Bible, or <insert word concerning Christianity here>, doesn’t need defending.” I am pretty sure I know why apologetics has gotten such a bad reputation, and that is why many lose friends though apologetics.
If you are reading this then you probably already know the definition of apologetics; the Greek term apologia meaning to give a defense or to reason. And most–unfortunately not all–know we are commanded in 1 Peter 3:15 to have an answer, give a defense or reason, for the hope we have. and do it with gentleness and love. And here begins part of why apologetics seem to get the “bad rap”.
In my personal experience I seem to struggle with the “gentleness and love” portion of the previously mentioned verse. It is not something I do on purpose. However, it does seem no matter how much one tries to present a defense or reason for our hope it appears to be blunt, harsh, unloving, or not Christ like. Yet if you were to consider a topic–any topic–that someone defends, particularly a popular belief of others, the other party does not seem to like it very much. Unfortunately, this is where apologists comes into play. You see, we strive to state facts, and firmly believe there is objective truth. What this means to others is that we all cannot be right. Thus, for the new apologist, and sometimes even for the more disciplined ones, the gentleness and love appears to be more like “I know it all”. I promise you none of us know it all and never will. We do not intend on making others feel stupid, neither do we get angry. Apologetics is a passion for us. It is a call from God on our hearts. It is an extreme, did I say extreme, frustration to us when it seems no one cares. Our goal is not to belittle anyone. It is to strengthen the follower and reach the lost by providing evidence, or a defense and reason of why we believe what we believe. So why would that cause us to lose friends? I mean Jesus used apologetics, Paul used it, and the Bible commands all believers to have an answer…
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