Being A Good Apologist Is More Than Knowing The Right Answers
by Evan Minton
1 Peter 3:15 says to “Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have, yet do so with gentleness and respect” and 2 Corinthians 10:5 says “We demolish argument and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ.” These two verses are the primary verses that make Christian Apologetics a precedent for the follower of Christ. We are to give the unbelievers reasons to believe Christianity is true and we are to demolish every argument that tries to show it isn’t. However, being a good apologist is more than just knowing the right answers to peoples’ objections and questions, and knowing how to make a case for Christianity. To be a good apologist, you must know more than “If this person says X, then I’ll respond with Y”. Giving a defense to anyone who asks is not like giving the answer to a mathematical equation.
Being a good apologist means being a good communicator, and that involves utilizing certain skills. Not everyone has these skills, but thankfully, if you know what skills you need, you can train yourself in these areas. Now, what are these skills you need?
The Accordion Tactic
You can learn the evidence for The Minimal Facts Case For Jesus’ Resurrection, or the evidence behind the premises of The Kalam Cosmological Argument, and you may even be able to do a good talk on this at your church. But can you relay these arguments in 5 minutes or less? In evangelism encounters, sometimes that’s all the time we have to talk with this person. Or even we do have more time to talk to them, not everyone wants to listen to you monologue for 45 minutes. If you want it to be a dialogue, you need to be able to compress your presentation of the arguments for God’s existence and the resurrection to 5 minutes or less. This skill comes in handy not just in one on one evangelism, but even in internet conversations. With some people, if a comment becomes way too lengthy, they’ll lose interest and comment ‘TL;DR” which means “Too long, didn’t read”.
This isn’t easy. I’ve struggled with brevity my entire apologetics career, but this is a practice that I keep practicing and practicing on…
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