Apologist Demeanors: Are You a Patton or a Bradley?
by Kenneth Samples
Have you ever seen the movie Patton? Actor George C. Scott won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his amazing portrayal of the bold, opinionated, and flamboyant General George Patton. General Patton was not only a great battlefield tank commander for the US Army during World War II, but he was also arguably one of the most politically incorrect persons of the twentieth century. Patton wasn’t afraid to speak his mind on virtually any issue, regardless of the consequences. (We’ll make an apologetics connection about this personality trait shortly.) However, just how realistic Scott’s movie portrayal was has been a topic of historical debate.
A powerful contrast to Patton’s dominant personality is shown in the demeanor of General Omar Bradley, played in the film by Karl Malden. Bradley is highly competent but quiet and modest, and he readily deflects compliments by attributing praise to the US combat soldiers who fight daily on the front line. In real life, Omar Bradley was known as the “GI’s General” for his respect and affection for the common enlisted soldier. My father—who fought in a US infantry division in the European theater during World War II—always spoke highly of General Bradley.
It seems that many, if not most, people prefer the bold, aggressive, and hard-charging US generals to their more humble, quiet, and deferential counterparts. I guess that is why there have been movies made about George Custer, Douglas MacArthur, and George Patton, but far fewer about generals like Maxwell Taylor, Alexander Patch, and Omar Bradley.
Personalities and Demeanors of Christian Apologists
When it comes to the demeanors of Christian apologists, again, I think many Christians prefer and even admire the hard-charging or aggressive personality types…