Beyond Ideologies: Avoiding Apologetics as a Form of Martial Arts
by S. Michael Craven
There are days when the troubles of this world can no doubt be overwhelming. Almost everyday it seems we are confronted with more glaring evidence of our cultural descent, a growing lack of civility, the celebration of licentiousness and immorality, the increasing indifference toward the weak and infirm or outright cruelty, and the growing disdain for religion and prudence. Admittedly these conditions can cause one to become angry toward those who willingly contribute to this current of contemporary thought and action.
In addition, there are the ever-expanding influences from every manner of philosophy and ideology opposing the Christian life and worldview while the Church seems to be less and less capable of defending itself against these encroaching enemies. I grieve as I read or hear about the endless personal suffering both here and around the world. Almost daily I meet someone who is personally struggling with serious trials or suffering from severe loss and devastating heartbreak. In general, the world is groaning, and I have to stop and reflect upon what I am doing. Does my work matter? Of course, when I ask this question I do so from a purely selfish standpoint, and this is when I have to pause and reflect upon precisely what it is that I am doing and for whom.
One of the unfortunate tendencies associated with being a “professional expert” on the Christian Worldview and apologetics is that you can begin think that the kingdom of God will advance on the weight of intellectual arguments. While Scripture clearly teaches that we are to “be prepared to give answer for the hope that lies within us” (see 1 Peter 3:15), I must continually be reminded of Christ’s commandment to love my neighbor. If this genuine love of neighbor is not at the heart of my apologetic efforts, then I am nothing more than a “clanging cymbal”—an animated noise maker…