Thursday, June 5, 2008

Apologetics: A Fine Ride Indeed?

Chip Ingram recently did a series on evangelism. He discussed several types of strategies for sharing one's faith. One of them was as an apologist. A lot of people might think of me as an apologist for the faith, as I am really into the intellectual arguments for the authenticity of the Bible as God's Word, the uniqueness of Christ as God's Messiah, etc. But in reality I am a little wary of apologetics.
Here's the way I look at it. Apologetics is like a space shuttle ride. You go to lofty heights and see all of creation at a glance. The intellect is barraged with details and facts, and one is challenged to see things as never before. It makes for interesting discussion fodder. But there comes a time when the ride ends. You have to come back down to brass tacks reality. Children are sick. Bills come due. Disappointments come. You forget all this high and lofty stuff about empty tombs, eyewitnesses, and scrolls.
Going through apologetics with someone is only a worthwhile enterprise if during the ride, your ship has a rendezvous with the person of Christ. The woman who bled for many years touched the hem of his garment in order to get healed. Zacchaeus had Jesus over for dinner, and it was the best move of his eternal life. "This is life eternal: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent" (John 17:3).
In the western world far too much emphasis is made on appeals to the intellect. But we are creatures of intellect, will, and emotions. Man is not saved by getting smarter--just look at the universities. We are saved by faith, and that is supernatural. Sure--supernatural faith has its roots in proper knowledge of the truth. But truth must be belived with the will, and then the proper emotions follow. Never forget that it's a miracle.
When atheists press their case for why there must be no God, they always seem to ignore the aspects of man's emotional deficiency and corrupt will. All they deal with is (supposedly) intellectually defensible evidence for the non-existence of God.
Why sink to their level? All of their objections can be swept away by one bout with cancer, or the death of a loved one, or by being in the proverbial foxhole.