I was walking and thinking yesterday evening (I know that, as a man, this was a dangerous straining of my multi-tasking capabilities) and out of my thought-stream came a thought or two about Christian apologetics.
Apologetics is all about defending the Christian faith against its critics, and it’s been going on almost right from the beginning of Christianity. What I do like about apologetics is this: it engages the skeptics who “refute” Christianity and shows that Christians are not necessarily dummies.
But what I don’t like about apologetics is that they’re inherently defensive (duh, you say). Apologetics are always responding, not acting. They are playing someone else’s game by their rules, rather than creating new terrain to explore. They too easily devolve into seeing “threats” to the faith from without, while becoming blind to the fact that a much larger enemy is our own mediocrity at living the truth of our gospel.
And here’s the thing: the gospel is something to be proclaimed, not defended. Certainly apologetics can play a role in clearing away genuine obstacles to faith. But faith does not need defending, it needs living. Apologetics can clear some broken glass or overgrowth from the path of faith, but we proclaim the gospel of following Jesus along the path of eternal life.
The gospel will not need defending when it is truly lived and proclaimed.