Apologetics and Persuasion


I used to rely quite heavily on apologetics for the defense of the faith. But after arguing for hours with skeptics and being in the field of philosophy for three years now, and also maturing as a Christian, apologetics has moved from center stage to the sidelines. I think it is a very useful tool, and it has proven quite helpful at times. But I have seen that the living out of Christ in one's life--more the attitude than the argument--has been the most effective in drawing others to Christ.

Take the example of an older friend of mine, an extremely bright and intelligent Christian named Rick. Years back, he argued for days with an equally bright skeptic on the logicality of believing in God and Christ. For several years, they were out of touch. Then one day, they ran into each other again, and it turned out that the skeptic had accepted Christ several years back. How had it happened? He was in a simple Baptist church service one day, they had an altar call, and he came forth to accept Christ as his Lord and Saviour. There was no logic there whatsoever. Simply a calling by the Holy Spirit.

I do not think you are in disagreement with me. Apologetics, I believe, is useful and even powerful. But the life and character of the child of God is the most potent and best representation of God Himself.

[you are right--we are NOT in disagreement. To me there is actually NO SUCH THING as 'persuasion' (in our 20th century sense)--there is urging, proclamation, exhorting, leading, explaining (Paul's kind of 'persuasion'--II Cor 5:11!)--but MAINLY demonstrating the love of Christ by HOW WE TREAT a person...the apologetic task (IMO) is the SAME AS kerygma/proclamation, but with an 'instructional twist' as in 2 Tim 2:25...

There are, of course, OTHER PURPOSES for apologetic study and exercise in the life of the believer, but here i am only talking about its intent for skeptix...]

[the overall goal (in epistemic terms) is to MODEL/exude the character of Christ "close enough" to the center of the other person's "heart" that they 'catch it'--that it infects their central interpretive paradigm and they then 'see the data' with this 'modified paradigm' and so 'see' the semantic pattern of God's message of judgment/grace, in the areas of providence, in the Word, in the witness's life...(this is my 'process view' of epistemic conversion--for what it is worth)...

that is MY view of what apologetics is about--it is more HOW the material is discussed, treated; how the person is treated, cared for, etc...it has SO little to do with logic, reason, 'content'--constrained, of course, by the need to model the Christians commitment to honesty and truth...no deception, no arrogance, no certainty-where-there-is-none, etc.

anyway...there it is in a very, very brief nutshell, but you might check the Thinktank in a couple of week...i am 12 pages into my 'philosophical' analysis on this whole area of language, paradigms, and epistemic conversions...]

thanks again for your interest, and your commitment to our Lord!



The Christian ThinkTank...[http://www.Christian-thinktank.com] (Reference Abbreviations)