Archive for December, 2010

Apologist to Apologizer

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

In my early 20s, I started getting serious about my faith again. Like many Christ-followers I found myself attracted to apologetics (defense of the faith). The goal of apologetics is to defend orthodox Christianity from outside attacks. Apologetics develops arguments to counter the anti-Christian arguments of secular philosophy and other religions.

There are two reasons why apologetics was so attractive to me. First, I like to argue. Growing up my dad and I would choose opposite sides of a subject simply so we could argue about it. Second, I like research. I’m kind of a nerd. I enjoy studying. I enjoy digging into books and learning new things then presenting my findings. A good apologist is will also be good at argumentation and research.

I dove into apologetics with gusto. I read everything I could. I learned the classic arguments. I studied the arguments against Christianity and learned all the holes in them. With my arsenal of arguments ready I set out to prove the legitimacy of orthodox Christianity. I was convinced that if I could present unassailable arguments for faith in Jesus that people wouldn’t be able to deny Jesus and would have to trust in him. I presumed that I could argue people in heaven.

In that time, I won a lot of arguments.

During that same time, I lost a lot of friends.

As I came to this realization, God slapped me across the face with John 13:35, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (NIV). I was known for a lot of things at that time. I was known as someone who was convinced of the truth of the Gospel. I was known as someone who could and would happily share every argument as to why you should believe in Jesus. But, I was not known as someone who loved.

God changed me with that verse. I no longer try to argue people into heaven. (It’s not possible anyway.) I no longer work to be known as someone who can defend every nuance of orthodox Christianity. My goal is to be known as someone who loves. My goal is to be known as someone who shows love to everyone with whom I have the privilege of spending time.

I’m no longer an apologist. I don’t work to defend Christianity anymore. Jesus doesn’t need me to defend Him.

I’m an apologizer. I apologize for all the times my life has not reflected Christ. I apologize for when my fellow Christ-followers (whom I love dearly in Christ) have failed to reflect Christ. If you’re not a Christ-follower, please note that although those of us who are Christ-followers don’t look like it all the time, Jesus still loves you and wants a relationship with you. As Christ-followers we fail at this a lot, but we are trying diligently to show you the God who loves you, died for you, and wants a relationship with you. Please don’t let our failings keep you from the God who loves you and never fails.

And if you’re one of those people I was a jerk to when I was an apologist, let me take this opportunity now to apologize to you. I’m sincerely sorry. Please forgive me.