If you couldn’t tell, I love apologetics. I think it so cool to be able to take the gospel, which many disbelieve, and prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it really is true!
In fact, I think that you really begin to fall more and more in love with God as you learn, and in some ways, your faith is becoming more like sight–something you can see and almost touch.
The reality is that the gospel is an amazing and true story of God Himself coming down to Earth and dying so that you and I might live. But, there is a danger in letting the truth and reality of that becoming the only apologetic you have.
Here’s what I mean: I believe consistency in the Christian life and love for sinners in the best apologetic.
There is nothing wrong with an intellectual knowledge of God, and there’s nothing wrong with showing that to others! If there was, I would not be writing this. But, be careful not to let your “intellectualism” come off as snobbish; in other words, you can’t just know that Chrianity is true–you must also show that Christianity is true!
The Intellectual Barrier to Christianity
There are many that have an “intellectual barrier” of sorts into matters of faith and spirituality.
Humanistic professors have taught our college kids that nothing can be known past what natural science can explain. Many who do retain a sense of “spirituality” leave Christianity still because they have been exposed to many more options they had no idea about!
This is where we’re failing as parents.
As our kids grow up, we must acknowledge the existence of the unbelieving world and equip our kids with how to deal with these things. I am not talking indoctrination–but inoculation!
We can rest assured that we are telling our kids and our culture the truth, but we must accurately convey the truth to them as well. Now, here’s where the problem comes in:
Some of us are telling those who we influence that Christianity is true, but we are not showing them! When people talk to some of us about Christ they are getting a deep theological lecture–but they’re not getting the gospel! Oh my, what a mistake!
I am all for apologetics–but what about evangelism? What about showing sinners that there is a God in heaven who loves them more than anything and all they have to do is ACCEPT that!
The gospel is amazing and is more than capable of transforming a life–that’s my God! I realize the role of apologetics and the intellectual need of the church, but let’s be extremely careful to handle the Word of God properly and with respect and show others what a life filled with the Spirit looks like.
No Change; No Conversion!
This brings to light a serious problem in the church. I believe there are many headed straight for hell on a church pew every Sunday.
What a sad thing to see somebody waste their lives. To quote the Apostle Paul, “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.” (1 Corinthians 5:14). I don’t care what church you go to, who your pastor is, or how spiritual you think you are–if Christ has not risen from the dead, there is no Hope for you.
And furthermore, if He has risen from the dead (and He has), and you don’t believe it, there is no Hope for you either!
My point is that it will be awful hard to win souls and to evangelize others with the gospel if there has been no change in you! The gospel always brings change.
The changed and separated life is one of the best witnesses of the gospel.
I go to church with a man who, just 4 years ago, was on about a $300/day drug habit. Today, he faithfully preaches the gospel at every opportunity!
This man was raised in the church, and his mother had prayed for him for over 40 years to get right with the Lord and get saved. He was not looking for a religious experience, no! He was not looking to change at all! He wanted nothing to do with the things of God.
But God wanted something to do with him. Amen!
Let me ask you something: Do you think a gospel witness from this man would be of ANY effect whatsoever if he was still on drugs and buried in the bottle? No sir!
It takes a changed life to prove that the gospel does, in fact, change lives. Heed the Apostle Paul and “examine yourself” to make sure you have things squared away with God, or your efforts will be of none effect.
More Harm Than Good
One of the saddest things to see is the effects of people who claim to be “changed” living a life that looks nothing like what they preach.
In fact, as this article points out, perhaps the number one reason people the leave the “church” proper today is because of spiritual hypocrisy!
If there is nothing different about the person you are and you do not show that you love people, why on earth would anyone want anything at all to do with you or what you believe?
Now, I realize that some people are just going to be offended and reject some of what you believe, and they will probably say false things about you. I’m sure there are plenty of people who view me as offensive because I believe in rebuking and reproving sin, but the truth is that I love people.
I hate sin and rebuke it not because I am better than anyone else, but because sin sends people to hell.
Now that’s a lot easier to say and understand among the brethren than in the unsaved world, but the point is that you need to get in tune with Philippians 2:15 – “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;”
We ought to do our best to be blameless, harmless, and without rebuke–that simply means that if we are going to preach about “standards,” we had better hold to God’s standard ourselves!
[clickandtweet handle=”@swschramm” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=”left”]Nothing will ruin your witness like hypocrisy, and nothing will help your witness like separation.[/clickandtweet]
The Gospel is Personal
Lastly, it is tremendously important to understand the personal nature of the gospel.
Can we be real here? Everybody has junk in their lives.
We all have a sinful, fallen nature, and there is not one of us who could get by without the grace of God on a daily basis.
I need Him, you need Him, and the World needs him!
While we use apologetics to do “pre-evangelism” and undergird preaching with true, scientific and historical facts, let’s make sure not to leave the “majesty and wonder” out of it.
As we get older, we often lose that sense of wonder and amazement. Sometimes Holidays are not the same, and Saturday morning cartoons are definitely not the same because we realize how disconnected from reality they are.
But all the wonder and amazement in the Universe is to be found in Jesus Christ.
He is still transforming lives today, just like He did when He walked among us.
Don’t be afraid to share His good news with others. Yes, defend the faith where necessary. But try just presenting the faith first. God saves real people with real emotional and spiritual needs. It’s time we, as the church, make every effort to help this world with the good news of Jesus.
Questions? Feel free to comment below and start the discussion, or click the blue button on the right (desktop only) to ask a question with a voicemail. We will do our best to answer in an upcoming post. Thanks!