Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Communal Task of Apologetics

“The best apologetic is a good theology.” _Donald Bloesch

Apologetics is a favorite category in systematic theology in popular Christianity. This is a good thing in that it is a major responsibility for us as Christ followers to defend His name against all kinds of misconceptions. The problem is that we’ve turned this defense has become so very offensive. We have evolved apologetics into polemics; something it was never meant to be. Our task is not to win arguments for Jesus. That makes it about debating and eventually conquest. What it should be, what it’s really all about is being responsible with our ideas about God. If our theology doesn’t allow for grace or humility then you’ll not be a good apologist.

We must think thoroughly through our theology. This means taking on the difficult task of taking into account where those who do not agree with us are coming from. We are not to assume that we have some truth that they cannot get to. We are to assume that they are rational and therefore did not come to their conclusions without thinking. What we will discover is that they often are carrying misconceptions about following Christ or that they are failing to see the whole context and they’re failing to identify the lens through which they are approaching whatever we are discussing. So therefore it is as Donald Bloesch said it; it’s about “leading people to ask the right questions.” We must call upon people to consider their lenses and consider their misconceptions. And if we are to be successful we must do the same thing. We cannot begin to point out the speck in their eye until we’ve identified the plank or even the forest in our own. This makes apologetics a communal task. It’s not us vs. them. It’s not us teaching them a thing or two. It’s all of us approaching the questions together. I’ve noticed that Christianity is much more about asking the right questions than having the right answers.

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