What I Learned About Truth and Love
While I was doing my graduate work in apologetics at Biola University, I learned an important, practical lesson from William Lane Craig about speaking the truth in love.
I remember how he began our “Philosophical Issues for Apologists” course by saying he often signs his books with 2 Corinthians 10:5 as a subscript:
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
But he recognized a problem with using this verse:
It could lead certain younger, naive apologists to the impression that apologetics is all about arguing, and tearing things down and taking captive; so they become quarrelsome, aggressive, obnoxious, or proud. This is not at all what the intention of the Christian apologist ought to be.
Very true. Dr. Craig chose a secondary verse which should describe you and me: Ephesians 4:15.
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
Truth and Love
I’ve taken a cue from William Lane Craig and now open my classes by making a similar point. This literally means “truthing in love,” and includes the ideas of “living” and “doing” the truth. Here’s the point: Biblical apologetics is about truth and love; false ideas and unloving attitudes are the exact opposite of that.
So when apologetic engagement includes a challenge, it’s very important to show your skeptical friend that your love for them is driving the conversation. Think about this: Do our personal and professional lives evidence a love for God and neighbor?
Gentleness and Respect
We’ve got to make gentleness and respect a natural part of every conversation. It’s not cool to quote 1 Peter 3:15, but treat the “gentleness and respect” part like a suggestion. It’s not.
And it doesn’t honor God when we act like jerks. We’ve got to study and present the truth—not for the sake of winning arguments or looking smart—but because we love God and love people. It’s an obedience thing. It’s a love thing. And when people come to faith, it’s always a God thing.