The Apologetics of You
What’s the ultimate apologetic? When I was in college, my favorite book was the 2nd edition of Reasonable Faith by William Lane Craig. And after providing a philosophical defense of Christian truth claims, he wrote this:
“More often than not, it is what you are rather than what you say that will bring an unbeliever to Christ. This, then, is the ultimate apologetic. For the ultimate apologetic is: your life” (p. 302).
The Apostle Peter was very clear about our responsibility to defend the faith (1 Peter 3:15), but he also said that we should “live such excellent lives among the non-Christians, so that …they may see your good deeds and glorify God” (1 Peter 2:12). This seems to echo Jesus’ own teaching: “You are the light of the world…let your light shine before people so that they can see your good deeds and give honor to your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14).
Encouragement to Graduates
In this short video clip, I encourage homeschooled students to live the ultimate apologetic at a high school graduation ceremony where I was invited to speak. This event was held at Hope Chapel in Austin, TX.
An Apologetic that Isn’t “In Your Face”
So I want you guys to think about, as you go into this next season, this next phase of your life: What would it look like to make those connections? To establish real relationships with people–maybe people who are totally different than you? Different cultures, background, different everything. And how can we engage our skeptical friends in a way that isn’t “in-your-face?” How can we engage our skeptical friends and naturally turn a conversation towards the Bible? Towards the Bible’s take on an important issue that you’re already talking about? An important issue that we’re dealing with together in this world.
Engagement Beyond “Q and A” Mode
And when you do confront people with Scripture, make sure they know that they don’t need to agree with everything you believe just so you can be friends. That we can say, “Look, man. I’m your friend, no matter what. But let’s go on a journey together as we take a look at this spiritual stuff. As we talk about these important issues.
Because people are walking around with questions. Important questions about the most important things in life. And somebody needs to give them an answer.
We need to see engagement as going beyond just responding to challenges. Because we are Christ’s ambassadors 24/7. Let’s reflect Jesus’ character in our everyday lives–even when we’re not in this Q&A mode. When we’re not in “question and answer” mode.”
Live the Ultimate Apologetic
I want to close now with a quote from a Greek apologist by the name of Athangoros. When Athangoros wrote to the emperors in the second century, he compared the lives of these selfish philosophers—a bunch of ivory tower guys who were just a bunch of talk. And he compared their lives with everyday, regular Christians. He called them artisians and old women:
“who, if they are unable in words to prove the benefit of our doctrine, then by their deeds, they exhibit the benefit arising from their persuasion of its truth. They do good works. They give to those who ask. They love their neighbors as themselves” (A Plea for the Christians).
This should be a challenge to all of us who are followers of Jesus today to stand strong. Find answers for yourself. Share those answers with others. And live the ultimate apologetic. And the ultimate apologetic is your life.
More Articles on Being an Ambassador of Christ
3 Cultural Engagement Lessons from Acts 17
Ever wonder how you can better engage with that skeptical co-worker, friend or family member? How should we interact with the broader culture as ambassadors of Christ?
Defend without Getting Defensive
Ever get uncomfortable listening to a religious view that’s different from yours? Allowing your skeptical friend to share their ideas or experiences is a key part of effectively navigating spiritual conversations.
The 3 Essential Elements of Everyday Apologetics
Find answers for yourself. Share answers with others. Be a wise, memorable ambassador who listens. Then, share good reasons to believe in way that’s simple to get and easy to remember.
Speaking the Truth in Love
We’ve got to present the truth—not for the sake of winning arguments or looking smart—but because we love God and love people.