My recent post, Apologetics Isn’t the Whole Ball Game, detailed why apologetics isn’t our only option and why it isn’t the thing we should always jump to when crisis ensues.
On that same thought, I want to speak to some folks who enjoy debating and apologetics and give them a few words of wisdom:
1. Don’t get involved in every argument
This seems basic, but I have many friends both online and off who jump at the chance to defend everything and argue with everyone. I admire the courage to step out and defend the faith, but we should also note when to avoid an argument. Sometimes the wisest person in the room is the one who remains silent.
2. Family is more important than apologetics
Time with your family is huge. If you have a spouse and/or children, don’t waste your time (yes, waste) in meaningless discussions online. Mr. Anonymous Atheist will always be there, but your kids won’t always be little, or at home, or in-state. Spend the time and use apologetics as your hobby; preferably a hobby that doesn’t take over your life.
3. Love people
This one is tough. I have had some hateful things said about me before online but as Dr. Michael Brown has noted, “If you live by praise you will die by criticism”. Moreover, loving people sets up a representation of Jesus for other people to view. Love always comes across better than hate. You want to be a bridge builder, not a bridge burner.
4. “I don’t know” is a tool, too
Honesty is so important but a lot of times we want to defend our reputation. As much as it sucks to swallow your pride and admit ignorance, it works out so well for you in the long-run. You don’t want to be perceived as a liar or a know-it-all.
I remember in my last debate, I was asked a question under cross examination, it was something I hadn’t considered before. The thought went through my mind to try and fake my way through it, but I just said “I haven’t looked into it, but I can and then get back with you”. Admittedly it hurt saying it, but looking back now, it was 100% the right decision make.
5. Glorify God, humble yourself
This is one I’ve struggled with. It’s nice when people dig the stuff you write or pod and pass it around. You can feel pretty good about yourself but what we need to always keep in the front of our minds is that this is for God. It’s for His Kingdom. By His power we do our work and we’d do well not to forget that.
6. Christians, don’t fight fellow Christians
This one. Oh boy. You’ve got to be kidding me. I see so many Christians argue, fight, and belittle other Christians over things like soteriology, orthodox denominations, and other assorted legalistic crap.
I don’t like seeing it and it doesn’t help the Kingdom.
Moreover, when you’re doing this, is mostly in an environment that is online where other people can see you. It’s a bad witness and wholly unbiblical. Stop it. We can have conversations and even disagreements with other Christians, but remember the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22) and Peter’s call of gentleness and respect when we are giving an answer (1 Pet. 3:15). If you can’t do that, you don’t belong in an online or offline discussion environment.
Have anything to add? Feel free to share your thoughts below and remember, you don’t always have to jump in to make a defense. Listening in silence is a darn fine skill to have and maintain.
Grace and Peace