Apologetics is for Everyone
Friday, February 20, 2015 at 9:30PM
Ben Simpson in Dallas Willard, Spiritual Formation, Theology, apologetics

Now notice the assumption in the charter that apologetics is for everyone. It is for everyone precisely because it simply calls upon a very natural human ability that we each have--reason. We are to submit that ability to God, so that he might fill it with his Spirit and use it as he uses all of our other natural abilities.

- Dallas Willard, The Allure of Gentleness: Defending the Faith in the Manner of Jesus, 33

As a Christian discipline, apologetics is the work of offering a defense of the faith. Dallas Willard is one of my favorite apologists. And he believes every Christian is called to the work of apologetics.

Willard's approach differs from the common notion of apologetics, without devaluing those presenting logical arguments concerning science, ethics, the reliability of the Bible, or other such matters.

Willard argues strongly for the context of apologetics being that of a remarkable life that raises questions in need of answering, whether immediately or over the course of years. Willard writes, "I wish many of my colleagues in the work of apologetics would emblazon [these words] on their forehead: 'With Gentleness and Reverence.'" Willard is quoting 1 Peter 3:15-16, a bedrock text for apologetics.

So often, Christians conclude that the work of apologetics is restricted to the specialist. But Willard says no, it is for every Christian, and it can be done by every Christian. Loving God heart, soul, strength, and mind are possible. Jesus commanded us to do so. He does not command anything he will not assist us in attaining by his grace. Therefore, for those who will become his students, Jesus will help us love God with our minds.

Have you ever wondered how you love God with your mind? You do it by focusing your mind on him and by submitting all of your powers of mind to him so that he might use them. We use our mind to think seriously about the message he has given us in scripture and in creation, and we teach others to do the same; that's how we love him with our mind.

Willard writes, "Apologetics is not a contest of any kind, with winners and losers. It is a loving service. It is the finding of answers to strengthen faith."

Such an apologetics is rooted in the eternal kind of life Jesus has made possible. It is an apologetics of kingdom citizenry, established in an unshakeable hope. More answers are there for the offering, for those who are spokespersons for Christ.

Apologetics goes beyond the technical. It begins in the everyday. In the grocery line. Mopping floors. Preparing a meal. Having a conversation.

Apologetics is for everyone.

Article originally appeared on Benjamin A. Simpson (http://benjaminasimpson.com/).
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