There are several reasons that Christians give for why they do not want to study apologetics. Of course, I believe that every Christian should study apologetics. But let’s examine some of the most common reasons why Christians are reluctant to study apologetics and see if any of them hold water.
1. Nobody ever comes to faith through apologetics.
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:44) Many quote this verse to show that apologetics is useless in evangelism. Of course, nothing will work if the Holy Spirit isn’t involved. Not apologetics, not sharing the gospel, not preaching, nothing.
But if the Holy Spirit is involved, then he is pleased to use all sorts of things to draw people to the Father. And it is just not true that he has never used apologetics as part of the drawing process. Notable Christians like Josh McDowell, Lee Strobel, and even C. S. Lewis all came to Christ through the use of apologetics.
2. It’s more about the heart than about the head.
“It’s possible to miss heaven by 13 inches. The distance between the heart and the head.” I have heard this pastorism too many times to count. So, is it possible to miss heaven just by being overly concerned with apologetics? Not really. This saying creates a false dichotomy. Being concerned with apologetics does not necessitate that someone is not equally concerned with matters of the heart.
The Bible commands us to love the Lord our God with our heart and mind (Matt 22:37). Neglecting either one is disobedience.
3. Studying apologetics makes you prideful.
You know what else could potentially make you prideful? Anything and everything. Human beings are excellent at making everything about themselves. This is simply not a problem exclusive to apologetics. Are you good at singing? Are you on an incredible streak of bringing people to Christ? Do people always complement your generosity? Then you are also in danger of pride.
Just because something might cause pride in us, that does not mean we should not do it. It just means we need to be mindful of our attitude and take measures to guard against it. Pride is everyone’s weakness.
4. Evangelism is just having a good testimony and sharing your story.
Did becoming a Christian heal you of an addiction? Were you a complete jerk before you started coming to church? Did your church family save you from a life of loneliness and despair? That is great, and we should celebrate these stories of life change! But what is interesting about most stories like these is that any religion could tell them. What makes stories like those any different than stories that a Muslim, Morman, or Buddhist might tell?
The content of faith is paramount. If someone changes their mind to believe in Christ merely because of a good story, then they are just as likely to change it again if a better storyteller comes along. It is important to evangelize with truth at the center.
5. Jesus didn’t do apologetics.
I heard this recently on a podcast that I happened to listen to because they were interviewing Justin Brierley, host of the Unbelievable? podcast. (Which is a great show by the way, and I highly recommend it.) I was a little disappointed that Justin didn’t push harder when the hosts made the point that apologetics must not be that important since Jesus never did it.
Of course, Jesus did apologetics! He was the most gifted apologist that has ever lived! Essentially every miracle Jesus did while he was on this earth was an example of apologetics. He was doing them as signs to his true identity. They were done to give people reasons to believe that he was who he said he was. Not to mention how masterful he was at answering questions and presenting arguments for his views. Here are several examples: Questioned by the Sadducees on the resurrection of the dead (Matt 22:23-33), Arguing in favor of healing on the Sabbath (John 7:21–24 and Luke 13:10-17), Appealing to the evidence of his miracles to confirm to John the Baptist that he was the Messiah (Matt 11:2–6).
It is clear to me, and I hope it is clear to you, that there are really no good reasons not to study apologetics. What other reasons have you heard?