Apologetics is the discipline of giving a reason for the Christian faith so that they can examine it and decide for themselves. I love apologetics when it’s done right. It allows people to see the truth of the Gospel. It strengthens believers. And it gives us more reasons to worship God.
But when it’s done poorly, it can do more harm than good.
Here are some of the differences between Strong and Weak Apologetics.
- Weak Apologetics will have more insights and quotes from various apologetics writers than from Scripture. Strong Apologetics delights in God’s word, not only as a resource for knowledge, but as the inspired word of God – our Lord, our Father, our Saviour.
- Weak Apologetics sees every situation and every person as a bundle of reasons and arguments to speak with and debate about. Strong Apologetics recognizes that reasons and arguments are only one of the dozens of ways that people are moved and it attempts to consider the entirety of the person.
- Weak Apologetics will focus on building up the mind and reasoning skills. Strong Apologetics knows that your testimony – your lifestyle, the way you speak to people, the way you work, the way you relate with others, the way you treat your family – is a much stronger reason than any argument you can make.
- Weak Apologetics thinks only of the short-term, immediate argument. It has given no effort to discipling people in the faith. Strong Apologetics is concerned with discipleship – not just knowing and saying the right things, but knowing the right Person and living for Him.
- Weak Apologetics is led by the arguments and the logic. Strong Apologetics is led by the Spirit – sometimes the best response is logical, sometimes the best response is relational, sometimes the best response is silence.
- Weak Apologetics doesn’t build relationships with the lost, unless it sees a potential argument there. Strong Apologetics knows that modelling God’s love and kindness to the world will sometimes make any debate unnecessary.
- Weak Apologetics approaches life and people in strictly formal categories – “Oh, you’re an agnostic. Here’s the reasons for you.” Strong Apologetics knows that every human being is unique. They have their own journey, their own reasons for coming to their current state of belief. And it works hard to get to know people in order to understand them better.
- Weak Apologetics cannot acknowledge spiritual growth in others unless it’s intellectual. Strong Apologetics knows that loving God with all your mind, is just one part and it aims to strengthen that area and all the others.
- Weak Apologetics thinks that their knowledge gives them superiority over others and excuses other fundamental discipleship gaps. Strong Apologetics knows that in the Christian faith, knowing the right things and living the right way are inseparable.
- Eventually, Weak Apologetics becomes very repetitive and monotonous as they’ve limited themselves from experiencing the fulness of the Christian faith. Strong Apologetics grows multi-directionally because they’re allowing God to shape every part of them.
- If it doesn’t change, Weak Apologetics will still be in the same place, rehearsing imaginary arguments and congratulating itself on its mythical success. While Strong Apologetics will be enjoy the fruit of its labor of walking with the Lord and discipling others.
My prayer for all of us is that we embrace God’s discipline and godly discipleship that teaches us to obey God fully with all of our mind, all of our emotions, and all of our actions.