If you’re not familiar with the Christian term known as apologetics, siddown whilst Uncle Danny schools ya…
“Apologetics” is defined as the thoughtful, thorough defense of Christian beliefs and doctrine, often in the face of non-believers who doubt, scoff, or disregard biblical truth. Or at least that’s how I defined it just now. But if you’ve never heard of apologetics, how can you say I’m wrong?
I’ve never fancied myself as much of an apologist. If you were to pop into my office right now and ask me if I’m a very good apologist, I would say, “You scared the bejeebers out of me! I thought I locked the front door when I came in.” And then I’d say, “No, I don’t think I’m a great apologist. Now please leave, I must change my pants.”
That’s why I’m always surprised when God intervenes in my lack of apologetics skills. I had a conversation yesterday with a friend and Starting Point table host who told me that she is, too. The stuff she now talks about on a regular basis is stuff she never used to talk about. She can defend her faith, explain the gospel, point people towards baptism, and refute false doctrine all while eating the world’s greatest dessert: Honey’s banana pudding. She can do this not because she’s been seminary trained or read a tremendous amount of books, but because God is working in her just when she needs him to.
When I come out of an apologetically-laced conversation, I’m always surprised to review it in my head later and think about the things I said. If you were to ask me to explain some of my answers ten minutes before I gave them, I would tell you that I don’t know about that stuff. If you were to ask me to rehash it ten minutes after I said it, I’d probably stumble and fumble around. But just in the nick of time, God whispers a really good answer in my ear, and I’m able to share it with the person I’m talking to.
I don’t know how it works that way, it just does. 1 Peter 3:15 says that we should always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. Can you do that by studying doctrine, going to seminary, and memorizing lengthy passages of scripture? Of course you can. And I’ll be the first to say that we should be very careful to distinguish the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit from our own “gut feeling” of some hair-brained idea of what we should say. But it’s also fun to see how God gives you the answer…right when you need it.