Who should be a “Christian case-maker?” In a previous post we discussed how apologetics is the Biblical call of every Christian.
It’s true that there are some people who devote their whole lives and study in universities and full-time work in the area of Christian case-making. These are the “professional” apologists. They’re the experts. They don’t have the average full-time job in the secular world that you may have. Should we leave apologetics to them because, after all, that’s all they seem to do for a living?
You’re much too busy to read/study/do the hard work it takes to train in Christian apologetics. Suppose you have told someone you’re a Christian and now they are asking you some tough questions, you may be tempted to ask one of the following 3 objections to doing apologetics for yourself:
Can’t I Just Get My Smart Friend/Pastor to Talk to Them?
You’ve been asked a tough question about Christianity and you weren’t prepared to answer. You respond to the non-Christian you’re talking with: “Great question, you should talk to my pastor about that!” Why can’t you give a reasonable case for Christianity right at that moment?
I’m sure your pastor would be delighted to chat with your non-Christian friend, but I’m also sure he is probably quite busy. What if the person you’re chatting with is a stranger? How are you going to make sure you can set up a meeting between them and your smart friend/pastor? You’re taking a risk in this busy world. By all means, you can invite them to chat with your smart friend/pastor, but do make sure this is not going to be intimidating for them.
Meanwhile, you’ve got the opportunity right then and there to give them a reasonable answer yourself. Don’t waste the opportunity!
Can’t I Just Invite Them to a Lecture, Conference, or Church?
Same scenario: You’ve been asked a tough question and you weren’t prepared. Now you have to convince a non-Christian to be open enough to join you at a Christian lecture, conference, or even a church service. The thought of stepping anywhere near a group of Christians is a scary one for a lot of people.
The other problem with lectures, conferences, and church services is that there isn’t always a forum for the Atheist/skeptic/seeker to ask questions. Sometimes there is, but often not. It is very helpful for someone to be able to dialogue about their objections to Christianity and they may not want to be talked at (by you or a professional). They may also not want to ask their questions in front of lots of other people.
Many non-Christians want to be able to ask questions and dialogue. Since you’re already in conversation with them, why try to make sure that their schedule is free on the exact day that a professional is giving a lecture or conference? By all means, invite them to lectures, conferences, and church but do realize that you may not be able to ensure they will show up at all. Don’t waste the dialogue you’re already having at that moment
Can’t I Just Recommend a Book, Website, or Video?
Same scenario, of course: You’re dialoguing with a non-Christian and would prefer to direct them towards a book, website, or video than answer their objections yourself.
Suppose you go to great lengths to buy that book for them (which a lot of people won’t even do that, they’ll just say the name and tell them to go buy it). Suppose you’ve sent them the website or video link. How do you know they’ll really look at it? Maybe they don’t feel they have time to read that book, website, or watch that video. Now what?
There’s no guarantee that they will go check out those resources on their own time, it may be asking too much of them (as easy as it sounds). It’s so easy to go home and forget about the recommendation or not be in the mood to open that link and then they never get around to it. You didn’t give them the content of those resources and may have missed an opportunity for meaningful discussion.
By all means, give them the book, website, or video to check out. Don’t be surprised if you ask them the next time you see them “Did you check that out?” and they respond with a resounding “No, sorry, I didn’t have time.”
For many non-Christians, you are the only exposure to Christianity that they will ever get. If you’re not preparing yourself to defend your faith in those situations then an opportunity could have been wasted/missed. It is alright to point people towards the professional Christian case-makers, but often in those conversations they are asking you to be the Christian case-maker yourself.
Don’t just leave apologetics to the professionals. Apologetics is for any Christian who knows a non-Christian (which, I hope, is everyone reading this because Jesus knew loads of non-Christians too)
– Tyson Bradley