In the life of every person there is a defining moment. For the Christian apologist it comes in the form of compromise. As I have read many Christian apologists and as I try and interpret the subtext of their messages I spot some that seem to have compromised the Christian faith they are claiming to defend.
For some its rejecting biblical inerrancy in exchange for some kind of human authority; for some its leaving the biblical moral code for modern culture and all that it gives a person. That little moment is when we are one thing and we exchange it for another. Some think that being a Chameleon in Christian circles keeps one in the good graces of public opinion. But those folks don’t realize there are too many ‘sherlocks’ are out there and if they find you are saying one thing here and another over there, they quickly expose your change of colors and with it damage your reputation.
For me, I recognize Christian apologists get hit hard. If they engage the enemy of their souls for very long, they get scars. The battle rages on and only a few ever make it past the goal post without being tackled by bigger and stronger temptations. What can an apologist do these days? Who can support the category of apologists that have defined themselves as ‘in the know’ scientifically and decided that science and evolutionary theory are right, for them, the earth is very old and dinosaurs, men and animals all lived out their days dying and birthing…until some marked place in time where the actual count down to Christ began. Who can support the apologist that sits ‘in the know’ over his fellow apologists and inwardly laughs at the silliness of inerrancy or perspecuity. These apologists have no authoritative bible, just a bible that ‘other’s follow’ and their credentials concerning biblical texts, grammar, linguistics place them in a position to undermine anyone who believes what is written as it is written. For them, their appeal to a very small company of elite textuaries gives them a modern gnostic-style appeal. New converts only dream of understanding the bible, whereas these professionals dream of not knowing what they know.
The battle rages on, some think presuppositionalism is the end all, others the classical method, for others evidential methodology alone settles the issue with hard facts. Its time we realize we cannot know it all and no matter what methodology we choose, God has a part to play in it. We are wired in various ways, we think differently because we have learned how to arrive at trust-worthy conclusions differently from one another. For some, this potpourri will not suffice because for them it’s a compromise to add or subtract one or more methodologies. This is why Fideism is beat like a step-child by most apologists…yet are not miracles a defining mark of the supernatural God we love and serve? Yes, they would all say, but miracles cannot be easily categorized as doctrine, heresy, principle or philosophy. God’s “at-will” workings fit no mold and for those Christian-Humeans (David Hume thinkers) who reject miracles for lack of evidence it must be hard to read a bible with miracles and promises that “greater works shall you do” when someone in your tribe has declared such power and gifts died with the apostles.
There’s no lack of difficulties today for the apologist. The best most Christian apologists can do is remain faithful to the scripture, remain faithful to their denominations, creeds or confessions, remain faithful to their own logic and philosophy and pray…if they do pray, that God would forgive their stupidity and grant them grace to persevere in the face of little to no help from their own Churches. Why no help from their Churches? Because usually in any congregation there might only be one or maybe three that enjoy apologetics and seek to grow in it in order to be useful to their own congregations and the Church at large. But if there are difficulties, who can empathize with them? Only the Lord Jesus himself. The pastors are usually not interested, besides (what could an apologist know about Christian battles?) the leadership knows the apologist is way past their own basic knowledge of scripture and they know the apologist needing help will recognize the trite and clique’ words they offer to others.
Sometimes the apologist wants to be loved for just being in the battle, he/she wants to be acknowledged as trying to be a front-line soldier, engaging the enemy where he lives and in what he says about Christ, the Church and the scriptures. The apologist might want someone to just care about them.
You see, no matter if you are an apologist and you subscribe to O.E.C. and hold to human authority as the final strength of your argument; or, if you are Y.E.C. you are known for believing a bible that many say you cannot substantiate through science, or you are a believer in the bible, but the bible is not inerrant to you, or you think that there is no hell, or you think miracles are gone the way of the Dodo, as genuine and true believers in Christ ( generalizing the true Christian apologist) you are doing what you can with with God gave you. Every apologist takes his shots from both apologist and unbelievers. When you go to bed, tired from the battle from unbelievers and being beat on from other believers, the Christian apologist vainly sleeps knowing he has very few friends and even less supporters. A man can even have a wife that cannot fathom why anyone would want to debate, argue, rationalize, study, learn, interpret and weigh out the thoughts of so many enemies to the faith…for no earthly rewards whatsoever. The Christian woman apologist may be in the exact same shoes and even less supporters among her girlfriends. For all the Christian apologist claims to know, he knows very few front line soldiers that don’t mistake him for the enemy.
Apologetic conventions…I’d love to attend one. But you wonder that its a misnomer; Christian apologists are hardly ever pack hunters, they are usually all guerrillas in the spiritual battle. Ever seen a herd of Christian apologists? Not likely…you can spot a pastoral convention with a hundred cars in the parking lot, you can recognize a gathering of sheep to pray, study scripture or be taught…but try and find an apologist support group and you will run out of gas or ‘gigs’ looking for one.
Christian apologists love to ‘iron sharpens iron’ however, when our fellow apologist come in bloody from the battle, the last thing they need is ‘sharpening’, they need some compassion and some tenderness.
As a Christian Apologist…a 50 cent one…Save your fellow apologists too, not just the angry atheist, the loony cultist or the misguided Christian. Save your Christian apologist, recognize they can be misguided, unbelieving, angry, frustrated, disappointed, hated, misunderstood, rejected and most of all the kind of Christian that other Christians would say “see ya….wouldn’t want to be ya”.
Some Christians dare to stand next to the Christian Apologist and offer pot-shots at enemies to the faith. They laugh and pretend to some sort of superiority because they supposedly know something someone else does not. The investment in real academics for the sake of Christ and the lost does not lead the Christian Apologist to make ‘potshots’ at an enemy of the faith. He knows well, the enemies of the faith do not die from the vitriol of trolls, they die because the Holy Spirit used Spirit directed words to break down the strong-holds within the mind of a sinner. He knows the Spirit of God must do the work only God can do and must do in order for the Apologist’s words to be of any effect at all.
If there was ever an argument for the ‘perfect’ not yet here, the Christian apologist and all they are and do must testify to the imperfections of men. Even with bible in hand, we know in part and we prophecy in part, we see through a glass darkly, though face to face, we do not know as we are known. We do not live with such knowledge now and those who would dare to claim they hold perfection, that perfection has not taken them or their flocks past partial truth, incomplete knowledge and for certain they cannot foretell a future with unbelief as the signature in black.