As we continue to look at Total Church, this week brings us to chapter 11 on Apologetics. I thought the authors did a great job of unfolding the history of how the faith is defended. They eventually call for a “relational apologetic”:
Apologetics is answering questions raised by our lives. This is not simply a matter of lone Christians living godly lives and doing good works. In the Old Testament it was the life of the covenant community that was to function as a light to the nations. And in the New Testament too it is the life of the community that commends the gospel…We need to persuade people that our story, the story of God, is true. But they will only explore its truth if we can first persuade them that it might be a better story. We need to address their hearts before we can begin to address the questions in their heads. (pp.178-179)
There are some enormous implications: 1) The Christian community should demonstrate the Gospel. 2) We should be more concerned about hearts over heads. Both of these are traditionally weaknesses in my own life and in the life of the church. We seek to make evangelism a door to door with one person all alone kind of thing. But there are corporate elements that need to demonstrate the Gospel. Also, we need to avoid a campaign to just win arguments. Hearts have to be addressed. People in our culture need to see a demonstration of people gripped by truth. This will awaken our role to speak to the head questions. Let’s defend the faith properly, in a corporate witness that demonstrates the power of God.