Sharing Hope not Winning a Verdict
Discussion/Devotional thought of the day:
It seems that somewhere after CS Lewis, the nature of evangelism and apologetics shifted from coming alongside a person, and sharing the reason we have faith, into a contest of beliefs, a combat of philosophies, where the more logical, the more provable position wins, even if it loses. The Christian apologist loses, not by presenting a less logical system of belief, but the moment the conversation turns into win-loose discussion, the moment they become condescending, the moment they seek to trump the other persons belief system.
Consider this, from a catholic evangelist,
“The spreading of Christian teaching need not provoke antagonism, or harm those who do not know our doctrine. Caritas omnia suffert!—love bears all things. If one proceeds with charity, anyone who might otherwise have been opposed to Christianity and been deceived by error may easily and honestly end up committing himself to it. However, there can be no giving ground in dogma in the name of a naive “breadth of belief”, for if anyone acted in this way he would risk putting himself out of the Church. Instead of winning a benefit for others he would harm himself.” Escriva,
Too often, we rejoice in the well honed comeback, the story where the young Christian trumps the professor, or the atheist, where “we show them”. Yet such victories ring hollow, if the other person walks away without the hope that we rejoice in knowing Jesus, and the enormous dimensions of His love, if they walk away without hearing of God’s love that will heal their lives crushed by sin. Apologetics – is not a game – its not a victory strategy over people who live in darkness, who have no concept of light.
Our purpose isn’t to win an argument, it is to win a life.
That doesn’t mean we compromise our faith, but we patiently work with those on the journey, helping them get used to what is revealed, a God who has come to them, who will cleanse their wounds, who will take their burdens, who will walk beside them, making their journey one of joy, no matter the struggle. That is why the Holy Spirit’s “nickname” is the Paraclete, the Comforter, the One called alongside…and as we are the temples where that Spirit dwells, we too are called alongside…
To share, as St Peter tells us, the reason we have hope….
Lord Have mercy, and as we realize that He has… may we share that with those who do not know it…. yet!
Posted on July 6, 2012, in Devotions and tagged APologetics, comforter, Evangelism, grace, Jesus, life, mercy, Ministry, paraclete, patience, sharing hope. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.
I love your line that apologetics is not a game…. How true! The goal of apologetics, and the Church, is to bring people in, not to triumph over them. Use apologetics to build relationships, not to tear down people. Christ will shine through you when you are kind to people, whether you are proven right or not. God doesn’t need us to “prove” who He is; He has done that just fine on His own.