Thursday, February 19, 2015

Apologetics are for Christians, Not the Unbelievers

Trying to argue for the existence of a standard moral law to which all humans should adhere is exhausting. I came across another blog today where the author was confidently proclaiming that people should adhere to his version of chivalry and self-sacrifice because - Natural Law!

When challenged on that assumption, the debate inevitably degenerated to a discussion of
"My god can beat up your god!"
"Nuh Uh! You can't say that! The Bible is just an old book!"
"Oh Yeah? Well you're just stupid!"
That's not what was said, but sadly that was the rationale between the warring factions.It's sophomoric. It's juvenile. It is the state of debate when people aren't even equipped to understand debate and rhetoric.

As a Christian, I tire of the back and forth. The appeal to "Reason" as the highest good. The demand for evidence that must adhere to "scientific" standards when the people asking for that evidence don't realize that observational evidence is only one type of rational evidence in the field of epistemology.

A commenter on the post recommended I watch a debate between Dr. Greg Bahnsen and Dr. Gordon Stein. Good stuff.

Then it occurred to me that the Apologetics, the evidences, the legal rationale, etc. aren't for the unbelievers. They're to reassure the committed Christians that they are on the right path. And this is ok. The Bible has 1 John to tell us what a true Christian looks like.

  • He doesn't try to say he has no sin
  • He confesses sins
  • He loves his brother. If he doesn't, then he isn't really a Christian
  • He walks in the Light
  • He keeps God's commandments
  • He does not love the World
  • He does not deny Jesus is the Christ
  • He practices righteousness
  • He helps his brother in need, physically - not just spiritually
  • He has the Spirit of God

There are more, but these are apologetics from 1 John. I've lived awhile now, and NEVER have I seen an unbeliever from one of these debates come to Christ because of it. I can do a fair job of representing these ideas, but no one has ever fallen to their knees in abject appreciation for the message and "proofs" I've given them. No one has ever come to Christ from anything I've said in a debate.

What does that mean? The older I get, the more I think the Calvinists are right: No one can come to God unless God first calls them. The only thing I ever really had against them was the idea that someone can live as they pleased but were always saved. Yet just from observational evidence, it is clear that most people just don't want to hear the Gospel. God isn't calling them.

Presenting the Gospel to a willing heart is one thing. Trying to win a debate is another. But I'm pretty sure it is a small percentage that are won as a result of the debate.

Love alone doesn't win people to Christ either. Without an effective presentation of the Gospel, all the good works in the world won't win a person who is not ready to hear the message. They will gladly take your free food, free clothes, and warm beds for years and NEVER come to Christ for anything.

So far, it looks as if the Calvinists are right. The only way people are won is by the working of the Holy Spirit in their lives. If they aren't being drawn, then they are lost. They not only WON'T hear, they CANNOT hear. They don't have spiritual eyes and hearts to see.

I don't want to waste any more time on people who aren't looking. I want to find the people that are looking for God. They come first.

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