Apologists deal with truth/Truth based on reason and evidence. Whether it be for the existence of God, morality, the resurrection, Bible and a plethora of other topics. Yet, as most of us know, apologists are some of the most disliked, maybe that is too strong, but, people in the Christian community. We are accused of only wanting to argue and cause division. We are thought of as people that simply can't accept "faith" as an answer, and know it alls. Many feel that we believe that we are right, on all subjects, regardless of what anyone else believes. Apologetics is a unique discipline that ALL are called to do, but few, to actually learn and practice the discipline as an obedience to God, or as a career. (we promise it is not something we typically choose as a career). So why such a bad rap for both apologetics and the apologist? Could it be that "loving and gentle" actually is an oxymoron with apologists? Let me explain...
You see, apologetics is a command for each and every follower of Christ. We all go to 1 Peter 3:15 as our first defense of that statement, but let's look at others as some feel we use 1 Peter out of context. What about the first and greatest commandment of Jesus Himself, you know the one, to love God with all of your heart, soul and MIND. Or what about 2 Corinthians 10:5 concerning destroying arguments. Maybe Jude 1:3, or Acts 19:, and 17:17. Not enough, how about Jesus Himself; in Matthew 22, Luke 5, or Acts 2? But yet, apologetics and apologists themselves are mostly ignored or deemed, along with the examples above, as negative. Here in lies why many would agree "loving and gentle" is an oxymoron with apologists.
I am not sure which God or Jesus most of those that feel this way follow. But then to write that is negative. So let's try this; I am not sure how to tell someone they are wrong in a loving and gentle manner. This could very well be the problem. You see, people do not like to be told they are wrong. Most people like the "feel good", "loving", handing out "blessings" stuff regardless if it has any bearing on God or the Truth. And, to an extent, there may not be anything wrong with that. However, why such anger, and hurt feelings, toward those who have spent a large amount of time to learn the discipline of apologetics? Do they not care, or is it that we, the apologists, come across as frustrated, blunt, and angry when presenting, or sharing, what God has put on our hearts. I am confident it is the latter. Thus, is loving and gentle really an oxymoron with apologetics?
Apologetics is a strange animal. Mainly because of dealing with truth/Truth. Answering the tough questions, and dealing with "hot" topics such as abortion and gay marriage to name a couple. And, for that matter, truth/Truth, in and of itself, is a hard topic to address. Simply because many believe something does not make it true. And truth/Truth is based on fact, else it would only be an opinion. If truth/Truth does not exist, then we, everyone that professes to be a follower, are wasting our time. That Book we supposedly read and love even says so! Oops, negative, sorry. So what is the problem? I, and I am an apologist, suggest that "loving and gentle" is indeed an oxymoron with apologists.
It seems no matter how one may try, be it right or wrong, and it is wrong, along with going back to the first piece of scripture presented, (1 Peter 3:15), sharing truth/Truth is hard. Hard in a way that it appears the apologists is by far being anything but loving and gentle. Pick a topic, go ahead, pick almost any topic concerning God and attempt to tell someone what they believe, and have believed since birth, is wrong. I like using the prosperity gospel as an example. It seems to be one of the, if not the, fastest growing "Christian" denomination going. So think about it. Think of some of the most popular "preachers", and I use that term loosely, and tell one of their followers the prosperity gospel is a false teaching. Go ahead, try it. I'll wait....(I actually did pause for a moment). How did it work out for you? Did you tell them they are wrong in a loving and gentle manner? Did they say, "well, thank you so much, if I had only known?" I am betting, not that I bet, if you did, or do, tell one of their followers the prosperity gospel is wrong, no matter how loving and gentle you present it, their response was not pleasant. This is an easy example. Explain to another brother or sister in Christ a verse they are using is out of context. Or that they should at least know "why", (see Biblical examples above), they so love God as much as they profess. Ask them where the Bible came from and why they believe it, and to give you a reason that they believe Jesus rose from the grave. These are basic questions Christians should know. Well, if they are following the Word of God anyway.
Do you see why the question "Is "loving and gentle" an oxymoron with apologists is a very legitimate question? It is not that we wake up each morning and consider,"who can we upset today"? It isn't that we want to cause division, or argue. In fact we want Christians to be able to defend the Truth of Christianity. After all it is Biblical. So is it the apologist that isn't being "loving and gentle"? Or is it the all too sensitive brother and sister in Christ that doesn't really want to know the Truth? Apologists are only trying to help, and follow the commands of the Bible. Yes, it may come across as being negative, or whatever other term you would like to insert there, but if you are to happen to read the Book mentioned earlier, we are to hold each other accountable, 1 Corinthians 5:12, and we re to call out false teachers, and believe it or not, the Word of God also tells us the Bible is to be used to "correct and rebuke" also.
I know, I know, another negative blog, and I should stop judging everyone else...