For the longest time I used to think tracts were a horrible way of evangelizing and reaching out non-believers. To me it seemed confronting and ineffective. In fact I had never heard of a person that had come to Christ from reading a tract, I only heard stories of people being annoyed even angered by the flyers. That all changed when I was in Nepal and I met pastor Meg. Long story short, Meg was at the end of his rope and found himself digging through trash for food. He found a tract and after reading it over he dedicated his life to Christ and now is a pastor in Nepal.
The reason I start with this is I know there are a lot of people who believe that apologetics is ineffective in reaching people and perhaps even more damaging than helpful. Thinking of Meg I would first offer to say, God can work in ways that you may not think are ineffective.
Furthermore, I would challenge the belief that apologetics is ineffective. I’ve been a part of a apologetics ministry called Ratio Christi for only about six months and we have one student who has already come to the Lord from the work we are doing. Many very well known Christians have come to the Lord as the result of apologetic related conversations, C. S. Lewis, Josh McDowel, Lee Strobel, and others. Granted many of these many are champions of Apologetics so it may seem this argument is circular, but I would say they are champions of apologetics because it was the way the Lord reached them, and perhaps they would have never known the Lord otherwise.
I know many object to apologetics because they feel that it is confrontative or combative, and as a result unloving. My question ‘where does this non-confrontive, non-combative evangelism play out in the Gospels and Epistles?’ Frankly, I don’t see it. Jesus is very combative with the Pharisees and Sadducees. Paul also doesn’t shy away from some argument and confrontation. I know argument and debate is uncomfortable for a lot of people but just because it isn’t comfortable doesn’t mean it’s wrong. In fact some of the best and most important things in life are uncomfortable. In fact our greatest leaders are the ones that were doing apologetics for what they believed in. Martin Luther King argued and debated with others, he reasoned with them. Gandhi, William Wallace, Winston Churchill, they all lived lives of confrontation. It was because of that confrontation that they are the leaders that we look up to now.
Think of you’re greatest heroes, where would they be without defending what they believed in? Would you really call them your hero anymore? Apologetics is the Greek word for defense. So anyone that you look up to that has defended something, verbally, physically or otherwise is an apologist. So if you have this problem with apologetics perhaps you should think over what you really have a problem with a bit more. Just a thought.
Greg Koukl shares what he calls the Columbo Tactic. If you can just learn this one skill you will find yourself so much better equipped to defend Christianity no matter how much or little you know.