Justin Brierley hosts Unbelieveable?—a weekly radio show (and podcast) where he invites Christians and non-Christians to discuss various apologetics-related topics. In Brierley’s book, Unbelievable?: Why After Ten Years of Talking With Atheists, I’m Still a Christian, he comments on something he’s observed too often in Christians who love apologetics:
Like the Star Wars collector who keeps his original 1979 Millennium Falcon toy pristine and unopened in its original box, and has never actually played with it, too many apologists are guilty of spending more time arguing for the truth of their faith than experiencing its living reality. I sometimes fear that those non-believers whose only exposure to Christianity is a weekly dose of the Unbelievable? podcast may assume that debating the theories, doctrines and truth claims of Christianity is the main point. But it really isn’t....
What begins in the head should eventually become a matter of the heart. Sadly, apologetics can often end up resembling a game of chess in which clever moves advance an argument, but the victory amounts to little more than an intellectual exercise. Yet people can’t entrust their lives to an argument, however well made. Faith involves more than that. If our arguments are worth making, it is because they open the door to trusting in a person—Jesus Christ—and then living our lives in the light of that reality.
Does this sound like you? We who truly enjoy our analytical side are all in danger of getting caught up in thinking about arguments for Jesus at the expense of actually communing with Him and holding Him up for others to worship. Don’t forget why we do what we do! It’s all for Him—knowing Him, glorifying Him, being conformed to Him, showing Him to others. If you’ve become more focused on arguments than you are on Jesus, then something has gone wrong, and if you’re not yet feeling the spiritual effects of this, you will.
If you need a little course corrector, I recommend these posts: