I ate a lot of steak growing up. I don't know if that's actually true (so don't criticize my mom), but it sure seems like it in my memory. If it were up to me, I think I'd have eaten nothing but steak from the time I was 8 until I was 13. But Mom wouldn't let me. Vegetables.
There's something wildly necessary to diversity. Whether you're talking about food groups or multi-ethnicity or evangelism: a deficit of diversity diminishes.
So, our imaginative exercises this week have been instructive. Tracts in isolation fall flat. Crusades in isolation fall flat. What about apologetics?
Well, it is possible to overestimate the reach of argument. I've done that before. I've thought that I could argue someone into a relationship with Christ. Can you imagine? That wouldn't work in a romantic relationship, why would it work in a spiritual relationship?
Second, we easily drift into thinking that Christianity is primarily an idea or a philosophical system, rather than a spiritual-relational reality. Is Jesus an idea or a person? If he's an idea, Christianity is a system. If he's a person, Christianity is a relationship. (I know it's both, but I'm talking about primacy) Apologetics can set us up for this drift, especially if it becomes isolated from other evangelism.
Lastly, apologetics and debate can be super short-term. Once you make your point, then what? Say the person agrees with you. Then what? Apologetics as a step works, as a means works, but there's always got to be something beyond it. Relationship. Church. Vegetables.
One of the huge hindrances to evangelism in our generation is an over-estimation of apologetics. We argue and wonder why we don't see any change. We train folks to answer tough questions and wonder why they're afraid to share. We debate and grow more and more shallow ourselves. No, we can't practice apologetics in isolation.
We'll do something different.