The Purpose of Apologetics (And the Bane of the Apologist)

I once heard someone tell the story of an evangelistic meeting where he and some other elders were praying to cast out a demon. It was something that they had done many times before. At this particular meeting they prayed and prayed but were perplexed as to why the demon would not leave. Exasperated, this minister threw up his hands and exclaimed, “I can’t do this!” At that moment, the demon left the person it was oppressing. It was then he realized that pride had crept in and he was trying to cast out demons on his own strength instead of the Lord.

The field of apologetics is like this. It is really easy to get puffed up with all the reason and intellectual jargon of the arguments, and get trapped using your own logic to defend God, as if he needs you to defend him at all.

The whole purpose of apologetics is to bring a person to the point of faith, something that once seemed unreasonable. But this is done not by human reason and logical arguments. 1 Corinthians 1:19-20 says, “Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” No, it is not by human logic at all, but, “when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). It is by the Spirit of God that all truth and reason come. The wisdom of man is foolishness to God.

I now know that I know nothing at all on my own. True wisdom comes from God himself. May I never be found giving an argument on my own strength or knowledge or understanding. This would not bring glory to God, as I long to do, but it would only be foolishness to him. And it would only be foolishness to man too.

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