Two men are having a discussion one a bridge. One man is contemplating jumping off the bridge to his death, and the other is trying to talk him out of it. The conversation between the two is recounted by one of the men and went something like this:
I said, “Are you a Christian or a Jew or a Hindu or what?
He Said, “A Christian”
I said, “Small world! Me too! Protestant or Catholic or Greek Orthodox?”
He said, “Protestant.”
I said, “Me too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?”
He said, “Northern Baptist.”
I said, “Me too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?”
He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist.”
I said, “Me too! Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist, Great Lakes Region or Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist, Eastern Region?
He said, “Northern Conservative Fundamenta
list Baptist, Great Lakes Region.”
I said, “Me too! Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist, Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist, Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?
He said, “
Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist, Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.”
I screamed, “Die, heretic!” and pushed him over.
Apologetics, giving a reason for what we believe, is in many ways a demanding task. There are so many diverse ideas in the world, many of them false and destructive. The Christian must have a working knowledge across many schools of thought in order to indentify false teachings, heresies, poor theology, inaccurate facts, and arguments without rational merit. There is so much information to wade through.
One must also be aware of what questions people have, and study to formulate answers to these often difficult questions. The Christian has been called to engage the mind in order to “knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.”
In the midst of learning and engaging our minds, we must be cognizant of the fact that sometimes knowledge leads to arrogance unless we stay humble before Christ. Sometimes in defending the faith we hold so dear we become too entrenched in opinions that are not lynchpin issues. Sure, we should have an opinion on most everything, but sometimes we need not be overly dogmatic on certain topics.
Sometimes we can become so unbending in our ideas and opinions that we actually repel people away from the Gospel. We can learn a lot from our friend, the Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist, Great Lakes Region Council of 1879. In constructing our beliefs and theologies we need to be informed and have an opinion on all issues, but we can do so with grace, understanding, and an open mind. We can respect people with beliefs that diverge from our own.
When it comes giving a reason for the hope that is in us as believers we need not let less important beliefs impede the most important thing, the Gospel of Christ. In other words, as Stephen Covey says, “Keep the main thing the main thing.” Again, the main thing being the Gospel message of Christ: Man sinned, God so loved the world that He sent His sin, Christ died for the sin of man, was buried, rose, and offers us a right standing with God if we submit to Him and turn from our sins.
Let’s make sure in our zeal to discuss, share, and defend the faith we hold dear that we don’t come across as arrogant, both with believers and non-believers alike. Let’s make sure that we listen. Let’s make sure others walk away feeling heard. And by all means, let’s keep the main thing the main thing. That God is love, that He is the friend of sinners, and that He offers us grace in our hopeless state.
Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.