God has called all Christians to be an Apologist. Obviously, there are differing degrees of this. Some devote much of their life to the study of various disciplines in order to defend the faith, equip others, and keep Christianity a strong presence in the marketplace. But, at the foundational level, every believer should be ready to give an answer for the hope that they cling to (I Peter 3:15).
A fundamental mistake that I see many apologists make is that they hide behind what they believe. Now, there is no doubt the Christian should become intimately acquainted with the many conflicting ideas of our times and where they stand as a Christian in the middle of an increasingly post Christian culture. The Christian should stand firm on what they believe to be true, but we must not use our beliefs as a means to foxhole ourselves from the world around us.
Beliefs are important, but so are relationships. There is a tension here. We must not remove this tension. We must make sure that we are standing on truth, speaking love, and becoming involved in the lives of other people. Sometimes, I think it is entirely easy to tell others what we believe without showing them the love and investing in their lives. People are more open to what we believe when they understand how those beliefs translate into life. If all the world sees is a group of people hiding behind what they believe without actively living what they believe and investing their lives into people, they will turn up their nose regardless of how sound the logic and persuasive the argument.
As believers, and apologists, we must promote truth, leverage good arguments, and challenge false ideas, but we must also live the truth that we are so knowledgeable about and invest in people, which is often a messy and challenging task.
We must speak the truth with love, that is, we provide persuasive arguments and let the love of Christ be made known through our words and actions. As Ravi Zacharias is fond of saying, “You don’t cut off a person’s nose and then give them a rose to smell.” Long before people will hear our reasons for believing, they must first see them!
Walk good. Love wise. Be blessed.