I have been paying special attention to websites and wordsmiths trying to come up with something to replace the often misunderstood term “apologetics”. So far I’ve had no luck and it appears I may have to go public with my concern.
Please, on behalf of defenders of the faith across the land, is it too much to ask of you guys to coin another word or phrase to describe what us Christians are actually doing when we present logical proofs for faith.
It’s so easy to get confused when someone tells me they are doing apologetics. I should know better but I am tempted to reply “don’t be sorry. It’s not your fault you have to make excuses for believing in Jesus.”
And it gets even more convoluted when these apologists get good at it. While defending any theological position usually means you are well… on the defensive, unfortunately this isn’t the always the case. In fact a few well intentioned souls I’ve come across have become so aggressive in their defence tactics that I find myself apologizing for them just to keep the rest of us from burning on somebody else’s pyre.
Yes, I am well aware that yelling “Take that back you pagan mind sloth” across a lecture theater does little to display the gentle demeanour of this person we call Prince of the Peacemakers. I promise to send a memo to the whole crew. Same goes for hurling fistfuls of The Four Spiritual Laws out the car window at rowdy passersby. I know it’s not really witnessing and only reinforces the stereotype that evangelicals could care less about the only planet we could be trusted with. We can do better.
Now I know what you’re thinking. “You want a twenty-first century definition for the practice of using logic to delineate the Truth of the Christian Faith? That is so NOT post-modern!” Yes, I realize that many people don’t care whether The Jesus Story is actually true; they just want to know that it works FOR THEM. I get that. But when experiential fluff fails to deliver the goods 100 percent of the time, I want to be ready with some killer historical bones to throw. (Don’t get all crazy. I’m not suggesting for a moment that Jesus didn’t rise from the dead. And I doubt James Cameron will ever admit it, but he paid way too much for the contents of that ossuary on Storage Wars Jerusalem!)
You see, apologetics is so much more than a town-hall styled attempt at making excuses for why we think Jesus is more than just a good idea. I’m convinced the word itself has become a self-fulfilling prophesy and it’s become too easy to live up to the misunderstanding.
What we need is a word that helps convey the calm confidence we have in the logical consistency of our faith position, our worldview. A little less “oops it turns out that I think this way” and a little more “hey… why don’t we think about it thiiis way?”
Listen Thesaurus guys, I understand that you are short-staffed already but if you can pull some of the team off your “Twerking- Word of the Decade” campaign and give us a hand we would appreciate it.
PS if you have already come up something and forgot to tell us… No worries. Apology accepted.