Jesus said, "The time is fulfilled,
and the kingdom of God is at hand;
repent and believe in the gospel."
By: Bryan Auten
A Christian ambassador desires to be tactful, persuasive, sensitive, and thoughtful. Being a good apologist and being able to give good reasons for the truth of the Christian view takes prayer, patience, study, and persistence. For those who have made it their goal to become good defenders of the faith, there are certain positive disciplines and character traits that one would do well to develop. These help you become a wise apologist.
But on the other hand, there are certain pitfalls that can appear that, when left unchecked, can become character traits and make you a foolish apologist. Although there are surely more, here are Ten Pitfalls of the Foolish Apologist:
The foolish apologist speaks before listening. Proverbs 18:13 says, "He who answers before listening - that is his folly and his shame." Not only does he communicate to others that he couldn't care less about what they have to say, but he also becomes unable to give a well informed answer. The wise apologist is patient, seeks to understand, and avoids monologue.
The foolish apologist overstates his argument. The foolish apologist doesn't have "good reasons." Instead, he can prove it. He can show something beyond the shadow of a doubt. His arguments are presented with all confidence -- and of course he can't be wrong. Even when using good arguments, he exaggerates what they actually show. No modesty here, and people balk. The wise apologist argues confidently, yet with modesty.
The foolish apologist wants to win every point. When the conversation gets complex, he needs to make sure to correct every single error he sees with another person's view. Never mind that his conversation partner is getting offended by his "attention to detail." This apologist is the fallacy police, the fact-checker, and grammarian all-in-one. If he makes an error, back-pedaling is in order, with little or no admission of wrong. The wise apologist can discern what really matters in a conversation.
The foolish apologist chases red herrings. If the topic is the resurrection, just bring up evolution. The foolish apologist will happily hop down any bunny trail that appears. The conversation goes in all directions. He can't make any progress in an argument because he can't spot red herrings, distractions, and non-issues. In fact, he may often enjoy these deviations from focused dialogue, because he's proud of his expertise in his own pet subject areas. The wise apologist knows how to stick to one point.
The foolish apologist is proud of himself. He likes the fact that he knows terms that make the "novices" around him cock their heads. He secretly commends himself for reading more books in a month than most people do in a year. He enjoys the sound of his own voice, and thinks he does a pretty good job in an internet forum. Apologetics is his tool to show the world he can flex his intellectual muscle. He's received his reward. The wise apologist humbles himself before God, and looks upon himself with sober judgment.
The foolish apologist seeks popularity. He enjoys the accolades of others, speaking to lots of people, being a big name. Name-dropping becomes a normal tool to show others just how connected he is to what's happening in the scene. He doesn't choose the lowly place. The wise apologist blooms where he is planted.
The foolish apologist neglects spiritual disciplines. He finds reading philosophy more interesting than reading the Bible, so he neglects the Bible. Prayer is seldom and rushed. In fact, prayer, meditation, Bible study, worship and fellowship take the back seat to study. The foolish apologist deceives himself that he is being spiritual, all the while drifting away. The wise apologist sits at the feet of Jesus.
The foolish apologist has not love. He can speak in the tongues of philosophers and of theologians, but he has not love - he is only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. He has the gift of intellect and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge; his arguments can move mountains, but he has not love - he is nothing. He gives all his time and energy to study, and surrenders his finances to university degrees, but has not love - and has gained nothing. The wise apologist is motivated by love for God and love for others.
The foolish apologist isolates himself from others. He doesn't need their input. He doesn't appreciate correction. He has his own plans, his own agenda, and own personal ministry. He refuses to let iron sharpen iron. When he falls, he has no one to help him up. He's accountable to himself only. The wise apologist surrounds himself with godly counsel and fellow laborers.
The foolish apologist doesn't do apologetics. He becomes an apologetics junkie; a consumer instead of an enlisted soldier. He does more talking about defending the faith than actually defending the faith. Debates are a spectator sport. He forgets that souls are in the balance and doesn't even think of preaching the Gospel. The wise apologist wants to win others to Christ more than anything - and he uses apologetics as a tool to assist in this task.
Have you encountered any of these pitfalls in your own life? This list may serve as a handy reminder or even serve as a list of prayer points for your own development as a better ambassador for Christ.
*The pronoun "he" is used only for consistency.
By: Bryan Auten
The Big Question
Does God Exist?
What Is The Bible?
Is The Bible True?
Who Is Jesus?
Is Jesus In Every Book Of The Bible?
Is Jesus God?
Did Jesus Fulfill Any Prophecies?
Did God Create You?
What About Reincarnation?
Are You Going To Heaven?
What Is The Truth About Hell?
What are the Essentials of the Faith?
Who Will You Believe?
Want To Find A Good Church?
Looking For A Church In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania?
Which Bible Translation Is Right For Me?
"All Religions Lead To God"
"Never Talk About Religion Or Politics"
"The Bible Is Full Of Contradictions"
"A Powerful God Wouldn't Allow So Much Evil..."
"The Church Is Full Of Hypocrites"
"What About Those Who Never Hear About Jesus?"
"A God of Love vs. A God of Wrath"
"A Loving God Wouldn't Send People To Hell"
"You're Only A Christian Because You..."
"As Long As You're Sincere In What You Believe"
"How Do You Know Which Religion Is Right?"
"God Would Never Forgive Someone Like Me"
"I Can't Believe In Miracles"
"Unanswered Prayer Shows God Doesn't Exist"
"What's With All The Different Denominations?"
"Jesus Was Just a Copycat of Pagan Myths"
"What About The Crusades?"
"What About Slavery In The Bible?"
"What About Evolution?"
"What About Homosexuality?"
"Jesus Didn't Say Anything About Homosexuality"
"What About Abortion?"
What I Believe
Theological Terms and Definitions
Belief Comparison Chart
An Eschatological Overview (End Times)
Paul Washer Quotes
20 Logical Fallacies
17 Questions Every Christian Should Think About
My Prayer - I Have A Problem...
More Than A Holiday
Honest Questions for Jehovah's Witnesses
Honest Questions For Mormons
Questions For Skeptics
10 Reasons To Tell Your Kids The Truth About Santa
A View From The Life Boat
A Collection of Helpful Bible Passages
A Story About A Boy Named Mikey
Thoughts On The Doctrine Of Definite Atonement
Questions To Ask A Child Before Their Baptism
A Critique Of An Origin-Of-Life Article
No Hope In The Pope
Terrorism - What You Can Do About It
The Impact Of A Blind Elderly Woman
Evidence For The Resurrection - W.O.M.E.N.
Apologetics / Evangelism
What Is Apologetics?
Why Should We Do Apologetics?
What Is Presuppositional Apologetics?
What Do You KNOW?
What Is Evangelism?
Why Should We Evangelize?
Are Christian Doing A Good Job Of Evangelizing?
7 Reasons People Don't Share Their Faith
The Question Of Evangelism - Words Or Works?
Is The World In Which We Live In Today Tolerant?
Preaching What We Practice and Talking The Walk
Man vs. God Centered Evangelism
Around the Web
44 Reasons Why Evolution is Just a Fairy Tale
The Scientific Case Against Evolution
Evolution: The Anti-Science
A Letter From An Atheist
Are You A Good Person?
Is This Your Life?
What Does It Mean To Accept Christ?
What's Wrong With The Sinner's Prayer?
An Important Aspect of Baptism
Must We Believe Jesus Is God?
Turn or Burn
Top 10 Reasons Our Kids Leave Church
10 Reasons Not To Ask Jesus Into Your Heart
10 Principles For New Christians
10 Pitfalls Of The Foolish Apologist
Evangelistic Phrases That Produce False Conversions
The Secret About How Some Christians Witness
Preaching God's Love In Acts?
The Gospel In Every Book Of The Bible
7 Key Differences Bewteen Protestant And Catholic Doctrine
A Different Perspective On Halloween
10 Reasons I Kissed Halloween Goodbye
The Question After A Tragedy - WHY?
The Impact of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Thoughts About Bruce (Caitlyn) Jenner
A Pastor's Response To The Marriage Debate
Sin By Any Other Name Is Still Sin
Should a Woman Be a Pastor or Elder?
Wives, Submit To Your Husbands?
The Shack - Missing Art of Evangelical Discernment
Universalism - A Problem for Everyone
Audio / Video
Original Sermon Jams
Born Again - Paul Washer
Does Jesus Know You? - Paul Washer
We Got An A! - Paul Washer
A Boy On The Street - R.C. Sproul
Fearless - R.C. Sproul
Hypocrites - R.C. Sproul
Smiling Faces - R.C. Sproul
Authorized Personnel Only - Tony Evans
Drive-thru - Tony Evans
One Flesh - Tony Evans
Sex - Tony Evans
The Satisfier - Tony Evans
Who to Serve? - Pastor Mike Leonzo
The Voice of Truth - Pastor Ben Maxie
Transformed - Pastor Mike Leonzo
Where is the Love? - Pastor Ben Maxie
He Claimed to be God - Pastor Mike Leonzo
Love is a Behavior - Pastor Ben Maxie
Examine It for Yourself - Pastor Mike Leonzo
Perfect Love - Pastor Ben Maxie
We Need Preachers - Mike Bongo
The Sovereignty of God in Evangelism - Mike Bongo
I'm Ready - Mike Bongo
Our Day in Court - Mike Bongo
Examine Yourself - Mike Bongo
Exclusivity - Mike Bongo
Our World - Mike Bongo
The Great Exchange - Mike Bongo
True God - Mike Bongo
The One Minute Apologist
Intolerance - Greg Koukl
Legislating Morality - Frank Turek
Intelligent Design and Creation - Bill Dembski
Tolerance is Unbiblical - Josh McDowell
Homosexual Forgiveness - Michael Brown
What Must I Do To Be Saved? - Hank Hannegraaff
Is Jesus A Copycat Savior? - J. Warner Wallace
The Resurrection - Gary Habernas
Contradictions In The Bible - Mike Licona
Is It About Winning Arguments? - Mary Jo Sharp
Does Christianity Oppress Women? - Dianna Newman
Is Evil An Argument For God? - Brett Kunkle
WWUTT (When We Understand The Text)
Hate The Sin, Love The Sinner?
Thou Shalt Not Judge?
God Will Never Give You More Than You Can Handle?
Do We Have To Prove That God Exists?
Preach The Gospel, If Necessary Use Words?
You Don't Have To Go To Church To Be A Christian?
I Stand At The Door And Knock?
God Has Already Chosen Who Will Be Saved?
Spare The Rod, Spoil the Child?
The Bible Says Slavery is Okay?
Are Catholics Saved?
God Foreknew Who Would Be Saved?
Does The Bible Say Homosexuality is A Sin?
Alter Calls And The Sinner's Prayer?
Worse Than An Unbeliever?
David Platt On Sharing the Gospel With Children
For The Children: Are You Saved? - Paul Washer
2 Amazing 11 Year Old Boys
Other Audio / Video
Rescue The Perishing
Emeal Zwayne's Dialogue With A Homosexual
The Big Questions of Life - Voddie Baucham
Is There A God?
Can We Know God Personally?
Why Does God Allow Pain And Suffering?
Is Jesus Really God?
Are Christians Judgmental?
The Bible Project
The Book of Genesis Overview - Part 1 of 2
The Book of Genesis Overview - Part 2 of 2
The Book of Exodus Overview - Part 1 of 2
The Book of Exodus Overview - Part 2 of 2
The Book of Leviticus Overview
The Book of Numbers Overview
The Book of Deuteronomy Overview
The Book of Joshua Overview
The Book of Judges Overview
The Book of Ruth Overview
The Book of 1 Samuel Overview
The Book of 2 Samuel Overview
The Books of 1 and 2 Kings Overview
The Book of Job Overview
The Book of Psalms Overview
The Book of Proverbs Overview
The Book of Song of Songs Overview
The Book of Isaiah Overview - Part 1 of 2
The Book of Isaiah Overview - Part 2 of 2
The Book of Hosea Overview
The Book of Joel Overview
The Book of Amos Overview
The Book of Obadiah Overview
The Book of Jonah Overview
The Book of Micah Overview
The Book of Nahum Overview
The Book of Habakkuk Overview
The Book of Zephaniah Overview
The Book of Matthew Overview - Part 1 of 2
The Book of Matthew Overview - Part 2 of 2
The Book of Mark Overview
The Book of Luke Overview - Part 1of 2
The Book of Luke Overview - Part 2 of 2
The Book of John Overview - Part 1 of 2
The Book of John Overview - Part 2 of 2
The Book of Acts Overview - Part 1 of 2
The Book of Acts Overview - Part 2 of 2
The Book of Romans Overview - Part 1 of 2
The Book of Romans Overview - Part 2 of 2
The Book of 1 Corinthians Overview
The Book of 2 Corinthians Overview
The Book of Galatians Overview
The Book of Ephesians Overview
The Book of Philippians Overview
The Book of Colossians Overview
The Book of 1 Thessalonians Overview
The Book of 2 Thessalonians Overview
The Book of 1 Timothy Overview
The Book of 2 Timothy Overview
The Book of Titus Overview
The Book of Philemon Overview
The Book of Hebrews Overview
The Book of James Overview
The Book of 1 Peter Overview
The Book of 2 Peter Overview
The Books of 1-3 John Overview
The Book of Jude Overview
The Book of Revelation Overview - Part 1 of 2
The Book of Revelation Overview - Part 2 of 2
Street Conversations Disclaimer
Street Conversations - George & Paul
Street Conversations - Don
Street Conversations - VeeJay
Street Conversations - Joe
Street Conversations - Ralph
Street Conversations - Charles
Street Conversations - Ed
Street Conversations - Ken
Street Conversations - Jessica
Street Conversations - Ida
Street Conversations - Earl & Evadel
Street Conversations - Jim
Street Conversations - Raheem
Street Conversations - Raheem part 2
Street Conversations - My Mom
Street Conversations - Eddie
Street Conversations - Renee
Street Conversations - Ron
Street Conversations - Rash
Street Conversations - Preacher
Street Conversations - Luis
Street Conversations - Keith
Street Conversations - Hippy
Street Conversations - Rich
Street Conversations - Hippy part 2
Street Conversations - Butch
Street Conversations - Scott
Street Conversations - Marcos
Street Conversations - Will & James
Street Conversations - Alexander and Valerie
Street Conversations - Jerry and Steve
Street Conversations - Blake
Street Conversations - Elteresa
Parable Of The Talents
A Hard Lesson
Talking About Jesus
The Perfect Gift
A Faith Worth Thinking About
Peace At Christmas
Resolutions From Revelation
Takin' The Gospel To The Streets
Responding Rightly To The Gospel Of Grace
A Defense That Honors God And His Word
Encouragement In Corinth
Surrendering To Win
The Laborers Are Few; Therefore...
Love Has No Labels - A Response
Faith That Works
Atheists: They Don't Exist
YOU Must Be NEW
Making a Difference - Outreach and Evangelism
Luke - A Careful Investigation to be Sure
Be Kind! Yeah, But Why?
Jesus Gets Acceptance Letter To Yale Student's Heart