Understanding Apologetics

I love learning from young people, and I learn a lot from Luis Garcia. He is somewhat of a legend in homeschool apologetics competition. In 2012 he competed all the way to winning the national championship, never losing a tournament.

Does this subtitle impress you? Or repulse you?

Does this subtitle impress you? Or repulse you?

So of course I hired him. He joined us in Estes Park, Colorado, to coach a room full of apologetics speakers. This week’s Training Minds Podcast is taken from the first of his sessions training new apologetic competitors what they need to do to prepare for competition. (Listen to Part I and Part II)

I used to think apologetics was all about doctrines, and I got rather bored with it.

Call me weak in my faith if you want, but I wasn’t much concerned with what the ancients said about detailed theological precepts. In my Christian walk, I left it to the headstrong and stubborn to squabble in the temple. You know, the ones Scripture called “stiff-necked” and Jesus called “hypocrites.” Much more interesting to me was the relationship of my faith, the deeper contours of understanding relationships and love for one another. Life is complex, and I didn’t like the tidy boxes theologians put together for God.

But, after listening to Luis, I’m seeing apologetics as a way to bring the complexity to order. Simplifying life to better understand it all.

“Defense” sounds, well, defensive. Like you’re on your heels, a debater. But apologetics digs deep into understanding why you believe what you believe. Refusing to give a defense to your faith is refusing to give time and effort to understanding your faith. You are letting go of that which could bring you to better understanding of God.

I had never thought of the activity of defensiveness as bringing more understanding.

I presupposed the defender as already knowing it all, sort of proud and haughty. “Be prepared to give an answer” is assuming you have all the answers. Much like those “head strong” theologians I had in my mind.

I don’t consider myself an expert in apologetics by any means, but I don’t doubt my genuine desire to seek out the difficult answers to life’s most difficult questions. I bet you’d agree: this life is a fascinating journey. Listen to Luis’ podcast today. You will be inspired.