Apologetics and the Postmodern Turn, Part 4
As I see it, there are basically two ways to introduce somebody to Jesus Christ. One starts with propositions: trying to prove to somebody that Christianity is true and that they should believe certain “truth statements” in order to be saved and come into a relationship with God.
The other way starts with introducing a person to a relationship with God through the community of believers who live a certain way (they radically love God and love others) and who seek to transform their world for the good of all creation.
The first defines “apologetics” as primarily reasoned arguments to convince somebody that Christianity is true. The second defines “apologetics” as primarily incarnational, living in a conspicuous hope that brings about inquiries. “Always be prepared to give an account to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15).
Let me illustrate:
Let’s say that there's two ways to get married...
(1) The first way is to go to a dating service and receive a data sheet about the person you will meet. 5'2" tall, 110 lbs., brown hair, has a short temper when she's hungry, enjoys long walks and candlelight dinners.
You meet her, and marry her based on the data, which seems to match the person. After 3 months, you begin to learn who the real person is. You either like her or not.
(2) the other way is this: You meet a person who you find attractive. You think she's witty and pretty and you want to get to know her more. Over several dates, you ask her questions about where she grew up, what she enjoys doing, what she feels her calling in life is. After a while, you think, "I want to marry her." You marry and continue to get to know each other.
Way (1) starts with propositions and gets to know the person through those first. But sooner or later you've got to meet the real person and really come to know her.
Way (2) starts with actually getting to know the person, and along the way learning propositional data about her.
Scenario (1) seems to be the way many people present Jesus: Here's the stuff you need to know about him.
Scenario (2) seems to be the way Jesus wants to be known.
technorati: emerging church, postmodernity, apologetics