Teaching Apologetics

Does it make it easier or harder to pay attention to Jesus’ teachings if he is represented by Lego?

This sermon at my church The Meeting House really impressed me. While in general Christians tend to orient toward intense historical, scientific, and philosophical debates in order to defend the faith – and there is definitely a place for those questions – Bruxy proposes something a lot more practical: start with the teachings of Jesus. These are applicable to everybody, it doesn’t take any special knowledge other than being a disciple yourself, and it already has started their discipleship process if they do decide to become a Christian later.

It’s almost so obvious that it is sad that I have never heard this discussed before. I assume the reason is that most Protestants define being a Christian as adhering to a set of doctrines: atonement, salvation by grace through faith, the Trinity, etc (the specific requirement list will change by church). Therefore our evangelism should be oriented toward encouraging acceptance of those doctrines. It says something about how we view Christianity if we haven’t even considered that learning what it would look like to follow Jesus would itself be the starting point for evangelism. And it was pretty clearly Jesus’ technique: he just invited people to come and listen to his teachings and then decide whether to follow him. Some counted the cost and did follow, others didn’t, but never did he try to convince people to just accept a list of doctrines instead.

The entire video is embedded here, and you can also listen to the Drive Home.

Ryan Robinson

It is easiest to identify Ryan as both theologian and tech guy. By day, Ryan is a Technical Consultant work with PeaceWorks Technology Solutions. There, he works on websites, CRMs, and SharePoint implementations. Along with blogging here, Ryan is a founding member of the MennoNerds blogging network and a contributor to the book A Living Alternative.

3 Responses

  1. The course I had last winter (2011) on Apologetics for a Post-Modern era presented that the best apologetic for post-modernism/post-Christendom is an apologetic of description, not definition, and especially an apologetic of narrative, either the narrative of Jesus or our own narratives we present in how we live out our lives.

    • I’ve heard the personal experience approach before and Bruxy identifies it among his 8 that he lists. I definitely agree with the general principle of description rather than definition. Many intellectuals will still act like it is definition which they are stumbling over but I do think the real problem a lot of the time is that they either don’t know the story of Jesus or know some version of it which is simply not interesting. The narrative/teaching (they aren’t that different) approach seems much better in most cases.

  1. May 12, 2013

    […] relates to another recent post about using Jesus’ teaching as the starting point for apologetics. That makes complete sense to me because to me Jesus’ teachings stand out as so remarkable, […]