Apologetics. What an intimidating word that is. Every time I hear it, I think of an apology for a total screw-up. Something like, “I’m sorry for forgetting our anniversary, honey.” And within the context of being a Christian, it would sound like, “I’m sorry for believing in something that you don’t.”
Webster’s Dictionary defines apologetics as “reasoned arguments or writings in justification of something, typically a theory or religious doctrine.” In other words, it’s the fine art of defending what we believe in, using facts and, in our case, the inerrant Word of God to prove His existence.
And the audience is typically someone who either wants to disprove that Jesus exists or someone who has a completely different belief system than we do. In the vast landscape of apologetics, we are to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Pet. 3:15).
That’s where I get in over my head—a lot! First, I have absolutely no theological background whatsoever. Man, my kids can even sing the 66 books of the Bible in order, and I can barely remember if Hebrews in the Old Testament or the New Testament. Color me handicapped when it comes to doing battle for the Lord, at least academically.
Second, I have a past life. Let’s call him “Dave.” Dave’s life was filled with a lot of alcohol, drug-induced stupors, broken relationships and a cynical anger that could rob anyone’s joy in mere seconds. The people who knew Dave likely recall a hard-partying man with a brutally sarcastic edge and no love for anyone or anything.
Incessantly negative, always brash and just plain rude, Dave was awful. There are literally hundreds of people who only knew him, not the new creation known as “David,” who came into being on a fateful day after Dave lost absolutely everything that mattered and everything that didn’t. Crushed and hopeless, David was birthed from the pain of loss and crisis.
Thanks to the inception of social media, I have been given the opportunity to reconnect with people from high school and beyond who have some not-so-fond memories of me. While I have been cruising along with life for the past 25 years, so have they. And their last impression of Dave has often been the lasting impression. Enter David, a Jesus freak with the same brash approach, which is now classified as a “bold” approach, to spreading the Good News.
Have you ever noticed when you profess Christ to people that the barrage of question is almost insane? Immediately, old friends look to you to justify why you believe in God, as if seminary is a prerequisite. And I often find myself thrust into the very apologetics that I know nothing about. In no particular order, here are some of the questions that I have fielded:
- There are millions of animals on the earth. How did Noah’s ark hold them all, since it was so small?
- How come there are no historical records, other than the Bible, of the exodus from Egypt?
- How did Jesus pray to Himself in the Garden of Gethsemane?
- You say the Bible is from God, but man wrote it, so it has to be flawed. Why do you believe it’s all true?
- A talking donkey? Really?
If you have people who remember the old you, they are often going to square off with you about the overall construction and validity of Scripture. And if you are like me, you don’t have a clue about 98 percent of it.
Not to sound like an irreverent moron, but at the end of the day, I don’t really care how many animals fit into the ark. And as a human, wrapping my arms around the Trinity would be mental suicide, since His ways are so much higher than mine (Is. 55:8-9). All that I know is David is kind, compassionate, loving and full of hope. I live for God, not for me, and I know that I will someday be with Him in heaven for eternity.
So when I get cornered about how I know that Jesus exists, my default answer is always the same and taken straight from the mouth of a blind man who met Him face to face:
“Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see” (John 9:25).
Thank God that Dave is dead. No apology needed.
David Dusek is founder and director of Rough Cut Men Ministries and author of Rough Cut Men: A Man’s Battle Guide to Building Real Relationships With Each Other and With Jesus. Rough Cut Men has been presented to NASCAR teams, at West Point and the U.S. Naval Academy, at military bases around the world and at hundreds of churches and men’s conferences of every denomination. To find out more about the Rough Cut Men or to book David for an upcoming men’s event, please check out roughcutmen.org.