The Best Defense
I often hear questions regarding the best apologetical argument for Christianity. There are many rational ways to think about the Christian faith. There is the cosmological argument which, essentially, looks at the universe and all the stuff out of which it is made. The arguer then asks, “What caused all this stuff?” Eventually, the person answering the question will run out of answers, and the cosmological argument will claim that God is the cause of everything in the universe. There is the ontological argument, which basically claims that, since we perceive God as who he is, that is the highest and best, he must exist. There is also the moral argument, which argues that objective morals exist, and since these objective morals exist, there must be a moral law-giver. That moral-law giver is God.
All of these arguments, regardless of whether or not one is convinced by them, are rational reasons to credit the Christian faith as a valid belief. However, regardless of what or how many arguments are given, their effectiveness is not determined by their logic or rational. Their effectiveness is determined by the heart of the listener.
When I was in high school, I was transferred from my private Christian school to a public secular school. In the midst of this transfer, my faith was challenged like never before, and I was on the brink of losing my relationship with Christ altogether. What saved me was not these apologetical arguments. It was the power of Christ and his strengthening of my faith in him that saved me.
When I am asked this question, my answer is always this: our walk with Christ is our greatest defense. Our testimony trumps all other arguments. The experience of having a relationship with Christ is the argument for Christianity. This sentiment is carried by Paul to the church in Corinth. He writes, “And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5).
Ultimately, in the midst of debates and arguments, people often have their minds made up. They are arguing, not to listen to other perspectives, but to change other people’s minds; they are usually closed off to changing their own minds. In the same capacity, when arguing over religion, our defense will fall on deaf ears. Though there are benefits to refining rational arguments for the Christian faith, there is no replacement for “Jesus Christ and him crucified” and “God’s power”.
I remember struggling through my faith during my college career. I was unsure of God’s will for my life, and I prayed for some clarification that I was on the right track. I remember the very next night, I was assisting two gentlemen in Barnes and Noble. After discovering they were believers as well, we discussed our experiences with God at length. Towards the end of our interaction, one of the gentlemen said that he felt led to tell me that God was proud of me. Nothing else could have been said to me that day to give me the encouragement I needed in that moment. Anything short of Christ himself appearing before me like he did to Paul would have moved me in such a way, yet God used such simple words to encourage one of his children in a mighty way. I still tear up today just thinking about the experience.
It was not someone’s human wisdom or persuasive words that encouraged me. It was God’s power that carried me through dark and depressing times. Likewise, it is his power in our lives, our experience with Christianity, our testimony that God will use to permeate through all obstacles in our conversations with nonbelievers. Even in the simple and the mundane, God moves so clearly in our lives. This is the best defense for our faith. Let us always remember what God has done for us. Amen.