Here’s a great reminder from Os Guinness that the Christian faith is true despite the fact that our attempts at defending it sometimes fall flat. It’s also a great caution about putting too much stock in apologetic debates:
“…Faith in God is true because it is true – not because we, or David, or Elijah and Luther defend it successfully. If the Christian faith is true, it is true even if no one believes it, and if it is not true, it is false even if everyone believes it. The truth of the faith does not stand and fall with our defense of it.”
“A good or bad defense of the faith may be helpful or unhelpful, but in each case that is only corroborative. The Christian faith is not true because someone argues for it brilliantly, nor is it false because someone defends it badly. …Faith’s certainty lies elsewhere than in the rapier sharp logic or the sledgehammer power of the apologist. At the end of the day, full certainty comes from the conviction of the Holy Spirit.”
“That is often the problem with the public debate format so loved by Christians today. Some Christians are superbly gifted in using this format. Others are less so, but the problem lies in the assumptions of the format itself. The expectation is that the apologist is brought in to trounce the enemies of the gospel publicly. Yet in such a win-lose situation, the danger is that some apologists are tempted to speak so as to with the debate but lose the audience, or to lose the debate and appear to let down the faithful – as if the faith were no more certain than one particular defense of it.”
“We [apologists/Christians] are not out to prove something new through the brilliance of our arguments. Our calling is to point to something old, or rather to bear witness to the established facts of the story of the gospel, though in the process clearing up anything and everything that may obscure or block a person’s understanding.”
Os Guinness, Fool’s Talk, p. 58ff.
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)