Many times the story is told about the fellow who, upon believing, explodes in all manner of worship and service to God. He becomes the most gallant of round-table Knights, fighting the twin dragons of Unbelieving Arguments and Unbiblical Doctrine almost daily. And he’s good at it. He can articulate the 5 points of Calvinism like nobody’s business, and he can expose the autonomy of the unbelieving worldview for the absurdity that it is. Over time, however, he becomes increasingly disinterested. Once the thrill of debate has taken its course (it doesn’t necessarily last forever), there is little remaining that can attest to his identity as a Christian.
You see, this person sprang up, and the cares of this world choked the life out of him. While he indulged in the thrill of winning an argument, he never took root. There was no real study of the Bible. He wasn’t involved in a local church, and consequently never developed that support structure that the church provides. He latched onto some parts of the Bible, but left others behind. At the end, we see that he treated Christianity not as a complete, constant conversion process, but merely as a set of spiritual accessories to supplement his own idea of life. In the end, his unbelief (which he never truly did away with) swallowed him right back up.
Even though this post deals little with apologetic method per se, this is nonetheless the very heart of apologetics. Though the fruit and flower of apologetics is argumentation and the active defense of the faith, the roots are to consist of careful study and deliberate living in such a way that your presuppositions regarding the Bible are demonstrated clearly. One is not worthy to be an apologist who does not first count the truth of God to be the only means by which to understand the world – in every avenue of life. I’ve said it before, apologetics is not something that can be considered apart from the rest of Christian living. In simplest terms: BE a Christian. I’m not saying you cannot become involved in apologetics unless every single aspect of your life is right in line at every point in time. I’m saying work toward that. Never let yourself think that your efforts on the apologetic front excuse your lack of effort elsewhere.
Don’t just argue it. Live it.