Often when I begin teaching an apologetics group at my church, one ultimate question comes up "when do we share the Gospel in these conversations?". It's a legitimate and important question. Apologetics is often seen by some in the church as unnecessary or an attempt to "argue someone into the kingdom"
While nothing could be further from the truth, it does require an explanation as to the place of Christian Case Making in the life of the believer.
Apologetics itself should never be thought of as the ultimate end. It's a means to an end. Apologetics can be rightly referred to as the "handmaiden of evangelism". But in today's culture, sharing the Gospel can be difficult if we haven't first answered questions non-believers have about Jesus, the Bible, the Origin of the Universe and a host of other objections. Being a trained, Christian Case Maker is essential to sharing the Gospel in our society.
One way to think about Christian case making is this example. Have you ever been driving and pulled up to a intersection on a red light? You need to make a right turn and so you need to make sure traffic is clear to make the turn safely. You look to your right and it's clear, but you look to your left and you can't tell if their is oncoming traffic or not because right on the corner blocking your view of traffic is a big, bushy hedge.
Sure, the hedge looks great, but given the position of the curb, the hedge and your vehicle, it's blocking your view - making it almost impossible to see clearly enough to pull out safely. And so, you must wait for the green light. You think to yourself "someone should really clear out that bush so I can see clearly enough to make my turn".
When we want to share the Gospel, often the person we are talking with cannot see Jesus clearly enough or understand the Good news that Christ offers because their "vision" is obstructed by objections they have.
Some objections may be:
- How can there be a good, all loving God with all of the evil in the world?
- How can I trust a 3,000 year old book?
- Isn't the idea of Jesus just a continuation of other God-man myths?
We can think of these objections as bushes that are blocking a person's view of Jesus. Christian Case Making clears those bushes out of the way so Christ is more clearly seen and the Gospel we share can be better understood. The Holy Spirit then draws a person to Christ as the fallacy of these objections are exposed and a person stands naked before a Holy God. We are all commanded to be able to give a defense for the good news we believe [1 Peter 3:15, Phil 1:7]. But understanding the relationship between Christian Case making and sharing the Gospel helps us to see that they work together as we share our faith with a sin-sick world.