Christianity without mystery is boring.
Even worse, it may not be Christianity.
“Be wary of people who think they have all the answers,” I once heard a man say.
The statement has become an anthem of sorts for myself, especially in my academic, spiritual, and artistic growth.
However, we should not be ashamed or embarrassed of what we know.
For a Christian, according to Calvin’s Institutes, the two most important things a person can know are God and one’s self.
“Do not think more highly of yourself than you ought to,” Paul warns the Romans and us.
“My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh,” the Preacher reminds us.
Apologetics immediately seems to fly in the face of “Be wary of know it alls.”
Apologetics is the study of the reasonableness of God’s existence as an explanation for many things existence, namely: good and evil, the universe, morals, consciousness, community, and anything that actually (or even abstractly) exists.
But if Christianity contains some aspects of mystery and Apologetics seeks to emphasize the reasonableness of the existence of God (which it has done wonderfully for the past two thousand years), then how do these two ideologies not clash?
Simple: Apologetics itself seeks to obtain objective truths, the greatest one being the reality of a personal Creator. From there, “love and logic keep us clear” (Bono), in an elegant waltz of philosophy and theology…and art and beauty and goodness.
So why do I love Apologetics? Because it defends the reasonableness of faith and then leaves Christianity to produce more faithful members in her ever growing Body.
Lewis once quipped that ‘no one comes to Christ through an argument.’ I agree. But sometimes an argument does help in breaking down the unreasonableness of a non-believer’s arguments to better equip them to see the ‘fault in their stars…and philosophies’ and abandon their ever sinking raft of contradicting world-views.
Sin is unreasonable. Evil does not make sense. Yet we live in a world that claims they do and that it is goodness and repentance that are unfathomable, especially if they originate and flow from encountering a loving God.
Apologetics expresses the truths of the Christian world-view: but it does not force the hearer to believe them. What it does force is the non-believer’s mind to exercise through different thoughts they may not have yet encountered.