I just listened to a lecture that NT Wright gave at Calvin College on January 5, 2007 on his book, Simply Christian. It’s a good lecture. A quote from the lecture that really stood out is from the final section on what Christian apologetics must explore in our postmodern world. Wright states:
“The story which makes most sense in apologetics — in the communication, explanation and defense of the Christian gospel — is the story of communities and persons whose lives are transformed and transforming — transformed in themselves by the power of God through Christ in the Spirit and effecting transformation in the world around.”
This quote ties in deeply with a lecture I heard by Eugene Peterson entitled “Why Spiritual Formation is Not an Option.” In that lecture, Peterson talks about the absolute necessity of marrying the “truth” of Jesus with the “way” of Jesus in order to enter into and share the “life” of Jesus. Without the truth of Jesus lived in the way of Jesus, we become people who do the right thing in the wrong way and inadvertently do more harm than good to the gospel.
In this light, I hold the conviction that Christian apologetics in our postmodern context will have to move beyond the logical presentation of rational propositions and into the realm of incarnational living. Perhaps the real “evidence that demands a verdict” is our personal lives, our church lives and even the political involvement of Christians up to and beyond the national level. Do we really embody and live out what we say we believe at home, at work, in our neighborhood, in our finances, through our purchases, how we vote, how we worship, how we serve, what we drive, what we eat, etc.?
This subjective side of apologetics shouldn’t and can’t replace the objective side. But we have to take very seriously the fact that how we live or at least how we are trying to live speaks much louder than what we proclaim to believe.