In God in the Dock, C.S. Lewis writes:
I have found that nothing is more dangerous to one’s own faith than the work of an apologist. No doctrine of that Faith seems to me so spectral, so unreal as one that I have just successfully defended in a public debate. For a moment, you see, it has seemed to rest on oneself: as a result, when you go away from that debate, it seems no stronger than that weak pillar. That is why we apologists take our lives in our hands and can be saved only by falling back continually from the web of our own arguments, as from our intellectual counters, into the Reality—from Christian apologetics into Christ Himself. That also is why we need one another’s continual help—oremus pro invicem [let us pray for one another] (God in the Dock, 103).
This quote grabbed my attention because of my own recent experience.
After the collapse of RZIM, I saw the weakness of a web of arguments. It didn’t necessarily change our hearts or motivate us to tell the truth.
As I fell down - or back - I didn’t know where I would land. But eventually, I found that I fell into Christ Himself.
Now, Lewis is not writing about that, but rather the psychological experience of publicly defending Christianity as true, and afterward, feeling uncertain about what you had just said was quite certain.
After all, not everyone agreed with your point of view, challenging questions were asked, counter-perspectives were raised, and an intellectually curious person will want to consider all they’ve heard as much as what they’ve said.
I appreciate the insight of what he’s differentiating between - a web of arguments is very nice, and a net good on the whole. However, when we think more of our apologetics than we do of Christ himself, we have veered well off the main path of discipleship.
What do you see as some of the risks or dangers of apologetics?
What helps us grow in both our intellectual clarity about the truth of Christianity while, at the exact same time, deeply connecting our hearts to the love of Jesus?