Friday, October 29, 2010

Restoring Apologetics to Evangelism: Hub and Summary Post

We’ll round off this series with thus post as a sort of “hub page” and summary which will allow folks out there to easily link to the series as a whole by way of this single post. I’ll also close with some final thoughts inspired by reader feedback.

The first five posts give reasons why "personal testimony" as a form of evangelism has done more harm than good:

It has enabled the illogical, absurd argument that Christianity’s truth claims can be gauged by the behavior of confessed Christians.

Evangelism based on personal testimony ties the validity of our conversion to our subjective experience.

The use of personal testimony turns the Christian life into a spectacle and encourages legalistic behavior.

Personal testimony is not only unbiblical, it also creates a conflict in Biblical texts.

Personal testimony evangelism requires building a “ten ton bridge” to present the Gospel.

The last two posts in the series provided a new model for evangelism, in broad outline:

The Public Model

The Private Model

Now for a couple of final thoughts.

I am obviously not saying that personal testimony never “works” at converting people, for it has. But I do say that it is ultimately not the best way to evangelize, and in the long run, does more harm than good.

I also want to credit a few more good shows in the vein of what we need more of: The John Ankerberg Show, the Bible Answer Man, and David Barton's material on America's Christian Heritage. But that's just a drop in a bucket that badly needs to be filled.

See you next week!


  1. I think the question with evangelistic methods, is when we say that we are sharing the "gospel", what do we mean by "the gospel"? Are we showing the evil within our hearts and the need for the good news? We do need pre-evangelism (apologetics) in various encounters, but the goal is to get the gospel to the individual needing Christ. My part of my podcast this week, pending that I have my voice, will be on what is the gospel.

  2. That's a relevant point too, Rob. The content of our message has to be spot on and accurate.

    All that said, I do think apologetics was meant to be equal to evangelism, per the CRI article -- not a "pre"-evangelism, which is a created dichotomy, according to my findings.

    If I find your voice I'll send it over to you. I think my poodle may have it cornered. ;)