The Christians that study the topics of apologetics understand the massive benefit it has in our spiritual lives. We’re able to intellectually push ourselves deeper into the material. Oftentimes, we become addicted to learning about this stuff. For me, I never wanted to learn about anything else. I read everything I could get my hands on. I watched every debate I could find. I listened to as many podcasts as possible. This happened for years, and is still happening to a large degree. Christian theology, philosophy, science, and history have become a daily part of my studies. The Lord has led me greatly in this area. I consider my studies as a form of worship.
However, have we ever examined whether or not our apologetic studies could potentially backfire on us? Is it possible to become so consumed with apologetics that we overlook the reasons why we’re doing it in the first place? For example, I wanted to become fluent enough in my Christian faith to answer the ‘hard questions’ so that I could effectively communicate my faith with others and to protect me from squandering any evangelistic opportunities due to ignorance. Now that I’ve gotten to a place where I’m fluent enough in my faith to intelligibly speak on these issues with confidence and persuasion, I’m still seeking God through my studies. However, am I letting it negatively affect my relationship with Christ?
Dr. William Lane Craig often warns us of getting too ‘caught up’ in worrying about arguments that we fail to work on our relationship with God. As apologists for the Lord, we should never become so focused on looking for evidence that we look beyond our personal relationship with God. If this happens, we’re not moving forward in our relationship with the Lord. What benefit are we gaining by neglecting our relationship with God by focusing on topics that only tell us more about God? For example, I can study my wife from afar (not like a creepy stalker), talk to her friends about her qualities, speak with her family about her personality and past history, etc… but until I invest time in developing the relationship with her personally, I won’t reap the benefits of my relationship with her. The same applies with God. Until we dive into his Word, pray continually, and worship Him, we’re not going to advance our relationship with the God who we’re trying adamantly to learn about.
We can’t neglect our relationship with God. We must wisely prioritize our studies as to not ignore our relationship with the Lord. While God wants us to love him with our minds, he doesn’t want us to overlook loving Him with our heart, soul, and strength. These are just as important as loving Him with our mind. This could potentially be a backfire of apologetics that might creep up on us if we fail to prioritize properly. Sometimes it isn’t a bad idea to give yourself a reality check to ensure that you’re placing your priorities where they should be.
Below is a helpful video of apologist Mary Jo Sharp on this topic: