Below is an article written by one of Lasting Impact’s competitor interns. It’s probably one of my favorite articles to date. Although Apologetics is a competive Speech and Debate event, this article is an excellent reminder of WHY we should participate in Apol. Enjoy!
A couple of years ago, my sister went to Washington D.C. with forty nine other teenagers for an essay contest. One day, my sister, along with one other devoted Christian, one Muslim girl, and several atheists, began discussing religion. When some of the girls expressed some of their questions and misunderstanding about Christianity, my sister broke out her massive Apologetics box packed with 104 customized cards, asked them to quietly wait for 4 minutes, and proceeded to deliver an eloquent 6 minute speech with Scriptural references, quotes from renowned Theologians, and three rock-solid points.
If only that’s how easy Apologetics was in the real world!
Apologetics as a speech event is not easy and it is not always fun, but it is an excellent way to challenge yourself to grow in your knowledge and in your faith. Apologetics is all about preparing oneself to defend the faith in everyday situations in a conversational, persuasive manner. The hours I have spent researching the topics and memorizing the issues have been some of the most important in my entire life to-date. I have never won a tournament in Apologetics and I should not be considered a stellar Apologetics speaker, but I am more prepared than ever to defend my faith and I am content with that. I would strongly encourage you to commit to competing in Apologetics and doing it the right way. If you approach the event with an honest pursuit to learn, you will not walk away disappointed.
To those who already compete in Apologetics, why do you compete? I know from experience how easy it is to carelessly treat Apologetics as “just another event”, while justifying the activity as an opportunity to learn and grow. Do you honestly compete with a desire to learn and glorify God or to win and magnify yourself?
As I wrestled with this clash last fall, I decided to change my approach to Apologetics. Literally, I changed my approach. This year, instead of approaching my rounds with my full box of previously prepared 4×6 index cards with all the information I might need, I approached them with one blank 4×6 card, a pen, and my Bible.
1 Peter 3:15 gives us a charge, saying, “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” To me, it simply isn’t sufficient to research each question one time, create the flawless card, and let it collect dust in my box until I draw that question. If I want to wake up tomorrow prepared to make a defense, I better get to work committing those verses and that information to memory today.
When I am evangelizing on a college campus and a student asks me why a good God would allow death and pain in the world, will I need to google Bible verses to find the answer? When I am leading a Bible study for kids and one asks me why he should waste his time praying, will I need to physically pull out my Apologetics card addressing the purpose of prayer? I want to commit to knowing the answers to these questions by heart before the questions are even asked. Competing without my box gives me the motivation I need to actually hide God’s awesome truths in my heart, where I will store them for the rest of my life.
If I say I am competing with the purpose of learning and glorifying God, I better be willing to sacrifice my own success in order to become a better Apologist. There is a competitive disadvantage to competing in Apologetics without a box, but the benefit is so worth the challenge! I am now actually spending my time preparing for real life Apologetics, and isn’t that the goal of the entire endeavor? Even if it means I go another year without ever winning a tournament, I will do it again. I don’t want to compete in order to make myself look good; this is all about being ready to show this depraved world how good my God is!
With that said, I want to challenge you to try competing in Apologetics without a box in the room. Today’s culture is eager to make challenges out of everything; let’s make a productive one! #ApolBoxChallenge
Maybe you will think it’s too difficult, but commit to trying it for one tournament, commit to memorizing what you need to memorize, commit to competing in Apologetics with a purpose, and I don’t think you will regret it.
I will, however, offer a brief caution. If you plan to accept the challenge, do it right. The message we carry is simply too important to be shared with anything but our utmost diligence. Do not go into an Apologetics round thinking you can “wing it”. We have a responsibility to represent our Heavenly Father according to the truth found in His word; do not take that responsibility lightly. It is better to continue using a box and confidently share the truth than to compete without a box and deviate from the truth even in part.
When my sister had that opportunity to share the gospel with that group of teenagers, she did it. She shared the truths she had learned by competing in Apologetics and she shared in a conversational way without a box in sight. Only God knows the eternal impact that message may have on those girls’ lives!
Proverbs 21:31 reminds us that, “The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the LORD.” I want to be used as a faithful servant in God’s Kingdom, so I will prepare in a way that allows me to do that. Let’s all start using Apologetics as it was intended and prepare to defend the faith in a conversational, winsome way. If we prepare the horses properly, there is no telling what extraordinary things God will use us for.
If you are looking for accountability, how to start, or want to learn more about Apologetics, Lasting Impact! has an Online Apol. Group. Click here for more info! It’s not too late to join!