What would you say to someone about Christianity if all you could say were limited to just about 100 words? In a case like that I would likely choose to communicate the 114 words known as the Apostles' Creed. In an apologetics context people often need a clear description of what Christianity is all about. The Apostles' Creed provides an excellent and well-respected summary of the faith.
In part one of this series I offered two suggestions for people who engage in apologetics discussions on the Internet. Such online conversations could be greatly enhanced if all parties—with Christians leading the way—exercised greater personal candor, transparency, and accountability in one-on-one discussions.
Rules of Internet Apologetics Engagement
3. Teach Them How to Fish
A Christian can never answer all the questions and challenges seekers or skeptics present via an Internet exchange, even if that interaction is lengthy or ongoing. Providing exhaustive answers to apologetic questions just isn't possible. Yet some approach online apologetics thinking that way. A better and more realistic goal is to provide clear, concise, cogent, and compelling answers. I call that the "four C's" of apologetics discourse.
Along with answering the typical questions that nonbelievers ask, apologists on the Web should make it their goal to provide people with reliable sources where individuals can seek further answers. This could take the form of recommending solid apologetics websites, articles, or books. Such recommendations make it easier for a person to take the next step if they so desire.
4. Pay Attention to Attitude and Demeanor
Email and Internet exchanges can come across as rather cold and impersonal. Since you can't see the person's face or hear the inflection in their voice you have very few clues for interpreting the context of their words. Christians need to take extra steps in communicating a respectful attitude and a gracious demeanor. This means staying clear of inappropriate sarcasm and ridicule. It also means communicating understanding, empathy, and good humor.
Attitude and demeanor are often as important—when it comes to personal persuasion—as one's arguments. People tend to believe ideas communicated by people they respect and trust. Since online discussions are distant in more than one way, believers should give thoughtful consideration to how they present the claims of Christ.
May the Holy Spirit guide you in your apologetics adventures down the information superhighway.
For more about answering tough apologetics questions, see Without a Doubt: Answering the 20 Toughest Faith Questions. For more about the robust Christian worldview, see A World of Difference: Putting Christian Truth-Claims to the Worldview Test.
|Part 1 | Part 2|