What makes a good apologist?

I’ve noticed on this forum that many people think knowledge is the most important factor.

I think that for every hour we spend learning apologetics we should spend two learning how to love our neighbour. Many people on these forums have good things to say, but they say it with such harshness and pride that these things over shadow what they say.

There are a number of things we need to practise, firstly not thinking we are better than others. If we are in a better place spiritually than some people on this board it is only by the grace of God. For example, protestants are our separated brothers and sisters, many of them are better Christians than a lot of Catholics.

“Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence.” 1 Peter 3:15-16

People often quote the first part of 1 Peter but they forget, the words with “gentleness and reverence.”

Will people hear the Gospel if it is preached with anything but love? I would go so far as to say that if we have preached the gospel without love then we have not preached the gospel at all.

Karl Keating said (and I’m paraphrasing from memory here) that apologists must remember: Our objective is to win hearts, not arguments.

I think a good apologist lives by that principle.

That is the reason I often consider myself a failure as an apologist. I’m very good at winning arguments, but not so good at winning hearts.

Arch Bishop Fulton Sheen said “I’d rather lose a thousand arguments than one soul.”

Wow, this is humbling.

When I was a fundamentalist we had something they called ‘soul-winning’. There were a variety of ways to do it: door to door, passing out tracts on a street corner, visiting ‘unsaved’ Catholics. The Hyles-Anderson sect had something they called ‘ambush evangelism’. Just spring upon a person, surround them, and ‘ambush’ them with the Gospel and try and get them to ‘pray a sinner’s prayer’.
None of it worked.
The latter example faded away quickly after a few shots were fired in their direction.:eek:
Anyway, nobody is ever convinced by argument, they only dig a deeper trench and find new reasons for their position.
Here’s what works:

  1. Give them the information.
  2. Pray for them.
    That’s all one can do.
    But the most important one of those two is prayer.
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