“But if anyone does not provide for his relatives,
and especially for members of his household,
he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
1 Timothy 5:8 (ESV)
Perhaps the greatest evidence for the Christian faith is Christians. What’s the worst evidence? Christians. The practical, real-world credibility of Christianity hinges on the personal integrity of Church members. That means you and I are supposed to live right and godly lives, caring for our loved ones, managing our finances, disciplining our kids, working hard on the job, contributing to our community, and just being decent people all around. We don’t have to be superheroes, and people don’t expect us to be perfect. But we sacrifice our living apologetic if we are hypocrites. Apologetics is only partly about the spoken intellectual apologetics. Another whole facet of apologetics is found in “salt of the earth” working class folks who do good work, love their families, and improve their communities. God cares about those domains too, and apologetics is no less relevant in those areas since attacks on the faith can seep in there too. It may be a malicious kind of workers union, or a PTA parent who is misleading the school board, or a wild child who needs an extra helping of tough love. Every one of those mundane domains is a real attack on Christianity, albeit indirectly. That rebellious child could abandon the faith. That PTA member could lead the school board into hostile relations with local churches. That workers union could get on-the-job prayer meetings shut down.
Don’t think of apologetics as some elite skill, or a narrow domain of intellectual ministry. It certainly includes those things, but apologetics is likewise seen when men and women of God are confessing their sins, growing together, working through adversity, feeding their kids, and showing how the truths of Christ apply to their lives. This demonstration is still a kind of declaration, it’s just in deeds more than words. The best defense is often a good offense. And Christians can be winning battles for their families and their communities before any devastating doubts or debilitating deception set in. It only makes sense to spend the bulk of your energy anchoring people’s lives firmly in the Gospel so our apologetic task is more about fortification (the easier work) than about reclamation (the harder work). It’s far easier to protect ground and never lose it than to reclaim ground after we lost it.