A great temptation for a heady Christian is to let apologetics supersede evangelization. “Sure, I’m a good evangelist” I might tell myself, “I can answer most questions people throw at me.” Hooray for me… Heart Christians, you probably already see what is wrong with this. Apologetics, while it might be one of the natural consequences of evangelization, is not evangelization.
Apologetics is the reasonable response to questions and challenges regarding the faith. It is inherently reactionary. Evangelization is inherently proactive. It is the active and intentional sharing of the faith and its fruits.
Apologetics is the defense of something as good, true, or beautiful. Evangelization is the invitation to meet the one who is goodness, truth, and beauty.
Apologetics is about what I know and can express and teach well. Evangelization is about what I have — or rather who has me — and just openly sharing that relationship with another.
With apologetics, you can try to fake it till you make it by reading enough books and speaking eloquently enough. With evangelization, I can’t give what I don’t have and can’t introduce who I don’t know.
This isn’t to demean apologetics, it is great stuff, but it is secondary to evangelization. See, as a heady Christian, I like to think that if I can just answer enough of someone else’s questions then they’ll suddenly be a believer. But our questions never end and an overemphasis on answers demands no belief or faith. Instead, joy, peace, contentment, love, and different living should raise the question “Are you crazy? Or do you really have something I don’t?” Apologetics is the Christian’s way of saying, “I’m not crazy.” But it is evangelization that says, “and let me introduce you to the one who gives me this joy, peace, contentment, love, and calls me to this lifestyle.”