Guinness winds up his book here by focusing on what the apologist needs to focus on with the true seeker. According to Os, it’s a journey people are on for the meaning of life. Too often we don’t live the examined life but there are those who chose to and it’s these we must focus our energies on. What happens often is that people are either diverted in the journey of life so that they don’t want to face their inevitable end (death), or they’re bargaining with life that they’ll eventually get to the serious issues of life.
Nevertheless, for those wanting answers to life’s toughest questions the examined life they embrace. Here is where a road with common questions or issues surface and the following stages follow.
First, it’s important for the apologist to be skilled at leading people in their journey for meaning in life. This is where the word of God is central to guide what and when things are brought up and done. That is, the apologist must use his God’s eye view (I.e., biblical understanding) to focus the path. This means that the gospel must center the interaction and the thought of man reaching up toward God must be corrected with the fact that God is the one that descended toward man. This is a massive and pivotal thought. Get this wrong, and we’ve entirely missed the gospel message according to historic orthodox Christianity.
Second, people must ask questions that deal with life’s meaning. Here, the apologist must direct the person to understand that the base for meaning in life is truth which informs our ethics, community, identity, and purpose as people. Only serious people ask these questions and consider their depths, not shallow disinterested ones. Thus, the apologist must be ready to emphasize thinking and uphold it as supreme in the journey for meaning in life, not just belief.
Third, questions require answers and at this stage they are conceptual, critical, and comparative which govern the remainder of the journey. The comparative questions have been regarded as negative for several reasons that really lack substance so I’ll disregard them for now (See pg.241) but the questions the seeker asks are to concern the apologist, not ones they don’t ask.
Fourth, the evidence for the faith believed must obtain. A faith that can’t be challenged for its truth claims is not the Christian faith. So make sure as the apologist that the evidence for the questions raised are demonstrated from either biblical or extra-biblical sources.
Lastly, call for a commitment. The meaning of life is not an endless journey of searching, but one that when life’s questions have been satisfactorily answered it’s warranted for one to decide either to commit or not.
Guinness concludes his book with reminding the apologist/advocate that there’s a place for negative and positive apologetics depending on the audience and that conversion is toward a lover, not a set of ideas.
When Guinness gives his acknowledgment for those who have deeply impacted him, I was moved. It occurred to me that most advocates/apologists’, will never author a book or “contribute” to the dialogue which makes them stand out (myself included). But each one of us has a particular sphere of influence that the Eternal one holds in His hands.
May we be faithful ambassadors to Him, and may we relentlessly placard Christ’s supremacy in all things as we pursue God and let Him be known through our lives.