Jubilee, Peter, and myself had decided on going witnessing at a large mall one Sunday afternoon, little did I know what awaited me.
For most of the time the witnessing had been fairly normal, people were normally indifferent, but not hostile. Caring little to them we were just a way to pass time. The time to witness, was about over, for some of us had a ways to go home, when I spotted Luke and Amy. A teenage couple of about 16, sitting on some benches near a gumball machine of mythic proportions. After making way over, and stumbling through small talk the night began in earnest. It wasn't that Luke and Amy were hostile, much more dangerous to their souls they were curious.
In under two minutes Luke asked the question, "why would a loving God create hell? (Cat. 3 GQ 7) Instantly I flipped to my mental rolodex of apologetic cards. It is necessary here to digress to explain that I participated in apologetics in its inaugural year, and the one following. But since then I've half worked as a 'critiquer' at my parents apologetic study group they host. That understood, allow me to resume. When my mind settled on why God created hell two things happened. First, I didn't panic because I had an answer, second, I found my answer unsatisfactory. Maybe your answer is something like mine was, "God created hell because He had to be just, and for Him to be just there has to be punishment for all sinners." It sounds good coming out in front of fathers, elders, and church men. But in front of a 16 year old boy who only sees sin as the type of people who kill, rape, and abuse children, it doesn't work. Accordingly I found myself going wider to explain sin from God's perspective so that Luke could see his actions as rebellion against God.
Without my apologetic card God still would have been sovereign; but I would not have been able to bring truth to mind with scriptures. Even though my arrogance when I wrote the card didn't adjust for real life, it still served me in a time of need.
Oh, but the evening had just begun, the next two hours were roller coaster of apologetic cards, all over the map, from questions about God, who He is, what is justice, what is sin, why do we have sin nature, why... Luke and Amy parted with me on friendly terms, my feeling like I'd just talked my way out of a firing squad, Luke with things to think about. God knows the result, but I can tell you, apologetics gave me a base from which the Holy Spirit could work, as well as learning place from which to discover how much I have to learn.
Accordingly, in your year of apologetics practice humility and try to understand where the question is coming from, and second of all, persevere. At times your brain will want to quit because it can't think of an attention grabber, but know that the truths you are defending are worth treasuring in your heart, worth the diligence it takes to compose them into clear and concise thoughts on paper. Pray, and write on...

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