Pride and Apologetics

By: Elias Ayala
(M.A.T & Mdiv)

“Yes, pride is a perpetual nagging temptation. Keep knocking it on the head but don’t be too worried about it. As long as one knows one is proud one is safe from the worst form of pride”.
-C.S. Lewis

I think C.S. Lewis captured well the notion that the worst kind of pride is the kind of pride we are not aware that we have. Admitting that pride can sometimes creep into our lives is a step in the right direction. The issue of pride presents a great danger to the Christian apologist. It is quite easy to become pleased with one’s self when tearing apart opposing arguments, and exemplifying razor sharp logical skills. The apologist runs the risk of building for himself an idol. This idol is sculpted and carved such that when the masterpiece is complete, they have created for themselves a statue that is a perfect reflection of themselves. If the Christian worships his own mind and its abilities, then he has lost sight of what it means to be a genuine defender of the faith. For such a one, the person has not sanctified Christ as Lord in his heart (1 Peter 3:15).

Rather it is the Person of Jesus Christ that should provide for us the perfect example of humility. We are told quite beautifully by the apostle Paul, “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death- even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:5-8). If Christ is our model, then how far has the apologist gone, when he acts in a manner so diametrically opposed to that of his Lord’s? How can we be impressed with ourselves and our abilities, while at the same time acknowledging that everything we have has been given to us by God (1 Corinthians 4:7)? Indeed such thinking exemplifies the fact that such a person is a walking contradiction. This is very ironic since such persons revel in their own logical precision and insight, yet they are unable to recognize their folly.

The genuine apologist seeks to honor God both in thought and in action. The genuine defender of the faith seeks to imitate his master. Let us consider also that apologetics does not merely deal with issues of the mind, but also with issues of the heart, issues of action. We must live in a way where these truths are woven together in beautiful consistency. Our mind, our hearts, and our actions must be dancing to the same music, and must be moving in tandem with each other such that the dance is consistent with the beat. The genuine defender of the faith dances to the music of His master and imitates the steps that he has choreographed.

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