“Nothing could convince me to believe that!” This was one of the reactions I got lately as I shared about my faith. I was tempted to reply “Exactly!” because nothing is a very convincing proof. The followers went to the tomb and what did they see? Nothing!! The emptiness of that tomb is what my hope is built on.
Of course I didn’t say this because, though a bit on the clever side, it would not be helpful. I began to cast my mind back over all the apologetics books I have read, thinking I could come up with a reasoned answer to my friend’s incredulity with the gospel. I have never been great with apologies; not the “Say sorry to your sister!” kind nor the defense of the Gospel kind. During my tenure with Taylor College I never taught ‘Apologetics’ even though it was a course in my Evangelism Studies Department. I guess I have never been convinced of its’ value. I used to argue, in vain, that apologetics was irrelevant in the post-modern world.
The other day I read a quote from Clarence Jordan “The crowning evidence that he lives is not a vacant grave, but a spirit-filled fellowship. Not a rolled-away stone, but a carried-away church.” What I should have said to my friend (and I will say it when I get the opportunity) is “If you want proof of the truth of the Gospel look at our lives!”
I feel a bit awkward saying that because of what a broken group we are at Street Hope/Up Town, but we are the best evidence of the power and truth of the Gospel. Sadly we can also be a terrible indictment of that same Gospel and this is when I need to brush up on my “Say sorry to your sister!” kind of apology.
No one needs to convince my friends and me that we are a mess but we comfort ourselves in the knowledge that “We may not be what we ought to be but we are grateful that we are not what we once were.”
We, like the Church throughout the ages are the evidence that demands a verdict. No text or pat answer will ever convince my friend, but broken lives moving toward wholeness may, and I pray will, prove irresistible. This is our calling as Easter People.