A Master Apologist Answers the Questioner
The church sanctuary was standing room only—a standard condition when author and Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias comes to share the word of God.
I reserved my ticket months ahead of time and got a sitter for the kids. My wife graciously allowed this long-deserved night together to be combined with “A Night with Dr. Ravi Zacharias” hosted by Highlands Church in Phoenix.
I had long been a fan of Dr. Zacharias and the work of his colleagues at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. He was about to release his book Why Jesus?: Rediscovering His Truth in an Age of Mass Marketed Spirituality, and his visit to Phoenix would become a catalyst for my own ministry efforts.
Although I would never pass up an RZIM event, my motivation for attending that night was more specific:
I had a question.
It was a difficult question, and I knew that in order to come close to an answer I would need a man with extraordinary experience, wisdom, and grace. I would need Ravi Zacharias.
The online venue for submitting questions for the Q&A period was already closed out.
No!!! I’m already too late!
I would have to find another way to submit my question on the night of the event. We arrived to find herds of people funneling into the worship area set up for the presentation. I sought out anyone who looked like church staff and asked if I could somehow submit a question for the Q&A period, but I could not find the right person and the event was starting.
I sat down next to my beautiful wife who was still adjusting to my tie and blazer—something different from the Dress Blue Alphas she’s accustomed to on formal occasions. I furiously scribbled notes during his presentation and enjoyed every bit of the message.
But I was mostly waiting to ask my question.
As he began to close, I became nervous. Microphones waited in the aisles for those lucky enough to interact with the powerful speaker.
How are they going to do this? Are they going to read the questions submitted online? Is there a line I can stand in?
I printed my question on an index card; it was too important to misstate.
Finally, Dr. Zacharias invited the audience to approach the microphones with questions. Being the courteous fellow that I am, I gave everyone else one full second to respond. Then I sprang from my seat and darted to the mic.
This was the heart of my question:
“What is the best way to share the Gospel with someone who claims that they are content with contradictions?”
First, Dr. Zacharias answered the question:
“For a person to say, ‘I know that it is not coherent, and I’m willing to live with incoherence,’ is actually saying they don’t care about reason and meaning anymore. If reason and meaning are pointless, reasoning in a meaningful way with that person may also become a pointless exercise. . . Sooner or later, incoherence will come back to haunt everybody, in this generation or the next, and they’ll find out that incoherence does make a difference, and God will bring that moment in the individual’s life.”
But after he answered the heart of the question, he focused on the more important task of an apologist:
Ministering to the heart of the question-er
Dr. Zacharias left me with three encouraging suggestions for reaching that person:
- Live your message, and show what a life of coherence actually looks like
- Give them an opportunity to hear the words of Christ, but do not push too hard
- Show them that they will have everything they have in the peace of their soul already, plus more. When you find Christ, you find the source of all peace and the source of all truth
This master apologist answered both.
The most important lesson for us to learn from question and answer sessions is to care more about the person than the question.
If you had one night with Dr. Zacharias, what would you ask?
- Book Review: True Reason
- Hands of Light: Be Careful What You Reach For
- Why You Should Say No to Spiritual Pornography
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About Jason B. Ladd
Jason is an author, speaker, Marine, and father of seven. He has flown the F/A-18 Hornet as a Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 (MAWTS-1) Instructor Pilot and the F-16 as an Instructor Pilot. His award-winning book One of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot’s Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview has been optioned for film adaptation. He is represented by Julie Gwinn of The Seymour Agency.