Sometimes getting into an apologetic conversation can feel like a competition. The other person offers their objections to Christianity and in return we try to rebut their objections and offer our own arguments. In the heat of the discussion, it can feel like a boxing match, with each person maneuvering around the other and attempting to land blows to their worldview.
It is not surprising that Christians who are new to apologetics would want to know the best argument for the Christian faith. This is a common question and I have seen it posed to many Christian apologists. There is a lot of interest in each apologist’s preferred method or strategy when it comes to addressing the objections of skeptics.
In my personal studies of apologetics, there are areas that catch my interest more than others. Some apologetics arguments, like the evidence from creation or the existence of moral laws, speak to me personally. I love thinking and talking about these topics. Other Christian arguments are not as attractive to me. In fact, I have heard some Christians adamantly defend arguments and evidence that I have little interest in repeating.
But which arguments are the best? Which one should all Christian apologists know? Is there one apologetic argument that is so overwhelming, so compelling, that anyone who hears it would be compelled to believe it is true?
I love the cosmological argument, which focuses on evidence indicating that all time, space, and matter had a beginning at a fixed point in time in the distant past. The fact that everything that exists came into being suggests a beginner, an “uncaused cause” powerful enough to create the universe from nothing (that sounds a lot like the God described in the Bible).
Here’s the problem: the existence and origin of the universe which animates me may be completely inconsequential in the eyes of the skeptic I am engaging. I could spend hours talking to someone about why I believe God is necessary for the creation of the universe, only to find my listener’s main objection to Christianity was something else, like the problem of evil, or the hypocrisy of Christian believers. I could waste my presenting what I believe to be the “best argument” only to find out it is uninteresting or inapplicable to the skeptic with whom I am speaking.
There may be a better way.
The great (and unique) thing about the case for Christianity is its cumulative nature. Numerous different pieces of evidence and lines of reasoning point to the truth of Christianity, including scientific and historical evidence, philosophical reasoning, and even evidence from our personal experiences. As a result, the Christian apologist does not need to find one “best” argument. Instead, we should be motivated to get to know our audience and their particular concerns and objections. Everyone we talk to may have different roadblocks preventing them from accepting Christianity as true.
It may be tempting to want to find the “one size fits all,” “sure-fire” argument, but in doing so, we run the risk of missing an opportunity…
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It may be tempting to want to find the “one size fits all,” “sure-fire” argument, but in doing so, we run the risk of missing an opportunity to answer the person, instead of the objection. I want to encourage you to ask questions of the skeptics and seekers you meet. Ask them what they believe and why they believe it. After all, apologetics isn’t about making the best argument, it’s about listening to others and providing responses that help clear the obstacles that prevent them from hearing about Jesus.
Detective Jimmy Wallace (J. Warner’s son) is a Police Investigator in Los Angeles County, a Christian Case Maker, host of the Incarnate Investigation Podcast and Incarnate Investigation Video Series (featured at ColdCaseChristianity.com).
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