In The Allure of Gentleness, Dallas Willard leads the reader in a path I wish I had offered to me when I was a teenager. I grew up with the concept that apologetics was winning the argument. My “rightness” would overwhelm their “wrongness” and then they would somehow just bow to Jesus.
Over the years I have adopted more of what Dallas writes about here, but more by fits and starts than a purposeful plan.
He lays out three basic attitudes to take in the subject of apologetics:
1. Have confidence in God and his truth. We need to understand God is on the throne and Satan can’t do a thing about it. No one can. Have confidence.
2. We are to be humble, generous, and open toward other people. Nothing is more damaging than telling a Muslim, for instance, what he believes, before HE has a chance to tell you what he believes. We need an openness to listen and walk with that respect toward others. Then, in kindness, we ask that same respect in return. I have watched Tim Keller do this time and again. It is marvelous to watch.
3. We need a true desire to lovingly serve.
2 Timothy 2:24-26 is a great example:
24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.