The Church's Anti-Apologetic

I've studied apologetics (i.e., making a defense for the Christian faith). I've preached on it. I've written books about it.

But I think the most influential apologetic we exercise in the church is actually an anti-apologetic. That is, it persuades the world to pay no attention to the church or to the Jesus we claim to follow. What is it?


I am frequently appalled at how blase we Christians are about Jesus' commands to forgive others (he went so far as to say, "If you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins" (Matthew 6:15).

Unforgiveness is rampant in the church. It is epidemic. We seldom forgive each other. Pastors don't forgive their church members. Church members don't forgive pastors. Husbands don't forgive wives, and vice versa. Parents don't forgive kids, and vice versa. We're even unforgiving toward people we don't know, such as fallen Christian artists and pastors. And some of us even carry on as though our unforgiveness is righteousness. It's disgusting.

Honest to goodness, I think "Christians" are WORSE at forgiving than the world. Seriously, I think I have been more often and more readily forgiven by my non-Christian friends and acquaintances than by my brothers and sisters in Christ.

How can this be? Have we not experienced the forgiveness of God in Christ? Do we not believe the words of Jesus, that our Heavenly Father will deal severely with us if we do not forgive each other from the heart (Matthew 18:35)? Do we not see that unforgiveness makes us at least as unrighteous as those we're holding a grudge against?

The people around us are surprisingly perceptive. They look at the conduct of the Church and rightly wonder, “If forgiveness is so great, why aren’t you doing it?”

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