“What we need more today is an expression of Him rather than a defense of Him.” This is what I have been feeling as I grow in my faith over the years. Hopefully, it won’t offend anybody.
I agree that ”But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15), but there have been too many apologetics who are marked with an argumentative spirit that is directly in contrast with Paul’s gentleness and respect expressed in this verse. (As you can guess as well, I prefer much more ‘to give an answer’ than to the translation of ‘to defend’.)
Of course, there are also many apologists who I respect, such as Hank Hanegraaff. Interestingly, having dedicated most of his life to apologetics, Hank decided to join the Eastern Orthodox Church after reading books by Watchman Nee and meeting Christians in China, “ I saw Chinese Christians who were deeply in love with the Lord, and I learned that while they may not have had as much intellectual acumen or knowledge as I did, they had life.” says Hank awhile back (This is his decision, and I hope brothers and sisters honour that.) Although I did not go his route, I, too, had a similar experience, where a group of brothers and sisters, full of His life and joy, rekindled my love for Him after my 10 years of being a Christian. Nee definitely has been a big influence.
To avoid confusion, let me clarify: for me, giving an answer to our faith comes naturally as part of an expression of Him: why would we not want to share Him and give answers if we have experienced His resurrected life? But without the Spirit, a mere intellectual defense filled with head-knowledge is empty. Our answer-giving originates from our overflowing affection for Christ and others, not from a desire to defend Him, ourselves, and our argument. The first kind serves Him and others; the latter kind serves our own ego. In the present age characterised by division and brokenness, we need a full expression of Him as a corporate instrument that is known for His love, His grace, His truth, and His power.