If you want to be an apologist, what is an important step to take? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Last night, a friend messaged me wanting advice. They were getting set to start an apologetics ministry and they wanted to know how to get their work out there. Now if you didn’t have the title to give it away, some would think the first piece of advice would involve studying hard or speaking to scholars or speaking at local churches or something like that.
Nope. The first piece of advice I have is to put your family first. As a married man, I cannot stress this enough. If you are not a married man (or woman) yet then treat your work in such a way that it is not the driving obsessive force in your life. If someone comes along, you will not be married to your work. You will be prepared to be married to them.
You see, I love what I do in apologetics, but it is not meant to replace my marriage at all. If something happened to me, God forbid, then someone else if need be could take over Deeper Waters. Someone else could write a fill-in blog for me. Someone else could do the podcast. Now you could say that if I died, Allie would be free to remarry. That’s true. Yet while we’re alive, I could ask someone to guest host or guest blog on my show. I cannot ask someone to guest husband for Allie. Only one person can do that, and that’s me.
One statement I’ve made to men that I talk to about is this. I don’t care if you write the best books on apologetics out there. I don’t care if you’re the most capable debater and all opponents are scared of you. I don’t care if you have the most successful ministry answering questions the world over. If you do all of that and yet you are not a husband to your wife or a father to your children (Use the appropriate terminology for female apologists) then I count you as a failure in ministry.
When you make a covenant with your wife, it is to her. It is not to your job. Barring some emergency (Like someone contemplating suicide and I’m having to talk to them), if Allie really needs me and someone else does, someone else is going to have to wait. Allie comes first. There come times in the relationship where it’s important to put the book down and not worry about your work. Just be with your spouse.
By the way guys, I also give this tip for the honeymoon and I did it as well. Once you marry, take that honeymoon period off from everything. When we went on our honeymoon, I only brought one book with me, the Bible. You and your wife need to read that together on your honeymoon. Other than that, when I checked my phone, it was not to check email or Facebook. It was to check directions and things like that. I did not answer emails for a week. I did not interact on Facebook for a week. I was not doing any debating for a week. I even asked her parents and mine to not contact us unless it was an emergency. Let us be, and they honored that.
“But I want to put up wedding pictures!” There’s plenty of time for that. “But I want everyone to know how our honeymoon is!” There’s plenty of time for that later. For the time being, let that time be you and your spouse alone and no one else. There were several people who could handle the world of apologetics and ministry while we were away. Now naturally, if I came across someone who really really needed help on our honeymoon, I would do it. Allie would expect nothing less. The thing is you’re not seeking out the opportunities to do that. If God sends someone your way, you take care of it. If not, that’s fine. Loving your spouse is a service to God in itself. Only you can be a husband to your wife or a wife to your husband.
By all means in apologetics, study hard. Speak to the scholars. Get your work out there. Speak at those local churches and such. In human terms though, let your first commitment be to your family. Let no one else fill those shoes for you while you’re still breathing.