Does “Faith, Not By Sight” Contradict Apologetics?

I have been engaging with the world of Christian apologetics since the first Apologetics Canada Conference in 2010. From that point forward, I have only become more convinced that there is a real and genuine need for Christians to learn how to give a reasonable case for why they believe what they believe.

Sadly, however, there are still not as many Christians who share my sentiments. The interest in apologetics is thin in most congregations today. I am encouraged when I do attend conferences or events and see Christians who realise (maybe for the first time) that apologetics in the 21st century is a very important & necessary thing.

I have spoken at conferences/events where people come up to me afterwards saying the same things I used to say: “I didn’t know that there we could defend the Christian faith like this!” Or “I now see how important this is in evangelism because I have been asked tough questions when trying to share my faith that I didn’t have a good answer to.”

The Biggest Objection To Apologetics From Christians
As strange as it is, there are still many Christians that need to be convinced that apologetics is necessary. Usually, apologetics is aimed at giving a reasonable defence for the rationality of the Christian worldview & the truth of God’s existence; however, one objection that I have heard many times is that “we don’t need apologetics because we are told to walk by faith & not by sight.”

Where do they get this from? Places like:

  • 2 Corinthians 5:7 – “for we walk by faith, not by sight.”
  • 2 Corinthians 4:18 – “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal”
  • Hebrews 11:1 – “Now faith is the assurance of what we hope for and the certainty of what we do not see.”

So my question is: Does “Faith Not By Sight” Contradict Apologetics?
It is intriguing that the same person (Paul) who wrote that we “walk by faith, not by sight” also happened to regularly reason with and persuade people (apologetics) in the synagogues and market places (see Acts 17:2; 17:17; 18:4).

The Bible does not encourage blind, irrational faith; rather, it encourages reasonable faith. Elsewhere, it urges to “be prepared to make a defence for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15).

If the Bible encourages us to give a reasonable case for our faith & yet encourages us to walk by faith & not by sight, then we must conclude that there is either a contradiction in the Scriptures or this is not really a good objection to apologetics after all.

Is there still “faith, not by sight” in Christianity? Absolutely. What do I take this to mean? We do not physically see God, but we do live by faith that He is there. What do we base that faith on? Good reasons to believe that it is rational to have faith in what we don’t see.

In the same way that we do not see the wind; however, we can have “faith” that it is there because we see the effects of it in the world around us, we feel it, we come up with rational reasons to prove that wind exists (even scientifically).

Conclusion
When a Christian says to me that we do not need apologetics because we walk by “faith, not by sight” and they feel that apologetics is an attempt to walk by sight, I simply have to say that there is no contradiction here. Those verses do not disprove the need for apologetics in our churches today. If anything, those verses actually encourage us to have good reasons why we should walk by faith and not by sight.

We don’t want to simply have blind faith, as we are often accused of having by non-Christians; rather, we should engage with apologetics as a means to help us reason/persuade others as Paul did. It is not only for others, but apologetics also encourages us in our own faith to show us that it is not irrational to have faith in what we do not see.

God Bless
Tyson Bradley

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