Unpredictable outcomes


We used to love to do spin art.  You squirt paint onto a card as it twirls around and around in a battery-operated spinner.  When you turn off the spinner, you have paint splashed in a unique pattern each time.

Apologetics is like spin art.  You put in the paint.  But the results vary every time.

One of the most famous apologetics sermons in Scripture is Paul’s sermon delivered on Mars Hill.  How did that turn out?  Let’s look at the response of the people to Paul’s skilled and powerful words as recorded in the New Testament.

Acts 17:32-34

English Standard Version (ESV)

32 Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, “We will hear you again about this.” 33 So Paul went out from their midst. 34 But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.

Three outcomes are mentioned here.

1.  Some mocked.

This week I was mocked.  I was called names.  I was belittled.  I was bombarded with verbal assaults and then told that my email address would be blocked, even though this person had initiated the exchange with a question, and I had answered it very respectfully.  This has not happened to me in awhile, so it really took me aback.  At first I was just plain shocked.  I went back and read my emails to see if I had sounded arrogant or agressive.  We usually second-guess ourselves first, and rightly so.  But I had purposefully, thoughtfully showed this person respect and kind interest.  This experience reminded me how we cannot always measure our faithfulness to defend the faith by the response we receive.

2.  Some were truly interested and wanted to hear more.  

This response can be really fun!  You can do more research, spend more mealtimes together, and truly get to know someone else and their ideas.  I think of life-time friendships that started out with a simple conversation.  The response of “interest” seems to be the most common one in my experience.

3.  Some believed.

This, of course, is an incredible experience!  When God uses you to plant the truth, and you also get to see the harvest, you will feel that you are bursting with joy!

I remind you of these varied outcomes so as to encourage you as you seek to be faithful in defending the truth. Please do show the utmost love, gentleness and respect.  But if you have done that, do not be alarmed if everyone does not believe.  It could be just a matter of time.

Be faithful.  When things stop spinning, trust God with the results.

~ Betsy McPeak



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