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Not too long ago, my brothers and I were on an 80s movie marathon, and we just happened to have the good fortune of viewing the world famous The Karate Kid trilogy. (We watched these gems on VidAngel, which allowed us to filter out language and scenes we didn’t want to hear or see.)
The Karate Kid movies are awesome, right? People just don’t make movies like they used to. Now there were several interesting ideas that prevailed throughout these movies, but something rather noteworthy from the master himself, Mr. Miyagi, that struck me. It was like the force of a well-executed karate chop, as a matter of fact. This striking revelation was in regards to the theme of the movie—karate—and how a true karate master uses it to defend himself.
The purpose behind learning karate was to defend things of value, like honor and loved ones.
You see, throughout the movies, with diligence and patience, Mr. Miyagi had to teach his young, inexperienced pupil the reason behind learning karate. It took a while, but finally Daniel (aka the Karate Kid) came to understand that karate was not a way to fight but a way to defend. Karate is a way not to fight. The purpose behind learning karate was to defend things of value, like honor and loved ones. Karate was not meant to be used as a means of attack.
As I thought about it, Mr. Miyagi actually had some pretty profound ideas. But how do they apply to us? I mean, karate, high kicks, crane pose—how can we use all this? Well, we may not all be accomplished students of the martial arts, but that doesn’t mean we can’t use Mr. Miyagi’s nuggets of wisdom in other areas of our lives.
I think karate, at least Miyagi’s version, is an example of what Christian apologetics is meant to be about.
We should look at apologetics as we should karate. Apologetics is the oral form of karate you could say. We may not be exchanging upper cuts and roundhouse kicks, but as apologists, our job is definitely one of action. Think of the culture around us. People are growing more and more hostile to Christianity and the gospel as we speak. As opposition mounts and people reject the truths of God’s Word, we need to be ready to give a defense and an answer to the skeptics and the doubters.
But here is the key. Yes, we should go about well prepared to face opposition and equipped to defend ourselves if need be, but it is not our job as apologists to thrust ourselves into a fight or needlessly engage in conflict if we can help it. As Christian apologists, it is our responsibility to defend God’s Word but not strut about looking for a fight. This is where some people may struggle; I know I have. It is important to remind ourselves that God’s Word is alive and powerful, and it is what changes people regardless of what we may do. It is our job to see it faithfully proclaimed.
An example of an admirable apologist, I think, is Mr. Ken Ham who debated Mr. Bill Nye, “the Science Guy,” at the Creation Museum and then again soon after the opening of the Ark Encounter. I appreciated what Mr. Ham did on both occasions. He was willing to defend truth time and time again while steering the conversation back to God’s Word, ultimately pointing Bill Nye to Christ, when he very well could have bombarded him with a bunch of facts, which would have been missing the point.
As Christian apologists our job is to defend truth, and as we take the blows and hits from the culture around us, we should respond and defend with truth from God’s Word.
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