Nonetheless, if we wish to treat apologetics as a practical endeavor for concrete engagement with people who ask about Christianity, it seems best to start with the questions young people are actually asking.
Instead of answering this question theoretically, perhaps it will be easier to illustrate the problem of understanding God through our human speculation by considering the legend of St. George and the Dragon.
Today, however, it seems that apologetics tends to be a performance rather than an authentic dialog, an exercise in being clever rather than being compelling, and a source of self-satisfaction rather than an invitation to risky but respectful engagement.
Anti-intellectualism goes straight out the window when a topic truly matters to us. I can’t recall how many times I’ve noticed the same folks who disdain academic jargon start using bigger, more technical words than I in one of three circumstances.
In an American evangelical landscape that emphasizes the importance of an individual’s personal decision to follow Jesus—as if that were the basis for God’s grace towards a man or woman—Lutherans and Reformed Christians insist that justification before God is based solely on Jesus’ work, two millennia ago.
Apologetics (providing evidence for one’s faith) is a bad word in some circles. In others, apologetics is an entirely negative enterprise: that is, it only tangles up opponents and exposes their intellectual incoherence while refusing to provide positive reasons to believe in Christianity.
A clever skeptic named James Huber created a clever skit called “Kissing Hank’s Butt”. That’s the version he created for use in G-rated contexts. His main site uses more mature language. Many Christians will find it offensive.