Theologians, religious scholars and most Bible students understand the definition of the word apologetics to mean a defense the Bible. Specifically, apologetics is defined as “A reasoned arguments or writings in justification of something, typically a theory or religious doctrine”. However, there appears to be a new form of apologetics emerging throughout Christendom that is bringing both joy and irritation among Christians. That is the apologetics of apologizing. I would like to look at two instances of this “new” practice.
First, on June 21st several Christians attended Chicago’s Pride parade bearing signs with a message of apology for the mean-spirited treatment that the church has laid upon the LGBTQ community for, well for a very long time.
The position of Christians opposed to the practice of homosexuality based on Biblical prohibitions has resulted in bitter attacks rather than the initiation of respectful dialogue. The result is the sense of need for these apologies, among others.
Second, Pope Francis recently spoke before an audience of several thousand in Bolivia where he apologized for the church’s support of the mistreatment of indigenous people during the European conquest of the Western Hemisphere.
“The Pontiff apologized for the ‘many grave sins’ committed by Christians against indigenous peoples in South America during the colonization of the continent by Spain several centuries ago.
In a speech largely dedicated to decrying a ‘new colonialism,’ in which corporations and banks take the place of colonizing nation-states, the Pope acknowledged Thursday that the Catholic Church’s history is not entirely free from transgression.
‘I say this to you with regret,’ Francis said during a speech to grassroots movements in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. ‘Many grave sins were committed against the native peoples of America in the name of God.’
As the Pope noted, his predecessors, including St. John Paul II, had acknowledged the church’s soiled history in South America.
‘I humbly ask forgiveness,’ Francis added, ‘not only for the offenses of the church herself, but also for the crimes committed against the native peoples during the so-called conquest of America.'”
What I find encouraging is the sense of humility developing from within the Kingdom of God. Our dedication to truth placed us in a self-imposed position of fear of admitting that we might be wrong about some things from time to time. God is perfect, holy and just but we are not. Understanding the fullness of God, his Word and His will is an undertaking that requires more than a single lifetime to achieve.