Probably the most impactful lesson about Apologetics I learned through speech and debate was the interconnectedness of theology. Actually, I wrote an entire blog post about it! The basic idea is that no aspect of theology is an island. One topic relates to and interconnects with other topics.
For example, consider the twin doctrines of inspiration and inerrancy. Can you really understand one without the other? God breathed every word of the Scriptures, and thus every word is without error—for God cannot err. Inspiration without inerrancy is useless; inerrancy without inspiration is impossible. Every topic in theology is related to many other topics.
In Chapter 4 of Defend, I discuss how this reality affects the organization of the 100+ Apologetics topics. After some comments about the other two methods of covering all the topics (writing 100 cards or gathering general information that you hope applies), the key paragraph occurs:
“The third approach is what I call ‘Divide and Conquer’. … By writing one ‘concept card’ for each concept you can cover over 85% of all of the topics by writing only 25 cards. There will be some miscellaneous topics that don’t really fit into any particular concept, but you can cover over 85% of the 100+ topics by writing only 25 cards.”
If you want to cover all the topics, you have three options: write 100 cards, get a bunch of general information and hope it applies, or use Concepts. I first introduced the idea of Concepts in my Apologetics curriculum, Thoroughly Equipped: The Comprehensive Guide to Apologetics. When you realize that theology is interconnected, you can cover most of the 100+ Apologetics topics by writing only 25 Concept Cards.
You don’t have to sacrifice quality for ease, though: because you have fewer cards to write, you can go deeper on each one. You end up with 25 excellent cards instead of 100 adequate cards!
Most likely, you’re currently in the midst of preparation for Apologetics competition. I’m sure you recognize the value of this organizational system. Wouldn’t it be better for you to cover all 100 topics by focusing all of your efforts on 25 key concepts?