What, precisely, is Christian Apologetics? Contrary to popular believe, apologetics has nothing to do with “apologizing” for being a Christian. It is not the study of how we are to not offend people. On the contrary, apologetics is the practice of defending and commending the Christian faith, and it has been a well-established practice since the earlier church. The Apostle Paul engaged in this art when he confronted various false beliefs in the Galatian and Colossian churches; earlier church leaders, particularly Justin Martyr, were well-known for their apologetical works. This art, however, has fallen out of favor among the lay-people of today. Most church goers do not see a reason for this discipline. After all, they ask, aren’t we suppose to live by faith and not sight? Why should we seek to reason with unbelievers, since we have faith? And isn’t apologetics just fancy arguments for intellectual snobs.
Several things can be said in response to these objections. First, it must be noted that God commands all Christians to be involved in the defense of the faith. Peter tells us the following:
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: -1 Peter 3:15
The word for “answer” here is the Greek word “apologia,” meaning ” a reasoned defense.” This command to provide a reasoned defense for what we as Christians believe is given to the Church; to not practice it is to talk in disobedience.
Second, it has become all too common today to separate faith from reason. The idea is that faith steps in when we have no, or even contrary, evidence. Faith, in effect, becomes a blind leap into the dark. It must be noted, however, that the Christian cannot, indeed dare not, accept such a view of faith. Faith, for the believer, is not a blind leap; it is trusting in the most sure fact: the revelation of the Triune God in Scripture. We have the most sure foundation for knowledge, and we must show this to the rest of the world.
Third, it is true that many apologetical arguments become technical and obscure, but that should in no way dissuade the average Christian from seeing the importance of this task. It is true that those with advanced degrees and education talk in fancy terms; it is to be expected with their education, and Christian should adapt accordingly. To reach the next-door neighbor who is an atheist, however, a fancy education is not required. What is required is a humble submission to the truths of God’s Word.
The future post of this blog will attempt to provide a foundation from which we as believers can work from. May God’s Spirit grant us the wisdom to learn how to properly defend His truth.