In my prior posts on the introduction to Christian case-making, I explained the origin of term and practice of “apologetics,” gave the Biblical model of Jesus and Paul, and showed how the Bible
explicitly commands each of us as Christians to be prepared to offer a persuasive defense of our hope through Christ. In this entry, I’d like to offer some other reasons that should offer further motivation for you to take Christian apologetics seriously.
- Preparation to defend the faith entails that we learn more deeply about what we are defending. If you want to really master a subject, offer to teach it to someone else! Sharing the information in a methodical, careful way requires that you understand what you are talking about, especially if you are going to be talking to a skeptical or hostile audience. The preparation process helps gather one’s thoughts and reasons in a more careful way than they might do otherwise. We need to learn how to discuss the details of the deeper issues and doctrines without using churchy terms and jargon with the uninitiated. Even among church-goers, the terms can be overused and under-explained such that the meaning and understanding is lost.
- Apologetics is a counterpart and often a prerequisite to evangelism. Many people won’t be open to hearing the gospel until they have justification for believing in God and the reliability of the Bible.
- Developing and articulating careful reasoning skills concerning Christian beliefs can help counter the negative image many have of Christianity of being narrow-minded and self-righteous due to strong and culturally controversial opinions that we cannot justify, such as with homosexuality. As stated in Matthew 5:13-16, we are to be salt and light among non-believers, offering correctives to our culture by confronting ideas and arguments that seek to disprove Christian truths.
- Through careful study and learning of the truths of Christianity, the apologist can be positioned to help keep his local body of believers from teachings that would lead towards cultism by distorting the essentials of Christianity.
- Apologetic study can also help to counter the claims of cult groups and show the truth of the gospel to these adherents that he or she may come in contact with in their lives.
- A general increase in apologetic knowledge among Christians will help preserve the Christian culture in America that is lost in Europe and quickly fading in America. We need to do more than just quote Bible verses, since the Bible is not commonly seen as an authority anymore. We need to be able to give reasons why it should be.
- “Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered.” – C. S. Lewis. Atheist and anti-Christian apologists exist, as an apologist is basically someone who defends a belief or point of view using reason and persuasion. Colossians 2:8 gives us this warning: “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” This, of course, is not a warning against philosophy, but of philosophy and empty deceit. Philosophy means “the love of wisdom,” and represents the pursuit to discover truth and ultimate reality. This should be the aim of every individual.
So here over these last several posts you have seen and hopefully have been tracking with the arguments that I’ve made. But perhaps you still have some doubt or hesitation or question in your mind about this approach? In my next post, I’ll address some objections I’ve come across concerning the role of apologetics in the life of the believer.
Comments, questions, challenges? Email me through the form on my “about” page, we’ll discuss, and your comments may inspire a follow-up post!
(All Scripture in this post is from the ESV translation)