When I tell people I’m going to be an apologist I typically get a funny look. You may actually be giving me a funny look right now.
Don't worry. I will explain.
Apologetics, in short, is the defense of the faith. It’s giving arguments and evidence for what you believe. If someone asks you why you are a Christian and you tell them, you are doing apologetics. You are being an apologist.
The Bible actually commands us to do apologetics. In 1 Peter 3:15 it says, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” The Greek form of the word “answer” in that passage is apologia. It is, obviously, where we get our word “apologetics.” The word means “to give a well reasoned defense.” It was used at the time to refer to a defense in a court. It’s commanding us to have good reasons for our belief in Christ. Unfortunately, many Christians pass over this command.
One reason for this I have often heard is that there is no need to defend God. He can defend Himself. While I think that it is true that He can, that doesn't mean that we’re not supposed to. There are many things that God can do but chooses to have us participate and do for Him. I could just as easily say that there is no need to tell people about God. He can do it Himself.
And really, someone making a statement like that is defending God from people trying to defend God. They are doing what they say we shouldn't do. Any time someone tries to tell you why you should not do apologetics, they will be giving reasons for what they believe. In other words, they will be doing apologetics while telling you not to.
The Bible commands us to evangelism. And part of evangelism is apologetics. Some people, when you tell them about your faith, will have questions. We do need to realize, though, that we are not going to need to use intellectual arguments all the time. I tend to have a hard time with this one. I assume the person I'm talking to is like me. I am somewhat of a skeptic, so I assume that the person I am talking to is going to be a skeptical person and will need intellectual arguments. But some people don't really need that much convincing.
The point of evangelism and apologetics is not to overwhelm someone with arguments until they give in and become Christians. The point is to remove the barriers that are keeping them from following Christ. Some people's barriers are more emotional. If so, you shouldn't throw the cosmological argument for the existence of God at them. It will do no good. But, if the person has a serious intellectual doubt about whether or not God exists, then you should be able to discuss some of the evidence with them.
Christians need to know why Christianity is true because the people around them have questions. Their kids have questions, their coworkers have questions, they have questions. And those questions need to be answered.
We need to be ready to give an answer because the Bible commands us to, the people around us need us to, and we need us to.
By Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter - @JoshuaBeck What are some reasons you have heard for not doing apologetics? And do you believe them? Why or why not?