For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term apologetics, it is simply defined as:
“reasoned arguments or writings in justification of something, typically a theory of religious doctrine”.
The word apologetics is derived from the Greek word apologia (á¼€πολογÎ¯α), which simply means to give a defence. So Christian apologetics is basically about giving a defence of our Christian faith and beliefs to people outside orthodox Christianity, which would also include groups like Mormons and Jehovah’s witnesses.
The typical bible verse attributed for the mandate of Christian apologetics is 1 Peter chapter 3, verse 15-16.
“But in your hearts revere 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, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander”
Yeah, I get what apologetics is now, but why is it a necessity?
Well to be more specific, I believe it is a necessity for the sake of our evangelism in the 21st century western world.
The West is now ever more increasingly atheistic and a sceptic. Its average citizens are being bombarded and brainwashed with so called “science”, ideologies and philosophies that are hindering people from rationally being at peace with asserted Christian truths.
I have especially experienced this in my evangelism efforts in university campuses. I noticed that people are much more willing to listen to the gospel and become somewhat open to Christianity when their rational questions were settled to some extent.
Few classic questions or comments that I received from students are:
How can there be a God when the world is full of evil?
Creation account is in contradiction with science!
Why did God command the Israelites to kill the Caninities in the OT?
I can’t believe in Christianity because of Trinity (mostly from Muslims).
How can you prove that Jesus actually existed?
What about dinosaurs!!!!????
But apologetics is just too broad! It would take me a million years to be apologetically equipped!!
Not necessarily! Remember you don’t need to have all the answers to every possible question. Just by knowing to answer and satisfy basic questions from people can possibly open up their sceptical hearts from thinking “Ah another Christian just mindlessly believes in religious lies!”
Showing them that you have some rationale behind your belief can give you credentials and potentially engage in meaningful conversation that may give you the opportunity to share the gospel.
It is okay to humbly answer “I actually don’t know the answer to that question, but let me get back to you on it at later time”. Don’t feel pressured to give perfect answer all the time. Remember, the goal is to close the gap of scepticism and open up the other side to a meaningful dialogue.
Don’t be discouraged when people don’t open up!
Some people, at the bottom of their heart are just haters of God and will deny God no matter how much of a good answer you may give them. If such thing is to happen, it may be best to retract back for the time being and just pray for the person in secret, waiting for another opportunity to rise.
Apologetics might be overwhelming and you might not know here to start.
There are different schools of apologetics: classical, presuppositional, evidential, existential etc. What is the right one for me?
Just for starters, I would recommend watching videos of Cliffe Knechtle on Youtube – Give Me an Answer Ministries. He talks on campus with students about variety of apologetical topics.
Once you get the hang of it, you may also find and watch people like Ravi Zacharias, William Lane Craig and James White.
Once you get a good sense of apologetics through watching videos, it would be helpful to actually get a book of some of these apologists, and start studying their books to make these arguments freely usable at your disposal.