Defending Your Faith: A Lesson in Apologetics
By Steven R. Martins
It hasn’t been until recently that apologetics has emerged into the forefront of Christian education and missions. It’s been found in the writings of C.S. Lewis, proclaimed by the likes of Ravi Zacharias and his team of aspiring apologists, but it’s also been uncovered in the book of Acts. Yet the question in the minds of many Christians today remains, what is apologetics?
At first thought, most people assume apologetics involves apologizing to someone or a group of people. Others however believe it to be the useless art of arguing someone into the Christian faith through the use of intellectual arguments, but the truth is both assumptions are mistaken and proven unbiblical.
Defending the Faith
Apologetics is the art of defending, commending and translating the faith. It’s commonly derived from 1 Peter 3:15 which states “sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” (NASB). The apostle Peter uses the Greek word apologia for making a “defense” of why you believe what you believe. Its roots are Biblical, and it’s demonstrated by the apostle Paul in the book of Acts as he travels throughout the Roman Empire proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ. Apologetics isn’t about apologizing to people, in the Greek sense it means to establish a case in legal defense, explaining the reason for your faith when under fire. Recently, this has been necessary given the advancements of Atheism, Agnosticism, Postmodernism, Islam and the new spirituality movement in North America and beyond.
The truth is, everyone gives an apologia, it’s just whether you’re good at it or not that determines how effective you are in witnessing. When someone asks you why you believe in the Christian faith, your response will be an apologia. The concept here shouldn’t be confused with defending God, because as preacher Charles Spurgeon mentioned, there is no use attempting to protect a ferocious lion, he needs no protection. However, we are tasked with defending the reason for our faith, and this deals more with fulfilling the Great Commission than anything else…
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