|Share this post on Facebook!|
Why Apologetics? Apologists, Clergy, and Laymen Speak Out!
compiled by Greg West
Greg’s Note: At first glance this post may seem a bit long for a blog post, and perhaps it is—but in reality, it will only take a few minutes out of your day to read and carefully consider. It is my sincere hope and prayer that you will do so, and that you will read through to my closing comments.
Sometimes we would rather duck the responsibility of doing our homework, of wrestling with the problems and answering the objections, and simply say to people, “Oh, you just have to take it all in faith.” That’s the ultimate cop-out.That doesn’t honor Christ.We honor Christ by setting forth for people the cogency of the truth claims of Scripture, even as God himself does.We must take the trouble to do our work before the Spirit does his work, because the Spirit does not ask people to put their trust and faith and affection in nonsense or absurdity. —R.C. Sproul (from, Defending Your Faith: An Introduction to Apologetics)
Apologetics has never been more important than it is now. People throughout our culture, including many of our friends, family members, neighbors, and co-workers, are becoming increasingly secular. They're moving farther and farther from Christian teachings and morality. The Bible mandates that we must be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks (1 Pet. 3:15), so this is not an optional activity for Christians or the church. We must confront the errors of our culture and present in their place the truth and gospel of Christ. So I hope Lee [Strobel] is right about it being a "golden age of apologetics" – and there are many signs that he is – but much more needs to be done. —Mark Mittelberg (from, Apologist on Movement to Bring Apologetics Back to Church)
People do not like to feel stupid. If you go out and share your faith with non-believers and they ask you how you can trust the Bible or who was Cain's wife or tell you that the Bible condones slavery, polygamy, genocide, etc., how many more times do you think you're going to open your mouth about Jesus? For most people, probably not very often. If, on the other hand, you have the proper training to handle and respond to these questions "with gentleness and respect" (1 Peter 3:15b), you will have effectively removed this hurdle so that you can more freely share your faith and talk to people about the Gospel. This by no means diminishes or devalues the role of the Holy Spirit, but merely presents yourself and your training as yet another means by which the Holy Spirit can draw people to Himself. —Daniel Carrington (from the article, Should Christians Use Evidence and Logic to Proclaim the Gospel?)
Arguments are good, and dispute is healthy. They clarify the truth and protect us from error and religious despotism. When the church discourages principled debates and a free flow of ideas, the result is shallow Christianity and a false sense of unity. No one gets any practice learning how to field contrary views in a gracious and productive way. The oneness they share is contrived, not genuine. Worse, they lose the ability to separate the wheat from the chaff. Simply put, when arguments are few, error abounds. —Greg Koukl (from, Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions)
We need to realise that we live in an age of pathological cynicism; our young people cannot stand (never mind advance) unless they can give tough answers to tough questions.—David Glass and Graham Veale (from the article, McAtheism and the McChurch)
I love opportunities to question, think and learn. I have spent most of my life in church, but by my midlife I realized so much I heard from pulpits was subjective, and one or two verse sermons that did not seem in context. I read the Old Testament, but I knew something was missing because I did not have a cohesive knowledge and understanding. People quote scriptures all the time to apply to their circumstances that taken in context have meaning to a certain people at a certain time in their history…That is where an acquaintance who himself was hungry began in depth study and has taught faithfully Bible History and Jewish culture that opened my eyes to a fuller understanding of the cohesive nature and purpose of His Story. That knowledge is life and the foundation that sustains me when life does not make sense…I want an honest thinking faith and in a lot of evangelical circles that is not the norm. We have to be willing to hear one another even when we disagree and weigh prayerfully what is true…I think we become a private club where we all have to say the same thing and think the same. Most people like that because then they feel they have pleased God and that often leads to an unstable foundation because they have little knowledge of Him and his purpose. —Shirley Riley (comment on our Facebook page used by permission)
I want to see churches start their own apologetics ministries because it is our scriptural mandate to “always be prepared to give an answer.” Yet there often is very little preparation going on! When challenges to faith come, people struggle to find substantive answers. This may cause some believers to resort to a sort of “believe it anyway” mentality; for others it causes them to abandon the faith altogether. Research by the Barna Group has shown that a majority of young people walk away from the faith around the time they go to college or university. They simply have not been equipped to deal with the secular challenges that come against their faith. —Brian Auten (from, The State of Apologetics w/Lee Strobel)
The Bible says we should “always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). Can you help someone work through the “Why does God allow suffering?” question? Can you help a university student see that science has not, will not and cannot disprove God? Do you know why it is logically impossible that all religions could lead to God? We need to be ready to answer these because the Bible commands us to do so. As Christians we have a tremendous heritage we have inherited from those who have taken 1 Peter 3:15 seriously. —Jon Morrison (from, 5 Reasons To Rethink Apologetics)
Since we as Christians are called and commanded to have a reason for the hope within them (1 Peter 3:15), it is the responsibility Christian teachers, pastors, mentors and educators of all kinds are remiss if they avoid, denigrate, or minimize the importance of apologetics to biblical living and Christian witness. —Douglass Grouthuis
Any and every other belief you hold, about anything whatsoever, if it is to be taken seriously, if it is to be of any value or worth anyone’s consideration, it must have in its favor more than your emotions, personal history or external circumstantial factors. It must have reasons.
—Clint Roberts (from the article, Believing for No Reason)
I was a non-Christian until the age of thirty-five. I was often frustrated by the few Christians I knew on the police department because they weren't able to respond evidentially to my skeptical (and often sarcastic) objections. I thought, "How can these folks who seem to have such high regard for evidence in their professional life, believe something about God for which they have no evidence at all?" I was similar to other atheists I knew at the time. I didn't think there was any good evidence to support the claims of Christianity. The more I learned about the nature of evidence generally, and the more I learned about the evidence for Christianity specifically, the more convinced I became that the claims of the Gospels were true. —J Warner Wallace
I suspect that most of the individuals who have religious faith are content with blind faith. They feel no obligation to understand what they believe. They may even wish not to have their beliefs disturbed by thought. But if God in whom they believe created them with intellectual and rational powers, that imposes upon them the duty to try to understand the creed of their religion. Not to do so is to verge on superstition.
—Mortimer J. Adler
Here is the sum of the matter: We must earnestly endeavor to know the truth of the biblical worldview and to make it known with integrity to as many people as possible with the best arguments available. To know God in Christ means that we desire to make Christian truth available to others in the most compelling form possible. To be created in God’s rational, moral and relational image means that our entire being should be aimed at the glorification of God in Christian witness. A significant part of that witness is Christian apologetics. —Douglas Groothuis
To be effective in equipping young people and professionals to face the challenges of a highly educated secular society, the church needs to redefine the mission of pastors and youth leaders to include training in apologetics and worldview.…Pastors must once again provide intellectual leadership for their congregations, teaching apologetics from the pulpit. Every time a minister introduces a biblical teaching, he should also instruct the congregation in ways to defend it against the major objections they are likely to encounter. A religion that avoids the intellectual task and retreats to the therapeutic realm of personal relationships and feelings will not survive in today’s spiritual battlefield. —Nancy Pearcey
Jesus argued with the Pharisees all the time. Even His enemies reported that "no man speaks as this man speaks." If Jesus merely relied on the power of God and the particulars of His speech were inconsequential, if His mind and intellect and cleverness didn't enter into it, then why don't we behold unimpressive, muddled, uncompelling words in His discourses? No, it was quite the opposite. When we look further in the New Testament we see heated and intense disputation-- polemic, argumentation--at the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15. We see Paul going after Peter hammer and tongs in Galatians 2:11. You can immediately see the problem with any interpretation of a verse to the effect that one must not use reason and rationality in the proclamation of the Gospel. Such a person runs smack into an army of counterexamples from the Scripture itself. —Greg Koukl
The deficiencies of some (and, in the final analysis, all) apologists should not, however, cause us to object to apologetics in principle any more than the deficiencies of some evangelists should cause us to reject evangelism. It may, rather, challenge us to rise to the task of engaging in Spirit-filled apologetics. We do this, as Paul did, as part of our spiritual warfare, recognising that arguments set against the knowledge of God reflect spiritual strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). Apologetics is not inherently unbiblical and ungodly. We need more godly believers who will engage thoughtfully in a biblically informed way with other worldviews, who will graciously make the positive case for faith and who will be ready to share the gospel with people who need to know Christ. — Paul Coulter (from, 7 Reasons Why Apologetics Might Be Good)
The need for apologetics today is crucial. Believers must realize that we are living in a post-Christian era with a host of worldviews vying continuously for people's commitments and, indeed, for their very lives. We must face these challenges head-on. Apologetics does not supplant faith, it supplements it. Nor does it replace the Spirit's working. Rather, the Holy Spirit uses apologetic arguments as vehicles for clarifying the truth of God's Word. The same verses commanding us to preach the gospel also instructs us to constantly be prepared to correct, rebuke, and encourage with great patience and careful instruction (2 Tim. 4:2). - Hank Hanegraaff (from, Witnessing by Defending the Faith?)
I often encounter devoted, committed Christians who are hesitant to embrace an evidential faith. In many Christian circles, faith that requires evidential support is seen as weak and inferior. For many, blind faith (a faith that simply trusts without question) is the truest, most sincere, and most valuable form of faith that we can offer God. Yet Jesus seemed to have a high regard for evidence. In John 14:11, He told those watching Him to examine 'the evidence of miracles' (NIV) if they did not believe what He said about His identity. Even after the resurrection, Jesus stayed with His disciples for an additional forty days and provided them with 'many convincing proofs' that He was resurrected and was who He claimed to be (Acts 1:2-3 NIV). Jesus understood the role and value of evidence and the importance of developing an evidential faith. It’s time for all of us, as Christians, to develop a similarly reasonable faith. – J Warner Wallace (from Cold-Case Christianity)
If our culture is to be transformed, it will happen from the bottom up - from ordinary believers practicing apologetics over the backyard fence or around the barbecue grill. - Chuck Colson
It is not only reasonable to question when it comes to matters of faith, but also responsible. If we are not open to investigating dogmatic sacred or secular beliefs, whether they be our own or those of others, and placing them under scrutiny, then we are destined to be tossed about on the waves of popular opinion and become potential victims of those wolves in sheep’s clothing who prey on the ignorance of others.—G.S. West (from Christianity Without the Shell)
In closing: The purpose of much of the content of The Poached Egg is to give Christians reasons to believe so that they may be more confident in their own faith and also that they might be more confident in sharing that faith. I have received countless messages and e-mails which confirm that we are accomplishing this mission—but another purpose of TPE, to which much content is also devoted, is to bang the drum for the awareness of the need for apologetics ministries in our churches, schools and universities, and in our own homes and communities. Just three short years ago we only had a only a few dozen visitors a day. Due to a lot of hard work, prayer, and God’s blessings, the daily number of page visits is now at an average of about 3,000 per day (we fast approaching 2,000,000 lifetime page views). This is a good number, but we could greatly increase that number with the proper resources. Here at The Poached Egg, there is so much that is not getting done that I could write another entire blog post on it. I am the only full time employee and I work a part time job on top of that. I could honestly put half a dozen people to work full time, but we’re setting a short term goal of putting two people to work full time with full time salaries. With our current monthly donors (for whom we are very thankful) and commissions from our Amazon sales, we’re currently bringing in around $500-$700 a month. We are encouraged by this as we have only been fundraising as a nonprofit for a short time, but even so, we are still in urgent need of people like you to give financially to this ministry to keep it going and growing, and I ask that you would prayerfully consider becoming a monthly financial partner. We’ve made it easy to give directly online at our donation page which can be found here. Thank you so much for your consideration!
—Greg West (Ratio Christ Internet Resources Director /founder and editor of The Poached Egg)