The Threefold Purpose of Apologetics
by Jacob Allee
Apologetics, simply defined, is the rational defense of the Christian faith. And while there is nothing wrong or untrue about such a definition it is somewhat misleading. What I mean by that is that apologetics really serves a purpose more than just defending the faith. Apologetics serves in at least the following three ways.
1. Apologetics Defends the Faith:
This is, as we have already said, the classical understanding of apologetics and reasonably so. The word apologetics comes from the Greek word “apologia” which means defense. The word is used in 1 Peter 3:15 which reads “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”
This verse is often the motto of apologists, and I have often quoted it myself in reference to the ministry of apologetics. Every Christian, to some degree, is called to be an apologist. Every Christian should know God’s word well enough to be able to answer the questions and objections our friends, families, co-workers, etc., have about our faith (at least the most common ones).
So one aspect of apologetics is the art of turning away attacks against the Christian faith. For instance if the claim is made that there is no God, or no reason to believe in God, the apologist provides evidence for the existence of God. If the claim is made that Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, the apologist shows that the most reasonable explanation of the historical facts are that Jesus did indeed rise from the dead.
So in this manner apologetics defends the faith by showing that it is reasonable to be a Christian and that our faith is grounded in reality. Apologetics defuses the bombs thrown at Christianity…
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