A Brief History of Christian Apologetics
by Roberto Perez
Behold, Greece. The cultural and intellectual capital of the ancient world. The center for art, architecture and commerce. The birthplace of Plato, Homer and Socrates. A place where free thought was encouraged and practiced. And on the north west of the Acropolis in Athens lay a temple built and dedicated to the unknown god. It is here, on the Areopogus, where the Apostle Paul gives his apologia as to the identity of this unknown god. (Acts 17:18-34)
The art of apologetics is necessary for all belief systems ever known and yet to be. It is simply the defense of one’s beliefs. It acts as the central nervous system in which a world view can be tested and viewed as either a credible or a false claim. Christian apologetics is the art of conveying the truths about God in an intelligent and organized manner. The Gospel of Jesus Christ has had many obstacles and criticisms throughout history, yet it has been preserved by the meticulous reasonings of Christian apologists.
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Jesus Christ Himself is credited with being the first Christian apologist. Without evidence, the claims of Jesus Christ would have had no credence. He used Old Testament prophecy, Scripture, parables and miracles to prove His identity and to give foundation to His claims. Because of His apologia, Christians everywhere can easily communicate that Jesus Christ is the One spoken of in Old Testament prophecy.
The New Testament authors are also an example of some of the first Christian apologists. Both Matthew and Hebrews were written to the Jews specifically to prove the deity of Jesus Christ through the use of prophecy and Scripture. While the book of Matthew gives no credit to the authorship, it has been unanimously attributed to the Apostle Matthew. The document was originally written in Hebrew (Aramaic) and as Papias, one of the early church leaders, put it, “Matthew composed the Logia in the Hebrew tongue; and each one interpreted them as he was able.” The purpose of this book was twofold…
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