Do we need to teach apologetics in the church?
by Brad Cooper
“Do we need to teach apologetics in the church?” Asking this question is like asking:
*Do we need to obey the commands of Scripture?
*Are we obligated to follow the example of Christ?
*Should we follow the example of the apostles and other New Testament leaders?
*Do we need the Bible?
If we are Christians, the obvious answer to all of these is an emphatic “YES!” Let me show you the connection.
1) “Do we need to obey the commands of Scripture?” In 1 Peter 3:15, we are given the command to “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,….” The Greek word that is used in this verse (apologia) is the word for preparing a legal defense for a court of law (1). This is what we are commanded to do in defending the Gospel–prepare a reasonable defense of what we believe. Therefore, part of the job of the church is to equip people to do just that.
2) “Are we obligated to follow the example of Christ?” Jesus constantly used apologetics in declaring himself to be the Messiah and in defending his message. Let me give you a couple of clear examples:
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“Jesus answered: ‘Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father”? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.'” (emphasis mine; John 14:9-11; also 10:28, 35)
“When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples to ask him, ‘Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?’ Jesus replied, ‘Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.'” (emphasis mine; Matthew 11:2-5)
We see here that Jesus provided tangible evidence of his Messiahship even to those who knew him best
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