The Need for Apologetics in the Local Church
By Perseus Poku and Rodney Scott
Apologetics is biblical. That’s why it should play a foundational role in the ministry of the local church. However, here are five additional reasons apologetics should be a staple in the life of the church.
First, it helps believers master the fundamentals of Christian doctrine so that they can effectively evangelize the lost (Titus 2:7-8). Second, it provides answers to objections leveled against truth (1 Pet. 3:15). Third, it inspires believers as well as nonbelievers to inquire more about the Christian faith (Acts 17:32-34; 26:28). Fourth, it teaches Christians to think critically through the philosophies of opposing worldviews (1 Tim. 1:3, 6-7). Finally, it can help the Christian who is experiencing a crisis of faith.1
In short, apologetics is an essential component to help us grow in our faith and is therefore vital to the church in the twenty-first century. It is not vital to the church’s existence per se, but rather her quality of existence, that is, her effectiveness in engaging the culture for Christ (Matt. 5:13). Consider the words of Nancy Pearcey and Charles Thaxton as they describe the infiltration of the church into the world: “We learn that until comparatively recent times, Christians have actively worked out the implications of their faith in all areas of life and scholarship-from philosophy to mathematics to physics to biology. Christian faith has not been a purely private matter.
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Nor has it been shut off in a separate part of life, as though it were relevant to worship but not to work.”2 It is time we take our rightful stand in the world. The local church has been given an identity. She is the Lord’s mouthpiece and the world’s conscience. She is salt and God can use apologetics to shake her and the world up. Every church dedicated to the Lord’s mandate (Matt. 28:19-20) should be interested in evangelism. If evangelism deals with the spreading of the good news, then those who share it must be ready to articulate and defend the faith (1 Pet. 3:15).
Birth of an Apologetics Ministry. The ability to give a defense for the apostolic doctrine is at the core of the Christian faith (Acts 2:42). Any believer who constantly shares the good news will eventually meet someone who has a question about the Christian faith. This was my (Perseus’s) plight when we began witnessing in 1991. I just accepted Christ a year before and I had a zeal for witnessing. This burning desire to share Christ was also fueled by my close friends. They also loved the Lord and were willing to spread the gospel each Saturday. We met at the church at 11:00 a.m. for prayer and consecration. We would then walk the streets around the church sharing the gospel door to door. It was through this method of evangelism that our apologetics ministry was born…
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