What is apologetics, and why should I care?
by Kim Shay
Why do we believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven? How do I answer the question of a Muslim, who believes in Jesus as prophet, but not the Son of God? What do I say when I witness to someone and she responds immediately with “I don’t believe in God”? How do we answer these questions?
Apologetics is the field of study which helps us with such questions. An apologetic is a reasoned defense for a belief. Christian apologetics is the defense as to why we as Christians believe what we do.
Why should this matter to me as a woman? Isn’t that something just for pastors and theologians? No, it isn’t. At least, it shouldn’t be. As Christians, we are all called to be able to give an answer for the hope that lies in us (I Peter 3:13-15). It isn’t enough to say “I believe this because I had a conversion experience.” We must be able to articulate our reasons for why we believe. Recently, I read a book which addresses this issue as it relates specifically to women. Defending the Faith is written by Mary Jo Sharp, who is Assistant Professor of Apologetics at Houston Baptist University.
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We all have moments of doubt. Doubt is not wrong; but we must not stay there. A woman who can address her doubts will have a very strong foundation. Sharp encourages women to know why they believe, how they have arrived at that belief, and from where their source of knowledge comes. The first part of the book is an explanation of why she believes apologetics are necessary, and the second half provides some practical things we can do, including an excellent section about how to ask questions of people about their beliefs, and to listen as well.
The most compelling part of this book is Sharp’s reminder that our beliefs are an issue of heart and mind, so a life of the mind is essential.
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