Being an Apologist
by Ed Jarrett
Apologetics is an often misunderstood Christian discipline. The first time I head the word I thought it was related to being apologetic; apologizing for being a Christian. And I was not interested in that. But I came to learn that it means something quite distinct from that.
Apologetics comes from a Greek word that means ‘speaking in defense’, and is the discipline of defending a position through the systematic use of information. This term is most often applied in a religious context, referring to providing a verbal defense for ones faith.
Some believers would like to delegate this discipline to preachers and scholars, but scripture really assigns this task to all of us.
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, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. – 1 Peter 3:15b-16 NIV
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All of us are instructed to be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks us to give the reason for our hope. This is not an instruction to go and share with people, although you can find that elsewhere. Instead, we are told here to be ready to share why we believe with those we encounter who ask about it. Do you know why you believe? I hope so, although many seem not to really know the reason. And I hope you are willing and able to share that reason with those who ask you about it: that you have taken the time to work through those reasons and are comfortable enough with them to be willing to share them.
And I also hope you are able to share it with them in a way that is understandable to the one inquiring. Imagine someone sees you offering a prayer over a meal, and asks you about your faith. Can you explain to them what you believe, and why you believe it? And do it in a way that they would be able to understand, even if they do not agree with you…
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