What is the appropriate audience for the Apologist?
By Joel Furches
In the Christian Apologist’s favorite passage, the Apostle Peter says: “always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”
In commanding the Christian to give a defense, Peter is implying that the individual Christian should critically examine his or her beliefs to make certain that they are sound. This kind of self-inspection is repeatedly commended throughout the Bible: when the Bereans searched the scripture to confirm what Paul was preaching to them, when John instructs his readers to test the spirits to see if they are from God, and when each of the Apostles preached reasonable, evidential defenses for the Gospel they spread.
This is no less than the skeptical community calls upon a Christian to do. Christians are frequently and openly mocked for “just believing,” and this is not entirely unjustified. If Christianity is, in fact, true, then it should hold up to the light of critical inspection. Looking at and answering Atheist objections to Christianity is healthy since it promotes self-inspection which will ultimately refine a person’s belief and give them reason to be confident in what they believe based on the fact that it holds up to criticism.
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Consequently, the primary audience for Christian Apologetics should be other Christians. The bulk of Christians in the world have not deeply, critically considered their reasons for believing with the result that they tend to hold a number of ungrounded and often damaging beliefs, and they are not able to defend what beliefs they hold.
These kinds of Christians tend to be the first to cave to the pressures of academic criticism and relinquish their beliefs when it appears to them that they have no reasonable defense. With Atheism becoming increasingly evangelical in nature, a vast number of Christians are forced to seek answers, and the seasoned Apologist must be available to give them…
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