What Do I Have to Do Before I Can Call Myself a Christian “Apologist”?
by J Warner Wallace
I belong to several Christian Apologetics Facebook clubs, and on one of these pages a discussion recently started related to “minimum requirements”. A member of the club asked: “What is the credential necessary for calling oneself a Christian Apologist? Is there a specific certification or educational requirement, or just a personal declaration that you are a Christian Apologist?” This question reminded me of a recent email I received from a podcast listener who asked a related question: “How can I become a full-time Christian Apologist?” Many of us have an interest in “apologetics” (a discipline I call “Christian Case Making”) but hesitate to formally identify ourselves as “apologists”. When I answer questions such as these, I am quick to give the same response: If you’re a Christian, you’re already an apologist (a “Case Maker”) and you ought to start identifying yourself in this way immediately:
Accept Your Identification
Peter tells us in 1 Peter 3:15 that all of us have a duty to be ever-ready to make the case for our hope in Jesus. This isn’t an option reserved for a few well-trained professionals; all of us, regardless of position or vocation, are tasked with this honor. As I wrote in Cold Case Christianity, when we, as Christians, live without embracing this aspect of our identity, we are living an abbreviated Christian life. The sooner you accept this aspect of your Christian character and identify yourself as an apologist, the more likely you are going to take it seriously. Start calling yourself a Christian Case Maker (“apologist”) today.
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Accept Your Obligation
Although every Christian is called to be a Case Maker, some are definitely better than others. Once you begin to identify yourself in this way, you’ll sense your own inadequacies as you engage others. As a result, you’ll likely begin to train yourself (formally or informally) to meet the challenge. You may find yourself in a certification or advanced education program, but you may not. Some of the best and most effective apologists are not formally trained in apologetics. The two best-selling apologetics authors in America, Josh McDowell and Lee Strobel, have no formal training in the area of apologetics or philosophy. It’s clear, however, that both of these men take their obligation as Christian Case Makers seriously and have studied their worldview and practiced their craft…
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