Why Do Christian’s Need Apologetics?
by Rob Lundberg
“What are you apologizing for?” “What is apologetics?” These are some of the popular questions I get from believers who have been in church most of their life. Sometimes when I ask a young person, “why are you a Christian?” I get answers like,
“My parents raised me that way.”
“Because I have prayed a prayer for salvation.”
Other answers I get sound like personal testimonies. But personal testimonies, being raised in a Christian home, or praying a prayer for salvation do not answer the question, why are you a Christian. Please understand, I am not discounting any of these things. Being raised in a Christian home is not a blessing that I had the privilege of experiencing. Praying a prayer does not save a person, it is only a response to the saving work of God in the life of the sinner. And giving you personal testimony is a sharing of what God has done in one’s life. So what is apologetics? Why do we, and especially our young people need apologetics?
What is apologetics?
I have given an answer to this question in other writings in the past, so let me just give a quick definition. Apologetics is simply, giving a reasonable defense and communication of the gospel of Christ and the Christian worldview in a loving, and winsome manner. It gives an offense for communicating the truth of the Christian faith. It gives a defense when the Christian faith is confronted by an antagonistic objection or worldview. And it demonstrates a love for people as we give the answer to the question, why are we a Christian and not a believer in Islam, or the “green cheese goddess,” or something else.
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So why do Christians, and in particular young Christians need apologetics?
As a Chapter Director for a local Ratio Christi group, I find that Christian college students have difficulty with this question of why they are a Christian. It is any wonder that the statistics are what they are?
If we were to look at the Barna Group and Lifeway Research over the past few years, we have seen startling statistics. Seventy five percent (3 out of 4) church attending Protestant youths will drop out of church in the years following high school. One of the major factors cited for this is an intellectual skepticism that can develop, particularly in the often religiously hostile university setting. Teens may come to realize that they have not carefully thought through what they say they believe. They are unable to explain, for example, why the New Testament is believable, why it is not intolerant to assert that Christianity is distinctively true, or even who we can be certain that God exists. Most young Christians today are not equipped intellectually to stand firm in their faith, and they need to be equipped.
The truth is that every believer already, whether they realize it or not, does apologetics. The question now becomes, do they want to continue to do it poorly or do they want to do it well?