Defending our Faith from Within
by Jeffrey Mindler
Apologetics in the Church?
It is important to do apologetics within the Church.
This statement may sound strange at first, particularly to the reader who says, “I thought apologetics was done to unbelievers or those of different religions?” While that statement is true, we are certainly called to do apologetics to those who do not believe in Christ, there is another setting in which apologetics is to take place: the church. That’s right; apologetics is also to be done in the body of Christ. What do I mean by this? Why would we do apologetics in the Church and why is this practice important for every Christian to implement?
Contend for the Faith
To help us understand this topic, perhaps it is best to give a biblical example. Consider Jude 1:3 – “Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” This is quite the apologetical passage. Jude is directly commanding the Church to do apologetics, but to whom are we to contend for the faith in this passage? The very next
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verse Jude addresses the reason why we are to contend for the faith: “For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”
It is interesting to note, then, that the purpose and intent of this book is an encouragement to defend the faith. Scott Oliphant, author and professor of apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary, makes an astute observation on this point when he writes, “Jude writes to a church, or group of churches, to help them defend themselves against a specific attack on the gospel, an attack that is taking place within the church itself.” While these people are not exactly identified, Jude does give us many useful descriptions of these people…