Why Bother With Apologetics?

by Klinton Silvey

If you believe in Jesus, then apologetics is for you; it is not just for “intellectuals.” The clearest definition I’ve heard is that apologetics is the communication and defense of the Christian gospel. I have heard some speakers say that “God does not need His people to defend Him.” Of course that is true in a literal sense, as if God is in danger. But God certainly uses people to speak for Him. God certainly does not accept blasphemy. And God does engage people intellectually. “Come now, let us reason together says the Lord…” (Isa. 1:18 ESV) So, if you’re thinking, “our faith doesn’t need defending,” I would challenge that assumption.

Consider I Peter 3:15: “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, 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…”

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The word translated to “defense” in this word is the Greek word apologia, from which the word “apologetics” comes. The word is used seven other times in the New Testament (Acts 22:1; 25:16; I Cor. 9:3; II Cor. 10:5-6; Phil. 1:7; II Tim. 4:16). Apologia was a word used to describe the defense that a lawyer would make for a client in a court of law. It does not imply a clever “one-liner” response.

I can’t remember who it was, but I once heard someone compare the need for teaching apologetics to teaching a missionary the language of the nation he is evangelizing. That’s a great illustration because that is what apologetics is all about – speaking the language of our culture. And the language of our culture is skepticism.

Christianity Today recently ran an article titled “Watch Out, Pastors, Millennials are Fact-Checking Your Sermons,” which revealed a Barna Group survey showing that about 40% of church-going Millennials will research and fact-check truth claims made by their pastor. Millennials are those born between the 1980’s and 2000s. They are the now teenagers through age 33…

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