Apologetics: Never Having to Say I’m Sorry
The Christian Geek
“…but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;” 1 Peter 3:15 (NASB)
One of the greatest ills in Christendom of the recent era has been an abandonment of apologetics. What was once a foundational skill – even if you didn’t call it by that name – seems to be relegated to professional theologians and philosophers. For many of the laity the discipline of apologetics seems to be taken as indicative of having a lack of faith.
Nothing can be further from the truth. In fact, to not engage in apologetics is patently unbiblical. The 1 Peter 3:15 passage above is the most well known, but Paul not only encouraged apologetics, as with the Bereans.
The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. Acts 17:10-11 (NASB)
Paul also led by example; making skilled use of apologetics in both his presentation on Mars Hill (Acts 17:22-34) as well as his defense before Festus (Acts 24-28). Likewise he admonishes Timothy to be one guard against foolish and pointless doctrine. In general, Paul makes it clear that our faith is reasonable and that we should be able to defend it.
Sadly I hear far too often that “The Bible says it. God wrote it. That settles it.” Such an attitude takes our faith from reasoned to blind; something that God never intended. That much is clear from Scripture. Peter certainly practiced what he preached in his early sermons in the Temple as recorded in Acts. He didn’t teach a blind faith. He gave the reasons for his faith. Peter taught, in those early sermons, a faith based in historical events and evidence that those hearing him could easily verify.
This is as true for today as it was 2000 years ago…