Lunch with CS Lewis: Giving Your Apology: Giving Your Apology
by Casey Taylor
In his delightful little book, If I Had Lunch with C.S. Lewis, Alister McGrath addresses Lewis’ role as an apologist for Christian faith. “Apologist” and “apologetics” derive from the Greek word apologia, which means “defense” or something like reasonable case.
The classic biblical text for apologists is 1 Peter 3:15, which says, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect (NIV).”
McGrath fleshes out apologetics in three ways. First, apologetics “tries to work out what stops people from believing (110).” Christian apologists offer a defense in an attempt to remove obstacles to Christian faith. If, for example, a friend is convinced that the existence of a good, all-powerful God is incompatible with the existence of suffering, an apologist would work to show that such a belief is not necessary. Second century Christian thinker Justin Martyr offered a defense of Christian faith in several of his works, including his dialogue with a Jewish thinker recorded in Dialogue with Trypho. A contemporary example of this strategy is the first half of Tim Keller’s The Reason for God.
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What obstacles to Christian faith do you encounter?
Second, Christian apologists work to commend Christian faith. Christians cannot merely address objections to Christian faith but must also build a positive case for faith in Christ. For example, we might explain how the resurrection of Jesus from death best explains how uneducated Jewish peasants (his first disciples) became a world-changing movement…
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