Apologetics; Is It Necessary?
by Billy Dyer
What is the deal with this whole ‘Apologetic’ movement and is it really necessary? Shouldn’t we just focus on preaching the Gospel? The Gospel, not a philosophical argument, is the power to salvation. This is a sample from the questions and statements that can be heard in churches across our brotherhood. In fact if you were to ask the regular church goer to define the term Apologetic I wonder if they even could?! So let us define the term before we attempt to broach the question of its necessity.
Even though it may sound like our English word ‘apology’ it is far from it. The word comes from the Greek ἀπολογία (apologia) which means a ‘defense’ or a ‘reasoned argument’. Therefore, apologetics is the branch of Christian teaching which attempts to offer a defense for the Christian worldview. This may include topics such as ‘The Reliability of the Bible’, ‘A defense of the Resurrection’, ‘An Argument for Creation Ex Nihilo’, etc… without necessarily using the Bible. But at this point some may say “Well that isn’t necessary because people just need to “have faith”. I have two points of contention with this statement:
(1) The Bible never tells us to separate our mind from our faith. In fact it instructs us to have rational faith. Jesus told us the greatest commandment was to love God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind. (Mk 12:30). Peter commands us to always be ready to give a defense for the hope that is in us (1st Peter 3:15). The word ‘defense’ is the Greek word apologia where our term apologetics comes from.
(2) It defines ‘faith’ differently than what we find in the Bible. Faith isn’t some leap in the dark or a belief where there is no evidence. In fact that is the antithesis of the Biblical definition. The NT defines faith as trusting in what you cannot see based on what you do observe (Heb 11:1). We ask jurors to make a judgment in the courtroom on something they did not see (the crime) based on the evidence that is presented during the court proceedings. God puts us in the same seat. In fact one of the greatest pieces of evidence in the courtroom is multiple eyewitness testimonies. The content of our faith is the person and work of Jesus Christ but faith is simply accepting the eyewitness testimony of the Apostles (Rom 10:17).
Therefore, faith and reason are not mutually exclusive…
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