Jesus used Apologetics. So should we.
by Donnie Griffin
Every once in a while you run upon someone who has an aversion to Apologetics, usually out of misunderstanding. “I will not ‘apologize’ for Jesus”, they might say.It is at those times that we often pull out our limited Greek knowledge and explain to them the meaning of 1 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,” (1 Peter 3:15, ESV)
The word defense is the Greek word ἀπολογία, or in English apologia, which means to make a defense. Lots of people get the word apologetic confused with the modern word apologize, or to say “sorry”. Even after this mini Greek lesson though, some remain unconvinced.
Here’s another approach though. Many of the same naysayers to Apologetics would affirm WWJD. So let’s look at Jesus’ approach to apologetics.
“Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken— do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”” (John 10:25–38, ESV)
It’s interesting that Jesus used Apologetics to convince unbelievers of who he was. When asked the question (v. 24), are you the Christ, Jesus first of all clarifies the position of the Jews. “You do not believe”. It is not the case that there has been no evidence submitted already though. Jesus reminds them that he has already told them. Its interesting here to note that Jesus’ word is in fact the Word of God.
There are those opposed to Apologetics proper that would say that God’s Word is quite enough when it comes to evangelism. Our only responsibility, they would argue, is to only give the Word. Any efforts beyond that they would deem unfaithful at least and maybe even sinful.
The problem with that view is of course the fact that Jesus did not take that approach…
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