Four Key Principles for Apologetics

by Andy Bannister

At its heart, apologetics is beautifully simple and intricately connected to the heart of the gospel. As I’ve wrestled with people’s questions, I’ve learned there are a number of basic principles that apply time and again, no matter who I’m talking with.

1. Know what you believe

This is a challenge for those of us raised in the Church, or who have been Christians for decades. Too often we give how-shaped answers to why-shaped questions. If somebody asks you why you are a Christian, giving a narrative of how you became one isn’t always helpful. Many of our friends want to know why you’re a Christian now, today, with all of the challenges to your faith that daily attack you. What’s your elevator speech for Christianity?

2. Rediscover the power of questions

We’ve tried to reduce evangelism to formulas or methodologies. But the most powerful form of sharing the gospel is talking to people. Learn to ask your friends what they believe (or don’t believe). If a colleague at work is a Muslim, try saying, “I’ve never really talked to a Muslim before. What do you believe?” Or if a friend self-describes as an atheist, respond, “ ‘Atheist’ tells me what you don’t believe. But what do you believe?”

3. Engage people’s honest questions

Don’t ignore objections. A few months ago I met Alex, a young university student, who introduced himself to me as an agnostic. “I used to be a Christian,” he explained, “but I was raised in a fundamentalist family.” Questions about religion were forbidden in his family and church. Alex began to read atheist books and eventually abandoned his faith…

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Four Key Principles for Apologetics | Andy Bannister