Were all the New Testament Authors Apologists?
by Teri Dugan
The New Testament writers anticipate and answer objections and seek to demonstrate the credibility of the claims and credentials of Christ, focusing especially on the resurrection of Jesus as the historical foundation upon which Christianity is built. Many New Testament writings are occupied with polemics against false teachings, in which the apologetic concern is to defend the gospel against perversion from within the church. – Dr. Robert M. Bowman, Jr., Theologian and Apologist
Over the last two posts we focused on the fact that both the Apostle John and Paul could be considered great Apologists. They wrote the majority of the New Testament and you can find them presenting and defending the Gospel vigorously in all of their writings. But what about the rest of the New Testament authors, did they use apologetics as well?
To be clear for those who are new to the idea of using apologetics let me explain: Apologetics, apologia in the Greek, means to give a defense like one would do in a court of law. Christians have used apologetics since the time of Jesus and if you look closely even Jesus himself used apologetics (example: Luke 5:17-26). Christian Apologetics helps point people to truth (reality) about God, Scripture—the connection of the Old Testament (covenant) to the New Testament (covenant)—and to ultimate truth that came in the person and teachings of Jesus.
There is another term to be familiar with called polemics, derived from the Greek term polemikos. This is a term closely associated with apologetics, but a polemic is more aggressive and offensive instead of defensive. Defined: “It is intended to affirm a specific understanding under attack from a contrary position. Polemics are often used in issues related to religion, philosophy, politics or science.” The Apostles and disciples of Jesus often used a form of polemics when the attack was coming from within the group or the Church itself.
John’s ability to define and defend the Deity of Jesus and Paul’s skill at evaluating people and their world-view, and then explaining and defending the Gospel, were both extraordinary examples of using both apologetics and polemics. What we find in the other writers of the New Testament is just as remarkable….
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