Apologetics in the Real World
by Stephen Bedard
I have many roles in my life of ministry. I am a guest preacher, a Bible college teacher, an army chaplain and a writer. One of the roles that I really enjoy is that of an apologist.
An apologist? What in the world is that? Does that mean that I spend all my time apologizing for the things I do wrong. I make enough mistakes to do that but that is not what apologetics is. Let me explain with an example from my family. Every once in a while my son will do something to one of our daughters. We will tell him to apologize to his sister. He responds by trying to explain why he slapped them or broke their toy or whatever he did. We will insist that we want an apology and not a reason for his behaviour. What I don’t tell him is that he is actually correct in his understanding of an apology. The literal meaning of the word apology is not a demonstration of sorrow but an offering of a reason. However, we still expect our son to be sorry.
What does this have to do with the Bible? In this passage, we see Peter telling people “to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason.” Not to bore you with Greek, but the word reason is logia and the word defense is apologia. This is where we get the word apologetics from. It is a defense of the faith, a giving of reasons for why we believe what we do.
I know that as soon as I mention apologetics, there are two reactions. One is by people who are already into apologetics. They are excited about this and hope that apologetics will be a part of everything. The other group will have a negative reaction to apologetics. Some may have had bad experiences with overly zealous apologists who just love to argue. Or they may feel that Christianity is more of a relationship and therefore does not need the intellectual component. You may be in one of these groups or you may be completely indifferent. I hope to show you that apologetics is much more than internet debates with atheists and that it actually has a value in real life. In essence, I am going to present an apologetic for apologetics and hopefully get us all on the same page…
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