3 Reasons Why We Do Apologetics

by Joseph Torres

If we love Jesus and take what he said seriously we’ll listen to his spokesmen, the apostles. And the passion of the apostles was twofold. First, they wanted Christians to know the riches of God’s grace.  Grasping the gospel was of “first importance” (1 Cor. 15). Second, they wanted Christians fueled by the grace of the gospel to go out and tell people about it.  King Jesus, welding his unique authority as the risen and rightful ruler of creation, commanded his people to spread out and fill the earth with disciples (Matt. 28:18-20). Jude 3 urges us to contend for the once-all-all delivered faith. Paul modeled for us what it looks like to tear down strongholds and every lofty opinion raised up in opposition to God (2 Cor. 10:4-5). And lastly, Peter provided God’s kingdom people with the directive to always be ready to give an account for the hope they have within (1 Pet. 3:15).

Taking these words seriously, both in theory and practice, gets to the heart of Christian apologetics. But is there any motive greater than mere duty in defending the faith against all would-be contenders? Let me suggest three benefits to studying and practicing apologetics.

First, apologetics encourages the believer to develop a distinctively Christian theory of knowledge. Apologetics deals with defending and commending the Christian faith. As a result, it deals with knowledge claims. We claim to know multiple things, things like God exists, that he is a trinity, that humans are his fallen image-bearers, that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God, and that this Jesus rose from the dead, etc. We don’t have faith in faith. Apologists are commending a concrete faith arising from a concrete source (the Bible).

When we’re talking about knowledge claims (religious or otherwise) we’re dealing with issues in the field of epistemology. Epistemology is the subdivision in philosophy that explores knowledge and the questions that come along with exploring what that means. These are some epistemological questions: How do we know things? How we determine true knowledge from opinion? How do we know truth? In the history of philosophy many schools of thought have put forward their epistemologies, but the Christian apologists shouldn’t be tossed back and forth with each passing philosophical fad.  We can only embrace an approach to knowledge that conforms to the Bible.

Apologetics should ask the standard epistemological questions (how do I know? etc.) and look for their answers with an open Bible. By doing this we demonstrate a submission to God’s word as our ultimate standard not only for so-called “religious” knowledge, but for all knowledge. Likewise, in doing this we “love the Lord our God with all… our minds” (Lk. 10:27). Scripture is filled with passages that address our thought-life…

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3 Reasons Why We Do Apologetics — Jude 3 Project