Apologetics: Key to Successful Evangelism

by Alex McFarland

A few years ago I visited a high school in my native North Carolina during “See You at the Pole.” Many teens were gathered around the flagpole to pray—still others to protest. Members of the Diversity Club held a banner that read: Intolerance at the Pole. I heard someone ask, “Why do Christians think everybody who doesn’t agree with them is going to hell?” Experiences like that illustrate why Christian students need to become students of apologetics. It takes effort but can only enhance their Christian witness.

“Christian apologetics” is the practice of sharing reasons why we believe what we do. If you’ve witnessed to unbelievers you’ve probably heard various objections to the gospel message. Some people are under the false impression that the Bible contains errors. Others wonder how God (if He exists) could allow natural disasters. Whether a listener has a legitimate question about God or tosses out a thinly veiled excuse for unbelief, we must equip teens to support their faith with evidence and sound reasoning.

Apologetics means “a defense.” Its Greek root, apologia, appears several times in the Bible. For example, 1 Peter 3:15 encourages believers to “be ready always to give an answer to anyone who asks you about the hope you have.” Translated answer and reason, apologia is an ancient legal term meaning—you guessed it—“a defense.” That same word is found in Philippians 1:7 where Paul said he was prepared to defend the gospel. The principle is also echoed in Jude 3 as believers are encouraged to “earnestly contend” or “stand up for” the faith.

Each of us has been given the assignment of not only presenting the gospel but also explaining and defending the truths of our message to the world around us…

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