10 Things You Should Know about Apologetics
by Mitch Stokes
1. Apologetics is as much for believers as it is for unbelievers.
Let’s roughly define apologetics as the use of arguments to remove doubt or unbelief (I’ll qualify this in the next point). The point here is that unbelief often comes from our own hearts and minds, despite the fact that we’re Christians. For my own part, apologetics has always been something I do as much for me as for others.
2. Apologetics can be used preemptively.
Here’s the qualifier I mentioned above: although we often use apologetic arguments to remove doubts, we can also use them to prevent doubts. Teaching apologetics to young believers can be a preemptive strike on unbelief.
This won’t prevent all doubting, but it can certainly mitigate it. This point is particularly important for parents. Notice that points (1) and (2) imply that apologetics is for absolutely everyone—Christians and non-Christians, doubters and non-doubters (i.e., not-currently-doubters).
3. There is a difference between knowing that Christianity is true and showing that it’s true.
Ultimately, we know that Christianity is true because the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to its truth (which should remind us to steep our apologetics in prayer).
That’s not to say that arguments can’t confirm or further support our Spirit-induced belief—or that arguments are never part of coming to faith—but the arguments we use on ourselves are sometimes different from the arguments we use to try to show someone else that Christianity is true.
4. No one has all the answers.
Be realistic and avoid the temptation to think that in order to address your neighbor’s skepticism you must first have all the answers. No one has all the answers. When you don’t know something, say so and be fine with it. Know your limits.
This isn’t an excuse to be sloppy or to avoid the hard work of study, but rather an encouragement to be humble, and to therefore be relaxed and gentle. Also, be prepared to come to the realization that…
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