Why Do We Need Apologetics?
By Lindsey Medenwaldt
I didn’t used to think apologetics was for me. My husband is an apologist, but I thought that was just a particular route Christians could choose to take to evangelize. After listening to him talk for years about how I should learn more about apologetics, though, I finally took his advice. I began to realize that my faith needed a firmer grounding than only my emotions, which is what I had relied upon for most of my life. This realization led me to pursue a master’s degree in apologetics and ethics at Denver Seminary.
When I started at Seminary, I thought for sure I was entering an arena where everyone would want to learn apologetics and would support the pursuit of apologetics. I thought Seminary would be full of students who had the same desire as I did, to be able to give evidence for what I believed. Unfortunately, I was mistaken.
It has been surprising to me how many other Seminary students have told me that they are just not interested in apologetics or how it is not their calling. It seems they have been misled, though, because it is their calling.
In fact, it is every Christian’s calling to do apologetics. 1 Peter 3:15 says, “But in your hearts, revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” Peter was not writing only to pastors, but to all members of the church. The word “answer” is translated apologia in Greek. Apologia does not mean to give an apology; instead, it means to be able to offer a reasoned defense (like an attorney in a courtroom). In other words, we need to be able to give a defense for the hope within us if someone asks us a question about our beliefs. If we cannot provide the answer, we are not owning up to the responsibility we have as Christians. Paul and Jesus regularly used apologetics in their ministries, and what better examples to follow?
My first real apologetics conversation came during my first semester at Seminary. I was only a few lessons into the semester, and I was given an assignment to talk to someone who was not a Christian. I was stunned at how unprepared I was to answer even some of the most basic questions about my faith. I’ve been a Christian for more than 30 years, and I was brought to tears (and to my knees) when I realized all of the missed opportunities I’ve had in my life because I was not properly equipped with apologetics…