Why Christian Apologetics Is Not A Discipline
by J. Brian Huffling
Years ago at an apologetics conference I heard Winfried Corduan say, “Apologetics is not a discipline, it’s a practice.” This was something I had been saying for a while, so it was refreshing to hear him say it. It was similar to what Gary Habermas had told me a few years before. I asked him if he could recommend a school or program for getting a Ph.D. to do apologetics. He said to get a Ph.D. in a discipline, like history, and then do apologetics from that field. This made sense. However, it seems that many apologists today want to just “do apologetics” without being a specialist in a field. Being an expert just in apologetics is to not be an expert at anything.
With the rise of many apologetic programs in schools (a good thing) it has become popular to think of apologetics as its own discipline. It is not. There is no such thing as “just apologetics.” When someone defends the faith, he is doing it from a certain vantage point, such as history, science, or philosophy. So one is always doing a type of apologetics: historical apologetics, scientific apologetics, or philosophical apologetics. If one wants to be a good apologist, then he needs to become an expert in a particular field. This is not to say that a person cannot be a general apologist on some level; but he will not be an expert. Plenty of people have either received a degree in apologetics or have been self-educated enough to be able to be a general apologist. But as the saying goes, “A jack of all trades is a master of none.” The point is, apologetics is simply not a discipline in itself. It always uses an actual discipline from which to apply to apologetics…