Apologetics and Evangelism: The Best of Friends
by Dr. Douglas Groothuis
Followers of Christ, from the beginning of Christianity, spoke up about their convictions about their Lord, Jesus Christ. They could not remain silent. Nor should we. We must explain, proclaim, and defend the gospel of God’s grace shown through Jesus Christ. Christianity, among all religions, values teaching and learning the truth about God and his creatures. God has spoken—in creation, in conscience, in Scripture, and through the Incarnation: the Word became flesh—Jesus Christ (John 1:14). Jesus gave us this mandate, often known as the Great Commission:
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given tome. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age”.
Matthew 28:18-20; see also Luke 24:46-49
The church is under the authority of Jesus to baptize and teach the nations the truth of Christianity as long as history goes on. To begin to understand what this involves, we can simply study the Book of Acts, which is the history of the early church. We will find that Spirit-led followers of Jesus engaged in both evangelism and apologetics to fulfill the mandate given by Christ himself. But first, let’s define some terms…