We are presenting an absolute truth to a relativistic culture, an exclusivist message to a pluralistic culture, and a supernatural view to a naturalistic culture. It is no surprise that Christians are confronted with questions like, How can Jesus be the only way? Has science proven that miracles are impossible? and Who are you to force your morality on me? These questions grow out of the soil of a secular worldview. Apologetics responds to these questions at the worldview level.
As we approach the start of another year, I thought it might valuable to revisit why we do what we do. That is, why do we invest so much time, energy, and resources into an apologetics ministry? Why is apologetics so important?
For those unfamiliar with apologetics, it might be helpful to define whatapologetics is before looking at why it’s important. Simply put, Christian apologetics is giving a reason or defense for the Christian faith.
There are two sub-disciplines of Christian apologetics: positive apologetics and negative apologetics. Positive apologetics involves giving an argument for Christianity. For example, giving arguments for God’s existence or the reliability of the Bible. Negative apologetics involves answering objections against Christianity. For example, answering the problem of evil.
When people ask me why we should engage in Christian apologetics, I have four broad responses—an approach I learned from Dr. Norman Geisler at Southern Evangelical Seminary.
First, the Bible commands it.
Apologetics is not optional. Every follower of Christ is instructed to be an apologist. Let me give you a few verses to back this up. Probably the most often cited passage comes from the apostle Peter. He writes,
[I]n your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect. (1 Peter 3:15)
The apostle Paul says the same thing in a different way. He writes,
Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. (Colossians 4:5–6)
In my favourite passage on the subject, Paul says,
For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:4–5).