By Don Gentry
Many people say they are a Christian, but they can’t really explain it. Simply put, their faith is shallow and ignorant. Maybe yours is too. If I said you need to have a better understanding of apologetics in order not to have shallow faith experience what would your response be? Would you get mad and defensive or would you agree?
Many people resist the study of apologetics as if it somehow doesn’t apply to them. Many also have a very poor understanding of what apologetics even is.
Every follower of Christ is and has been affected by apologetics whether they want to be or not. And I strongly encourage every follower of Christ to have a good understanding of what apologetics is and how it affects their daily faith. The question is, “do you care?”
Simply put, apologetics comes from the Greek word “Apologia” and it means to give a defense. It was a common Greek word used for a formal speech, explanation, or rebuttal for charges being brought in a trial. It is not a Christian word; it is a secular word used in law.
Our faith is put on trial by society every day. It is put on trial by family and friends, co-workers and peers. We are expected as Christians to be able to articulate a defense for our beliefs. Many Christians believe the lie that their actions are enough. We need to be able to articulate why we act how we do with our words. That is apologetics.
Let me give you three extremely clear examples of apologetics in the scriptures.
1 Peter 3:15 (NIV2011)
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 uses the phrase “be prepared to give answer”. This is the word apologia. It is a charge to us as followers of Christ that we need to be able to give a defense of our beliefs with words.
Paul also gives us examples of how he literally had to use the art of apologia in a judicial setting.
Read Philippians 1:7 and read all of Acts chapters 24, 25, and 26. He was literally making a defense for his life in the court of man. Every time you see Paul saying, “let me give an answer, or a defense.” It is this idea of apologetics.
Many people’s faith is shallow and ignorant because if most people had to stand before a court of law and defend their beliefs they would give a very weak defense because they have not properly prepared themselves to speak. Thankfully we don’t have to defend ourselves to live freely in our land like Paul. Because we have not had much persecution we don’t even train ourselves to explain to our friends what we really believe about Jesus and why HE is the only ABSOLUTE hope! That is why apologetics should matter to all of us.