Increasingly, the word ‘apologetics’ is used in Christianity today, but what actually is it? The Oxford English Dictionary defines apologetics as ‘reasoned arguments or writings in justification of something, typically a theory or religious doctrine.’ A simpler and more common definition is that apologetics is a defence of the Christian faith.
I find that evangelism and apologetics go hand in hand, and being able to answer difficult questions can allow us as Christians to more effectively preach the gospel.
Apologetics is important to Christians today for a number of reasons:
First, in 1 Peter 3:15 (NIV) it says ‘but in 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’ This verse directly instructs us to be prepared to give an answer.
Secondly, I have found that at one point or another I have personally struggled with many of the questions that are raised and answered by apologetics. So studying apologetics and attempting to answer many of these questions has helped to strengthen my Christian faith.
Thirdly, Christianity has faced, and always will face, assaults from atheists and skeptics. I find that evangelism and apologetics go hand in hand, and being able to answer difficult questions can allow us as Christians to more effectively preach the gospel. Conversations on apologetics subjects may even provide opportunity to share the gospel. An example of this in Scripture would be when Paul uses an altar to the ‘unknown God’ to engage the people of Athens in order to preach to them (Acts 17:16–34 NIV).
If I have persuaded you of the importance of studying apologetics you might be wondering where to begin. The internet is a really good starting point and is full of resources on apologetics. However, as always, remember to check what you find, as there is a lot of incorrect teaching online. It is also important to study your bible, as it says in 2 Timothy 3:16–17, ‘All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the messenger of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.’
Jack Strachan, The Church of God in Wembley
Here are a few websites to check out if you’re interested in reading more about apologetics:
www.allsouls.org (‘Uncover – Any Answers to Big Questions?’ series)