An apologetic for Apologetics: to Christians skeptical of their value

I told a former house-mate of mine that I was speaking at an apologetics conference – he said that he was very sorry. But seriously, since this blog is primarily one of apologetics I feel it only right that I should AT LEAST touch upon what apologetics are and why we should even bother, before attempting to DO apologetics. William Lane Craig, author of Reasonable Faith, defines apologetics as “that branch of Christian theology which seeks to provide a rational justification of the truth claims of the Christian faith.” So, for the uninitiated among us, “apologetics” is basically a “Case for Christ”. Apologetics makes us ask the question, “How can I rationally defend my faith?” Though there are many passages we could look at concerning this, I’d like to glance quickly at just a few verses that I believe should encourage every one of us to recognize the importance of a having a good, personal apologetic.

2 Corinthians 10:5 says, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Notice that at first this verse seems to encourage argument, seemingly in conflict with much of the wisdom of the Old Testament Proverbs, however, after a closer look I believe the second half of this verse clarifies it’s intended meaning – the arguments and pretensions that we are to demolish are thoughts – ideas that take root in our minds, planted there by life in this fallen world. This verse encourages us to develop our critical thinking skills, so we can grapple with the ideas we encounter, and sift them like wheat – literally demolishing anything that acts to hinder our faith. This is truly what it means to “love the Lord with all of your mind” – giving all your thoughts to Him, and seeing which stand true — studying that we might know the truth more fully, and seeking to think more “Christian-ly” about the world in which we live.

Secondly, let’s look at a handful of passages from Luke’s sequel; the book of Acts 17:2, 17, 18:4, 19 say as follows; “Paul…reasoned with them from the Scriptures”, “…he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day…”, “Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks”, and lastly, “He himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews.” In every one of these verses, Paul is recorded as not giving just a simplistic Gospel message followed by an alter-call. Instead Paul put great time and effort into REASONING with non-believers. In Athens, in fact, he even uses a local “alter to an unknown god” to make a case for the truth of the Christian God. Another significant thing to note, however, is the centrality of the Bible to good apologetics; Paul didn’t just use fancy philosophical jargon to convince people of the truth of Christ, but “he reasoned from the Scriptures.” It is important to remember that, even in apologetics, the Scriptures are central to what we do – if it is indeed true that “the word does not return void”, then we’d be foolish to begin elsewhere.

If God requires of us as believers to love Him with all of our “heart, mind, soul, and strength”, we should recognize that any true presentation of the Gospel in its fullness should appeal to the whole person AS A PERSON. Though the Scriptures require of us to “always be prepared to give an answer” (1 Peter 3:15) let us not go into discussions of these matters with the intent of merely winning an argument, but rather, let us recognize the image of God in those to whom we speak, and remember that, apart from God’s grace in our own lives, they are simply a reflection of who we once were and would still be.

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~ by heatlight on August 27, 2007.

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