Part 1 – Apologetics is more than saying you are sorry
“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” – 1 Peter 3:15.
What comes to mind when you hear the word apologetics? If I asked that question to a few people on Sunday at Northstar, I probably would get a deer in the headlight or blank stares. I’m sure at least one person would pause for a moment and suggest that apologetics has something to do with being sorry, or apologizing.
The simple definition of Christian Apologetics is a study of the evidence for Christianity and using that knowledge to provide a rational defense of Christianity. Christian apologetics, is important for all believers who hope to defend the faith effectively and prove the reliability of the Bible. By comparing Jesus to other religions using facts, logic and history, you can show that Christianity stands up very well under intellectual scrutiny and has done so for thousands of years. Christian Apologetics is something every believer should be aware of. Here’s why.
Non-Christians, skeptics, and people of other faiths are asking some very good questions regarding the Christian faith. The word apologetics comes from the Greek word found in 1 Peter 3:15 and means “defense.” The Bible says that we’re to always be ready to give a “defense” to people who ask us about the hope we have as Christians. Why is that so important? Simple. There are many people who want to test you. They want to discredit Christianity. They attack the validity of the Bible. They ask questions they hope will have no answers, and as a result raise some doubts in your eyes. Some of those questions include:
“What evidence do you have that there is a God or that the Bible is really true?”
“If God is so loving, why does He allow evil and suffering?”
“If God exists, why do so many intelligent scientists say he doesn’t?”
“Ultimately, don’t all religions lead to God?”
“How can you really know what happened 2000 years ago?”
“What’s the difference between Jesus, Buddha, Mohammad, Confucius, etc.?”
We have the responsibility to give honest answers to honest questions. Christianity is not a blind faith. There are things that we have to accept on faith but we can also prove many of the parts of the bible are rational and more importantly documented in history. It helps to have some basic information when you hear some blatantly wrong comments or faulty premises from the skeptics in our lives. We are told to be prepared to give a reason for our hope.
Our hope is a firm belief that we shall always stand acceptable before God with the perfect righteousness of Christ (Philippians 3:18). Our hope is that when we die, we shall be with Christ in glory (Romans 8:16-17). Our hope is that God never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). Hope is contagious. Christianity is always relevant, impactful, is always new and always changing lives. In short, the gospel of Christ is still the good news.
The reason for our hope is the cross. Hope is the result of Jesus dying on the cross in our behalf. We must then present Christ and those who put their trust in Him are pardoned of all sin and declared righteous in His sight. We should never present our faith as a set of rules and regulations. That is not the gospel of Jesus Christ. And we let God work on the anger, guilt, despair, and confusion that often lies behind the questions.
How does an ordinary Christian go about honing their apologetic skills? Does it take years of seminary or college? Not really. Just like every other facet of the Christian walk, developing reasoning skills is a life-long pursuit. If you are a Christian and feel yourself lacking when your friends or family or colleagues challenge what you believe, I would like to provide you with some basics that will help you get started down the road, starting with the next blog post.
Part 2 – The Basics