Thursday, October 13, 2016

What is Apologetics?

The word apologetics comes from the Greek word apologia that means “to give a reasoned response.” It is used seven times in the New Testament (Acts 22:1; 25:16; 1 Cor. 9:3; Phil. 1:7, 16; 2 Tim. 4:16; 1 Pet. 3:15). The word is a legal term used in law courts to describe a “rational defense of one’s position.”[1] The word does not mean, “to make an apology,” as the modern reader might think, rather, it means to give a defense. The job of apologetics is to rationally examine the beliefs of Christianity, to defend the faith, to give a reason for the hope that is in us (1 Peter 3:15), and to attack unbelief.

It is Biblical to use reason to persuade people concerning the truth of God’s Word. Paul went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God” (Acts 19:8 NKJV).

Apologetics provides a foundation for the Christian faith. The study of apologetics is the foundation of all theology. Without apologetics, there is no use talking about the atonement, or sacraments, or transcendence, or any other complicated theological terms. Before we can explain sin and salvation, reprobation and redemption; we must first defend God’s creation of the universe and the historical fact of Christ’s resurrection. If God did not create the universe, there was no Adam and Eve and therefore there is no sin. If Jesus did not rise physically from the dead, there is no salvation and therefore no eternal life after death.

[1] H. Wayne House and Dennis W. Jowers, Reasons for Our Hope: An Introduction to Christian Apologetics, (Nashville, TN: B&H, 2011), 2.