Before the question of why Christian Apologetics is important can be answered, it is integral to understand exactly what is meant by apologetics. First it is important to understand that apologetics is not about apologizing for Christianity. Instead, an apologetic in general is simply a defense. Apologies or defenses were given during biblical times as part of legal proceedings.  In this general sense an apology can be given for any reason or stance taken by an individual. Compounding this idea with that of Christian belief, the concept of Christian Apologetics begins to become clear. Christian Apologetics is the defense of the teachings, beliefs and claims that are encompassed by the Christian religion, or in summary Christian Apologetics is a defense of the Christian worldview.

Why should we defend the Christian worldview? First it is because we are commanded to in scripture. 1 Peter 3:15-16 We are instructed to revere Christ as Lord and to always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who ask for the reasons of our Christian hope. Peter’s instruction to Christians who were suffering for their faith was to give the reasons and to answer questions others might have for the Christian’s unwavering display of faith.

Second we see the ample biblical example of Christian defense from the apostle Paul. Paul debated with philosophers at Mars Hill (Acts 17:22-31) Paul reasoned with the Jews, explaining and giving evidence supporting Jesus Christ as Messiah. (Acts 17:1-3) Paul gave the following instruction to the Corinthians; to destroy every sophisticated argument that is set against the knowledge of God, and to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ. (2Cor 10:5)

Lastly apologetics is important to evangelism in our time. The Pew Research Center published an article entitled “Nones” on the Rise. In it they described the “nones” as the portion of American society that does not affiliate with any type of religion. The research found that “the number of Americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a rapid pace. One-fifth of the U.S. public – and a third of adults under 30 – are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest percentages ever in Pew Research Center polling.

At the time of the research in 2012, the unaffiliated had increased from just over 15% to just under 20% of all U.S. adults. Their ranks now include more than 13 million self-described atheists and agnostics (nearly 6% of the U.S. public), as well as nearly 33 million people who say they have no particular religious affiliation (14%)” [1]

It is no longer safe to assume our friends, coworkers or anyone we meet in day to day life has any knowledge of the bible. It follows then that many people through relative comparison consider themselves ‘good’ people and in no need of any type of salvation. The reality of spiritual things is either ignored or wholly denied by many. The prevailing assumption is that scientific advance has relocated religious teaching to the dust bin of history. What is a Christian to do in this environment? How is he or she to keep the commandment from Christ to go and make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:10)? The answer is Christian Apologetics rooted in biblical scripture as the tool for modern day evangelism.

Not only is apologetics important to evangelism, evangelism is the ultimate purpose for sharing apologetic concepts and teachings. Notice Paul in chapter 26 of Acts as he presents his apologia, or apologetic or his defense. He explains his conversion experience, how highly unlikely it was that he, a persecutor of Christians should become one himself. He recognizes that the God of the Hebrews could obviously raise a man from the dead. He proclaimed that all the things prophesied by Moses and the prophets were fulfilled by Christ. And after this he calls for all men even King Agrippa to repent and believe.

Through all of our modern day advances the big questions for many remain unanswered, questions of origin, meaning, morality and destiny. What does life mean? What will endure? Is history progressing toward a goal or merely staggering along? What of the present instant, the ongoing now of my unfolding – or unraveling – life? [2] Furthermore, Does God exist? Why is there so much evil in the world? Who is Jesus and is it possible that he really did rise from the dead?

In the face of these questions, a defense, explanation and presentation of the Christian worldview is needed to show how consistency and coherence of the answers to the big questions will coalesce in the teachings, the life, the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.

Princeton seminary professor J. Gresham Machen once exhorted his students “You can avoid the debate over contested issues of the faith if you choose. You need only drift with the current… The great questions may be easily avoided. Many preachers are avoiding them. And many preachers are preaching to the air…The church is waiting for men of another type.” [3] This is the task of every Christian, to face the hard questions and show Christ standing tall and mighty to save.

__________________________

[1] http://www.pewforum.org/2012/10/09/nones-on-the-rise/

[2] Groothuis, Douglas R. Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2011.

[3] Machen, J. Gresham. Christianity and Culture. London: Banner of Truth Trust, 1969.

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