Wednesday, October 1, 2008

What is Apologetics?

What is Apologetics?
What is apologetics? For starters, apologetics is not about apologizing for being a follower of Jesus. One of the primary passages that is used in discussing apologetics is 1 Peter 3:15 which says, "But in your hearts acknowledge Christ as the holy Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to every one who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have yet with gentleness and respect.” In the context of this passage, Peter is writing to a group of persecuted Christians. The word “Lord” (Gr. kyrios), is an indication of Jesus’ divine status (Acts 2:34-36). Peter does not just suggest we be prepared to give a reason for the hope that is within us, but he commands that we do it! As Christians are called to give a reason for the hope within them, it is imperative to be both gentle and respectful. In defining apologetics, the word "Apologia" (in general, meaning defense), and its verbal form "apolgoumai" (make a defense) are words used in classical Greek, in New Testament Greek, and also in Patristic writings.

Jesus calls his people to “make disciples of the nations” (Matt.28:19). Within the context of Matthew 28:19, apologetics is part of that discipling or teaching ministry.

Apologetics plays an instrumental role in spiritual maturity. In relation to apologetics, Christian philosopher Stephen T. Davis says:

"In truth, faith needs apologetics. It needs it both to answer both the negative arguments of the resurrection and to construct positive arguments in favor of it. Apologetics will not create faith, but perhaps, for some, it will pave the way for it or make it possible. Evans goes on to say, What is destructive of genuine Christian faith, in my opinion, is not apologetics, but unfounded beliefs, unjustified commitments, unsound arguments, and “irrational leaps of faith.” It is the aim of apologetics to prevent Christian faith from amounting to anything like that."

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