Summary: A Study in Christian Apologetics
Apologetics? An Outline
What is Christian apologetics?
First what it is not! It is not the art of learning how to apologize for your faith!
It is not arguing over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.
The English word, “apologetics,” comes from the Greek word, apologia, which means “to give a reason or defense” (1 Pet. 3:15). Christian apologetics is a field of Theology that not only explains what Christians believe but why they believe it. In other words a Christian apologist is not one who apologizes for the faith but gives a defense of the faith. The Greek word apologia means to “give a reply”.
Why engage in apologetics? The Bible tells us to!
Jude 3 - Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints
1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear
Apologetics is also called “pre-evangelism.” Is there anything you do before you evangelize?
Depending on the situation sometimes people choose to build a relationship first (people are rarely converted on the spot by a tract or sermon etc…) Seeds usually have to be planted and watered first.
You pray for a person who you want to see converted.
-Some help people with their physical needs in order to get their “foot in the door”
1 Peter 3:8-17 – Part of apologetics is living out your faith for all to see. Your life is an apologetic argument in and of itself! If you can answer every question and give a defense against every attack but you’re a jerk, little will be gained.
When engaging in apologetics we ought to recognize the importance of humility: 1 Cor. 8:1…Knowledge makes arrogant, (or it is “puffed up”) but love edifies.”
Back in the days of the early church Christians were demonized in the Roman Empire and all sorts of false accusations were made against them. Not only did Nero blame Christians for burning down the city in the 1st century Christians were maligned up until the 4th century.
Christians were accused of being:
Cannibals - Communion
Atheist – they rejected the Roman gods & goddesses - Polycarp – away with the atheist
Incest – brothers & sisters “in Christ”
What are some things Christians are accused of today?
-Hateful – gay marriage?
We need to realize that people are where they are for a reason, and they believe what they believe for a reason. Some hate the faith and will not believe, others claim to have faith yet they distort it and others may have some sincere doubts
Jude 16-23 - We must make a distinction between those who doubt and others who are totally deceived
There are different forms of apologetics with differing approaches – Theism vs atheism & Christianity vs other religions.
Classical Apologetics stresses rational arguments for the existence of God and attempts to prove that God exist through philosophical arguments, scientific arguments then and only then does it moves into the Scripture attempting to prove the scripture is accurate and true. Some oppose this form of apologetics claiming it to be unbiblical, not giving scripture its proper due.
Presuppositional Apologetics starts with the premise that God does exist, the Bible is true and then moves to demonstrate this. Some don’t like this approach since it starts with a premise that many (if not most) do not accept.
Note that the Bible in the very first verses of Genesis states the existence of God, it doesn’t attempt to prove or defend this statement it simply states it as a fact.
ROMANS 1:16-25 - All men know there is a God but they would rather worship the creature rather than the creator.
Wilmingtons Guide to the Bible - Prophecy
The Bible is defended – historical evidence, philosophical, scientific
Inerrancy & infallibility
How you live your life, your conduct is an apologetic. Share the gospel with all whom you come into contact and if necessary use words… - St. Augustine?
Defense of miracles – if God exist miracles must exist since God Himself is supernatural. If you can prove God exist you prove miracles exist.
Blaise Pascal – “wager” – It posits that humans all bet with their lives either that God exists or that he does not. Based on the assumption that the stakes are infinite if God exists and that there is at least a small probability that God in fact exists, Pascal argues that a rational person should live as though God exists and seek to believe in God. If God does not actually exist, such a person will have only a finite loss (some pleasures, luxury, etc.), whereas they stand to receive infinite gains (as represented by eternity in Heaven) and avoid infinite losses (eternity in Hell.