I read an article last week from Sacred Struggler, titled “Apologetics: I hate it!” that really struck home. Now I don’t consider myself an Apologist when compared with Ravi Zacharias or C. S. Lewis but I have a strong interest in the subject. That said I certainly get where Sacred Struggler is coming from. Apologetics sounds like such a big impressive word, and I am sure there are some who call themselves apologists who are really more like argumentative-ists.
But what is it really?
Apologetics has really gotten a bit of a bum-rap. Having an interest in the subject I was recently asked to give a study on the subject to my church’s men’s group at our weekly prayer breakfast, we finish up on Thursday. Apologetics is not to go around saying “I’m sorry” all the time. Neither is it to have an argument, or act as some high-powered attorney in a Supreme Court case.
Acts 22:1 “Hear my defense(apologia)which I now offer.” 1 Peter 3:15 “be ready to give an answer(apologia) to every man that asketh you a reason for the hope that is within you.”
Apologetics is not about winning an argument but rather a way to show those we have contact with at home, work, with friends, family, or co-workers that we have thought about the big questions and as Christians have a different answer. Michael Spencer at ccapologetics.wordpress.com does a great job of using this approach. You can find his podcast on iTunes under apologetics.
I see apologetics as really having three components:
1- To explain Christian ethics and thought. It amazes me what some people think it means to be a Christian. For a sample see this survey from the UK of self-identified Christians and see what some people think makes them a Christian.
2- To give opposing thought and reason to the worlds philosophy. Such things as the idea that man has intrinsic value because he is created vs. Darwinism which holds a boy, is a dog, is a pig, is a pollywog.
3- To explain why we (Christians) are different.
Why do we act different then everyone else.
Sure part of apologetics is defending, but some of it is to show a different way to live. All of it is to give hope. Apologetics is not evangelism, but more a way to hopefully start a conversation that will lead to the opportunity to show someone Jesus. We want to create a curiosity and a desire on the part of the person we are talking with to want to know more.
If you want to see my study on apologetics email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to email you a copy of the study guide and notes.