What Really is Apologetics?

What is apologetics? Some people have been turned off of apologetics. I would want to ask what type of apologetics they have had a bad experience with.

AngerSome people have seen apologetics as compiling evidence into an air-tight case that only a fool would reject. The problem with this is that people know that life is messier than that. For many people it is not enough to pile on the facts. Philosophical arguments are not the forces that drive their beliefs.

Others see apologetics as being about emotional arguments against people you disagree with. The apologist is the “heretic-hunter” who is looking for the next theological error to knock down.

I know apologists who embrace both of these models and it is not wrong to be like that. But that is not the sum total of apologetics.

When I encounter opposition to apologetics, I use the following discussion. I ask them about something in their life, such as a hobby, that they really enjoy. I ask them to name the subject that they are thinking of. I then ask them to give a few reasons why they enjoy it so much. Once they do this, I inform them that they just did apologetics.

Apologetics was not invented by Christians. Apologetics is simply giving explanations for why something is valued or embraced. Christian apologetics is doing that same thing for Christianity.

A part of Christian apologetics is rational evidences but that is not all there is. If you asked me as a new Christian why I believed Christianity to be true, I would have told you about a dramatic answer to prayer. That experience still plays a central role in my faith. I have filled in my reasons with other things, such as rational evidence, but it is still important.

My challenge is to not give up on Christian apologetics. If you do not like the way someone else has done apologetics, then find a new way. If you are a Christian and believe that Jesus is the Lord, then discover the means to express that truth to others.

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