Why We Do What We Do? The Case for Apologetics
Throughout the history of the church, there have always been vicious attacks on the existence of God and the Bible. Scripture commands believers to be prepared to give a defense.1 Peter 3:15 states: "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". The Greek word for defense here is "apologia", which is where we get the term apologetics. Apologetics is the branch of Christian theology that gives a defense of the faith drawing on philosophy, logic, science and history. Many in the church today believe that faith and reason are opposed. Many have never heard of men like Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Anselm and others, who dedicated their lives to answering the attacks on the Christian faith. So why should we do apologetics and care about the defending the Faith. Christians need to get back to learning apologetics for these three reasons:
1.) Christians are commanded by God to give a reason for the hope that is within them.
Every Christian is not called to attend seminary and to dedicate their lives to defending the faith. However, all Christians need to know what they believe and why they believe it. Throughout church history there have been outsiders who have come in and tried to lead believers astray through false teachings. Paul addressed this in his admonition to the Ephesian elders:
Acts 20:28-31 ESV "Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears."
We must be on the alert since there have and will be false teachers trying to infiltrate the church by teaching doctrines that lead people astray from the Bible. In order to know a false view of God or a corrupt gospel, we must first know what the correct teaching is. This comes by reading the Bible, prayer and studying theology. Everyone is a theologian at some level so the question ultimately is whether we will be good theologians or bad ones. Scripture tells us to "study to show ourselves approved" (2 Timothy 2:15) and to be able to give an answer for the faith we believe (1 Peter 3:15). Learning apologetics for the Christian is a command, not an option.
2) Christians are commanded to evangelize. (Matthew 28:19)
We live in a culture that is increasingly skeptical. Forty years ago there was a respect for the Bible in this country. However, we now live in a culture where mocking the Bible is not only acceptable but encouraged. The rise of scientism, the view that only that which can be proved by science is true, in our culture makes dialog on the existence of God and the reliability of the Bible particularly challenging. When engaging in evangelism, Christians are challenged to give reasons for why one should believe that God exists and that the Bible is an authoritative book. Until the 1800's, Christians generally have been well-versed in philosophical and historical arguments for the existence of God, the Resurrection of Christ and the authority of the Bible. Unfortunately today ,most unbelievers (and many Christians) have never seen the existence of God and the reliability of the Bible defended with logical arguments. In our culture it is impossible to do evangelism without engaging in apologetics. Everyone will not be experts as we all have different gifts, but all Christians can study up on some of the basic objections that are commonly given by skeptics.
3) For the sake of the future of Christianity in America.
Christianity in America is on the decline (as was noted above). One way to stop the increase of our young people leaving the Faith is to show them that there are answers to the objections they will hear in college and in culture in general. Most of these objections have been answered hundreds of years ago by thinkers such as Aquinas, Augustine and others. If we want to be effective in our evangelism and to protect our young people for the future of Christianity, then apologetics is mandatory.
For these reasons above, we are compelled to defend the Faith as we engage the culture and present the Gospel. This is why Ratio Christi exists on secular and Christian college campuses around the world. We are dedicated to this mission of defending truth and Christianity at the university and are seeing lives changed and transformed through apologetics ministry and conversational evangelism. We are dedicated to equipping churches and various ministries as well and are seeing much eternal fruit! Let us know how we can serve you through this vital ministry!
Content in blogs does not necessarily represent Ratio Christi’s views. Details