by Richard Haas
Apologetics is the branch of Christianity that deals with the defense and establishment of the Christian faith. Unlike Polemics (read What is Polemics?), Apologetics deals with the outward defense of the Christian faith towards those outside the faith. Apologetics is used quite often as a form of pre-evangelism, to provide answers to valid questions a seeker might have concerning the truth of Christianity. It is used to remove roadblocks in the way of someone coming to a saving faith and knowledge of Jesus Christ. As Christians Apologetics is something every true believer should be involved in and learn to do, even if it is only on occasion.
The Bible clearly states in 1 Peter 3:15 that every Christian should have a defense for the hope that lies within them. Every Christian should be willing to make a defense for their hope or faith with gentleness and reverence.
1 Peter 3:15 is not the only place we see apologetics used in Scripture. We see several examples of apologetics in action in the New Testament.
- Acts 22:1 ~ “Brethren and fathers, hear my defense before you now.”
- Acts 25:16 ~ To them, I answered, “It is not the custom of the Romans to deliver any man to destruction before the accused meets the accusers face to face and has an opportunity to answer for himself concerning the charge against him.’
- Philippians 1:7 ~ just as it is right for me to think this of you all because I have you in my heart, in as much as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace.
Apologetics is not arguing in the sense of engaging in a heated verbal dispute or quarrel with someone else. It is not arguing simply for the sake of winning an argument. Nor is it arguing people into the Kingdom of God. Our apologetics must always point to Christ and the Gospel. We cannot win or argue anyone into belief or salvation it is only the Holy Spirit that can convert. Our part is only to make a defense of our faith and answer the questions that those of the faith may have.