Apologetics is one of those subjects that seems to have a bad name. The reason is perhaps that the term has morphed in meaning over the past several centuries. It is not that we are apologizing for something we believe in, but that we are defending it. The term apologetics stems from the Greek term apologia which is to make a defense. Therefore a definition for apologetics is “an attempt to defend a particular belief or system of beliefs against objection .” We engage in apologetics to defend what it is that we believe. If Christianity is true then why is true? We have an obligation to defend the truth and that is why we engage. Scripture tells us in many places such as 1 Peter 3:15, Philippians 1:16, and 1 Corinthians 9:3 that we are to have a defense for what we believe. Jesus himself was no stranger to the subject of apologetics. He often quoted scripture to argue the point for what he was doing and for his claim as Messiah. In fact scripture uses the term apologia in the New Testament nineteen times just to make the point . The scriptures show that apologetics is one way by which some may be reached. There are some in the body of Christ that dismiss apologetics and tell others that they do what they do because Christ says so. This is great and more power to them, but what if they are talking to a non-believer? That argument would not stand because they do not see Christ as the savior of the world.
The audience for apologetics is everyone, but first I will explain. Apologetics is for believers because it allows them to see the arguments for there faith from the side of reason. It allows us to see the Biblical arguments, extra biblical evidence, and nature explain out faith. It can help give us a new perspective and aid in our evangelistic efforts. In addition to that they study of apologetics aid us in deepening our faith. Apologetics is also for the unbeliever because it helps to answer objections that unbelievers have such as why there is evil in the world. In short the audience is for whomever you are speaking to.
Though this was touched on in an earlier paragraph, internal apologetics is for the sake of the believer, and external is for the sake of the of the unbeliever. The goal of internal apologetics is to strengthen the convictions of the believer. This is done by answers questions that may be stumbling blocks. The goal of external apologetics is ultimately evangelism. Groothuis states, apologetics labors to communicate the truth in love and with wisdom (Ephesians 4:15) .” The Christian would be wise to study this discipline because we have an obligation to defend the truth. We will also be studying to show ourselves approved as 2 Timothy 2:15 states.
1. James K. Beilby. Thinking About Christian Apologetics. (Downers Grove, IL., IVP Academic, 2011), 11.
2. Ibid, 12.
3. Douglas Groothuis. Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith. (Downers Grove, IL., IVP Academic, 2011), 29.