Oftentimes, the term apologetics within the context of Christianity goes misunderstood. Christians hear this word and wonder, What do I have to be sorry for? It’s a common misconception quite honestly and it’s actually nothing like the traditional apology that we have grown accustomed to.
A Christian should never be embarrassed about putting their faith in the Gospel of Christ. In fact, the Apostle Paul said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16).
So what does the term apologetics mean as it relates to the Christian faith? Why should Christians be concerned with this silly word and how it’s woven into their daily lives? Let’s take a quick glance at why apologetics is important to the Christian’s responsibility of living out his or her faith.
In Peter’s first epistle, he talks about suffering for the sake of righteousness (1 Peter 3:8-22). Suffering for Christ is never a matter of “if” but always “when.” It’s inevitable. 1 John 3:13 reminds us “not [to] be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.” John 15:20 echoes this statement saying, “a servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.”
1 Peter 3:15 says, “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense (apologia) to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…”
Apologetics is the exercise of giving a reason and evidence for the Christian faith and communicating that reason to the rest of the world. This doesn’t mean that every believer must be an expert at formal debates or know the ends and outs of Scripture—although this is an admirable goal.
It means that a Christian can answer the basic questions of Christianity and how it provides the best explanation for the life we live and the purpose behind it. It goes beyond mere personal experience. It’s logical, rational, and biblical.
Why should the average Christian care about the approach of apologetics? What is its purpose and how is it different than simply “sharing a testimony”? Simply put, apologetics and its tactic of showing skeptics and critics that the Gospel of Christ answers all of life’s questions while dismantling doubt transcends the subjective perspective. But what does this mean?
Well, approaching the defense of the Christian faith sometimes requires knocking down the walls of bias. Everyone has their own baggage. Their own experiences drastically influence how they see the world and “religion.” Being able to converse with a skeptic on an objective level playing field can be powerful.
Appealing to concrete truth and reason along with what the Scriptures reveal about reality is the goal of apologetics. It allows a Christian to have an open and honest discussion about religious things without the religious language.
Why apologetics? Because it allows the Christian to be authentic and real in their relationship with others. It’s not a program or a predetermined set of arbitrary questions. It’s explaining the gospel in real, tangible ways. In fact, Paul made a habit of it: “And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures” (Acts 17:2).