You might be wondering, “What on earth does ‘apologetics’ mean?”
Christian Apologetics is simply making a case for why Christianity is true and then defending that truth against any objections people may bring up.
Before I took apologetics seriously, I knew *what* it was that I believed, but i had no idea *why* I believed those things.
However, after I was introduced to apologetics, my faith was reinvigorated.
Knowing that what I believed was true, strengthened my faith and made me a much more confident and effective Christian.
I'm certain that apologetics can have just as positive of an impact on your faith as it did mine.
Here are 6 reasons how:
Take a minute and ask yourself, why are you a Christian? How would you answer that? Maybe you would answer the way i would have, by saying something like,
Let me first say that these responses are not necessarily bad.
You may indeed have been changed by Jesus. You may indeed believe the Bible, and that's great.
However, these responses are all subjective and tend to be given by people across all faiths, not just Christianity, and that’s the issue.
Mormons and Muslims will also say “because I just know and feel it in my heart”.
They will also say “because it changed my life”
It’s your subjective experience against theirs.
How do we know who’s right?
Studying apologetics can give you a better answer: “because it’s true!”
We believe God is really real and the Bible is really true.
Apologetics helps us to communicate that truth to others.
I have found that studying the reasons why Christianity is true has really enriched my own personal faith and walk with Christ.
There’s just something about being confident that God exists, that the Bible is trustworthy, and that Jesus rose from the dead that makes you want to learn as much as you can and grow as much as possible in the knowledge of Christ.
Whereas I found myself idling in spiritual neutral before I encountered apologetics, once I learned there were good reasons for what I believe I began to seriously study the Bible and take my role as an evangelist seriously.
CS Lewis has some valuable insight:
“Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.”
Apologetics helped to solidify my conviction that Christianity was true, which fueled a passion for God and His word.
Study apologetics, and I guarantee it will strengthen your own faith as well!
The New Testament epistles are replete with examples of the author, usually the apostle Paul, admonishing his audience to hold fast to the true Gospel and ignore false ones.
"See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ." -Colossians 2:8
"I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ." -Galatians 1:6-7
The less we know our Bible, the more likely we are to fall for unsound teachings and doctrine.
Paul even admits in his letter to the church at Colossae that false teachings often have the appearance of Wisdom (Colossians 2:23). That’s what makes them so dangerous.
On the flipside however, the more we know our Bible, the less likely we are to fall for these bad ideas.
Studying apologetics, as we’ve seen, gives you a zeal for knowledge and truth that will help you be able to spot false teachings and stand against them.
The biggest barrier that keeps Christians from sharing their faith with others is fear.
Fear of not knowing what to say, fear of being unable to answer their questions, fear of looking and sounding silly.
Our biggest weapons against fear are confidence and preparedness and that’s where studying apologetics can really help.
You’ll have a greater understanding of exactly what it is you believe and why you believe it which will help you present the Gospel with clarity and conviction.
But then what if they come back with questions?
Questions like, "Aren’t there errors in the Bible?", "Hasn’t Science disproved God?", and "Aren’t Miracles impossible?"
Apologetics can help there too; in fact a major part of what apologetics consists of is answering questions people have about Christianity.
By anticipating these questions and learning a few good responses, your fear of being unable to answer questions while sharing your faith will shrink.
“Over 33% of young adults said they feel like they can’t ask life’s most pressing questions in church and 23% said they had “significant intellectual doubts” about their faith.”
In his 2011 book “You Lost Me: Why Young Christians are leaving Church, and Rethinking Faith.”, Barna Research Group President David Kinnaman discovered that it’s clear that Christians sometimes have doubts or questions but are afraid to ask them.
If you’re experiencing doubts or have questions about your faith, become a student of apologetics and research the answers that faithful Christians have given.
There is no shortage of excellent apologetics ministries that exist to answer questions like the ones you have. Ministries like;
There are lots more out there, but these websites are an excellent place to start because they are so accessible.
Even if you are very confident in your faith and don’t have any questions or doubt, the data I provided above should motivate you to equip yourself with at least the basic answers to common questions.
You never know who in your church is experiencing doubt or has questions they may want to ask but are afraid to.
By being prepared with an answer and a willingness to listen, you might be just who that person needs.
Study apologetics, and you’ll find yourself able to effectively answer some hard questions and minister to those with doubts.
Young people are walking away from church once they leave high school.
Depending on the study, it’s anywhere from 50% to 75%.
The Barna research group highlights 6 reasons why youth leave the church:
Each of these reasons relates to apologetics in varying degrees.
If the church can become a place where we equip our young people with solid reasons to believe Christianity is true and not shy away from addressing doubts or difficult questions, we can tackle these issues head-on and stem the tide of young people leaving the church.
I will never forget a 5th/6th grade youth retreat I went on as a leader several years ago.
I was asked to come up with the lessons for the weekend.
I decided to do one lesson on how we got the Bible, and the other one on why we can trust the Bible.
I’ve never seen kids so attentive during a lesson before.
I’ve also never received so many questions before.
Afterwards, there was a palpable buzz in the camp atmosphere.
I had several other leaders come up to me and say that their kids loved the lessons and then they warned me that many of them might approach me later with more questions.
I was beyond thrilled.
Most kids have questions or at the very least are curious about their faith.
But if we don’t take their questions seriously, and equip them with the truth, those honest questions and curiosities can turn into doubts.
And doubts can cripple a young person’s faith and ministry.
Let’s do everything we can to faithfully share the truth with the next generation. Our kids are worth it and, as the experience I shared above shows, they are hungry for it.
Many people unfortunately think that apologetics is a subject that is only for really smart people.
But it’s for every Christian.
Peter admonishes everyone in his audience to "always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you…" (1 Peter 3:15)
If you’re smart enough to learn God’s truth, you’re smart enough to defend it.
If you’re sharing the gospel, people are going to ask questions.
You will never learn all the answers, but you can learn a few good ones.
J. Warner Wallace of Cold Case Christianity is fond of saying “we don’t need another million-dollar apologist, we need a million one-dollar apologists.
What he means is, we need more people like you and I in local churches willing to do our part in showing those we come in contact with the reasonableness of Christianity.
Because of apologetics, my faith is stronger, and I’m a more effective ambassador for Christ.
That can happen for you too.
Matt has studied Christian theology, philosophy, and apologetics on his own for several years now. He is passionate about sharing the evidence for the truth of Christianity and answering the objections of today's post-Christian culture. He hopes to someday earn a formal education in ministry and/or apologetics. Matt lives in Wyoming, Michigan with his wife Sara and Son Ezekiel.