Defending the Faith in the Marketplace of Ideas
By: Brian Hearn
1) Introduction to Apologetics
a) What is apologetics and why should I be interested?
i) Christian apologetics defined: (first - you don’t have to apologize!) Christian apologetics is the discipline of rationally justifying one’s belief in Christianity through systematic discourse. The word apologetics comes from the Greek apologia, which literally means; a verbal defense or speech, or a reasoned statement or argument.
ii) Who is an apologist? – someone who engages in apologetics:
(1) Some of the great apologists are Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin, Lewis, Moreland, Sproul, Craig, Geisler – the point is that apologetics is not an obscure practice but one entertained by many of history’s great Christian leaders and thinkers
(2) Was Martin Luther an apologist?
Busy reconstructing the church, Luther was not known as an apologist. However, he said nothing, properly understood, that would negate the consistent use of reason by the classical apologists in defending the faith. (Geisler)
iii) What is in it for you?
(1) A more confident Christian walk by knowing that it is rationally justifiable – we need not check our brains out at the door when we come to church
(2) Increased confidence in our ability to share the Gospel in a secular world - secular society has marginalized the person of faith
(3) A new way to witness – challenge the unsaved to rethink the Christian stereotype
(4) Obedience to God’s Word: we are called to be disciplined…”Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline and understanding.” (proverbs 23:23)
(5) Have you encountered a situation where your faith was tried or challenged by an acquaintance, friend, or family ember or by worldly wisdom?
b) Is apologetics biblically supported?
i) 1 Peter 3:15 (Always be prepared to give an answer – do so with gentleness and respect)
ii) 2 Timothy 2:14-15 (do not quarrel and correctly handle the word of truth)
iii) 2 Timothy 3:16 (think biblically – apologetics must integrate with Scripture, not visa versa.)
iv) 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (The weapons we fight with – apologetics is not required but it is another tool that may be employed under the Spirit’s guidance)
v) Matthew 7:6 (Pearls to pigs; a warning from Scripture)
vi) Precedence – Worship, Word, prayer, fellowship and service to God come first