Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Why is Apologetics Necessary Anyways?

I often get the question, “Is apologetics really necessary?” Too often people suppose the task of evangelism and apologetics is the exclusive domain of scholars and theologians but that simply isn’t true.


The defense of the faith is not optional—it just plain old basic training for every Christian and that means you. The Bible informs that apologetics isn’t just a nicety, it’s a necessity. Look, writing in a world steeped in mystery cults, you have Paul vigorously defending the Gospel (Acts 17:15-34; 18:4) and then charging Timothy and Titus to do the same thing (2 Tim. 2:23-26; 4:2-5; Titus 1:9-14).


Apologetics is necessary to preserve the faith. Not only must the church defend against objections that come to her from without, she must guard against false teaching that penetrate from within. Paul admonishes Timothy “preach the Word, be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage––with great patience and careful instruction.” He then says, “the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine.” Instead, they will “turn their ears away from truth and turn aside to mythology.” (2 Tim 4:2-4). Defending essential Christian doctrine against perversions by pseudo-Christian cults is a critical task of Christian apologetics.


Apologetics is necessary for the cultural relevance of the church. In a post-Christian society in which theism is no longer en vogue and belief in the possibility of miracles is viewed as simpleminded superstition, apologetics creates intellectual room for the acceptance of the gospel. In place of merely pontificating dogmatic assertions, Christian apologist are commanded to provide defensible arguments and do so with “gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).


During our Listener Appreciation Week, we are thanking you for enabling this ministry to carry on the task of apologetics and evangelism. Please visit the Listener Appreciation Week section of our Website (http://www.equip.org/site/listener_appreciation_week) and also pick up a copy of my Complete Bible Answer Book to equip you to engage in apologetics and evangelism.

5 comments:

Boris said...

"The very need for a thing called 'apologetics is example of the weakness of the theistic argument. 'God' always needs apologies, rationalizations, explanations, equivocations, excuses." - Mark K. Bilbo, host and operator of alt-atheism.org.

Apologetics wouldn't be necessary if Christianity wasn't founded on a mountain of lies and deceit. Who can't figure that out?

Siarlys Jenkins said...

I would respectfully agree that apologetics generates the very diversions that it is offered for the purpose of curing. Jesus said "All the law and the prophets" hang on two commandments: Love God with all your being, and love your neighbor as yourself. Every attempt, including Paul's, to define doctrine, creed, confessions of faith, which require more of a Christian, are distractions. (Incidentally, those two commandments are a great deal to ask in themselves -- could any of us fulfill without fail in an entire lifetime?) I'm not saying the gospels are not worth reading, I'm saying no "church" is qualified to refine apologetics out of them. Paul was, in short, wrong, or, badly misunderstood. There is some basis to suggest that the Greek root for "heresy" had connotations of party or faction. In this sense, orthodoxy is merely the heresy in power. The fact that Christians factionalize over doctrine at all is the problem -- none are righteous, no not one. Paul may have understood and tried to say that, or he may have arrogantly interposed his own limited (and/or imaginative) understanding as "spirtually correct."

Wayne Mayhall said...

Boris,

Interesting approach, but your logic is flawed. Just because we offer backing and warrant to an already established argument whose premises and conclusion are sound, does not meen that either the backing, warrant, or argument are an "example of weakness". If this were truly the case, we could not argue any proposition or utter any truth content without reducing it to meaninglessness. Please, offer a strong rebuttal to the theistic argument itself if we are to start somewhere solid. Regards, C. Wayne Mayhall

Boris said...

Wayne,
That's just it. All theism is based on is arguments and arguments are NOT evidence. My worldview is not based on any arguments but only an analysis of available evidence. The natural position to take on anything is unbelief until something has been proved. Arguments only prove that one has no evidence. If there were some real solid evidence for the existence of God then of course I would believe that a God probably exists. Since there isn't I believe that there probably isn't a God.

As far as I'm concerned it doesn't matter whether there is a God because there are no verifiable consequences either way. Also belief in the Christian God requires a belief in things like angels, demons, Satan, Jesus, seraph, giants, impossibly old people and people whose existence cannot be verified historically, stories that cannot be substantiated by archaeology, talking animals and a lot of other nonsense. It's all way too much for any person who relies on reason to discover the truth about things to believe.

Wayne Mayhall said...

Boris,

I am going to continue to try and get you to support your statements with fact, if you would be so daring! For example, you say "That's just it. All theism is based on is arguments and arguments are NOT evidence". How can you argue that arguments are not evidence? Every proposition we utter that is factual is based on argumentation of some sort. For example, if I say the toast in the toaster smells like it is burning. Then I remove the toast from the toaster and it is black around the edges. I then say, the toast that was in the toaster is burnt. I've stated an argument based on evidence. We do this everyday in dozens of ways to make sense out of reality don't we? So how can you say that arguments are NOT evidence?

Please respond.

Wayne