Apologetics 1

What exactly is apologetics? A persistent and socially awkward Christian with all the answers to everything may come to mind. All too often, apologetics is associated with arrogance. But what about biblical apologetics? The word comes from Peter's use of the word apologia in 1 Pet. 3.15-16: "but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; 16 yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame."

Note 4 things about the text. First, the hope that is in you must be attractive enough for non-Christians to want to ask you about it. An arrogant attitude will never produce such a question. Second, note verse 16. Gentleness and respect are crucial to the apologetic task. Third, Peter expects all believers to be involved in apologetics. He does not reserve the task for only those with theological or philosophical backgrounds. We are all to be able to give a defense to anyone who asks about our hope. Fourth, note that Peter begins by admonishing the believer to regard Christ as the Lord who is holy. Christ is Lord over all aspects of the believer's life. This will be worked out in a later post.

So back to our question. Apologetics is commonly defined as the defense of the faith. This is certainly true, but the Christian must not remain on the defense. We must take the offense, destroying every argument and lofty opinion that is raised against the knowledge of God (2 Cor 10.5). All too often, Christians are backed into a corner and are required to defend, defend, defend. This should not be the case. The best defense is a good offense. Scripture is filled with military language and we are to go on the attack to any philosophy that is according to the tradition of men and elemental principles of the world, and not according to Christ (Col 2.8). We are to show non-Christians that they are morally hopeless, and intellectually bankrupt outside of the self-attesting Christ of Scripture.

Frame defines apologetics as the application of Scripture to unbelief. I am very happy with this definition, as it implies offense and defense. It also shows that apologetics, evangelism, and theology are intimately connected. Theology is the application of Scripture to all areas of life and apologetics and evangelism are the sharing and vindicating of your theology (or worldview) as a whole. It is all a package deal.
Ask yourself if you are being obedient to Peter's admonition. Is the hope you have in Christ evident to those around you? Are you ready to give a defense to anyone who asks?