Apologetics comes from the Greek word apologia which means to give a defense, in the sense of a legal defense. Peter uses it in 1 Peter 3:15 when he instructs us to always be prepared to give a reason for the hope that we have. We are called to be able to intelligently articulate why we believe what we believe. Jesus tells us to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and mind. This means that our faith should be rational, not blind.
Apologetics is a tool in the tool belt of the disciple. It has two purposes:
- Assist in evangelism – To be used to remove the stumbling blocks preventing those that might come to Jesus from getting into His word and getting to know Him.
- Equip and strengthen the believer – When someone can rationally think through their faith, when they not only believe with their heart but also with their mind, their entire life can be transformed.
Apologetic arguments are NOT to be used as a weapon. No argument will be able to prove theism or Christianity beyond a shadow of a doubt. God himself came to earth and revealed himself to mankind yet was STILL rejected and killed. No amount of information will be able to convince those that wish not to see. Why? Because their lack of faith is actually a heart issue, not a head issue.
Christianity CAN be proven beyond a REASONABLE doubt. This means it can be argued that of all the world views, the Christian world view is the most reasonable one, but no amount of arguing can replace the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of an individual.
The flow of apologetics:
No one argument is meant to take someone from complete atheism to Christianity. They are meant to be used in conjunction with one another if the entire scope must be traversed. Additionally, not all arguments will be necessary for all people.
The most important thing you will ever do as an apologist and evangelist is LISTEN! Listen 10 times more than you speak. Every person you encounter that has questions will throw out a pile of questions before they ever get to the one that is their personal road block. Let them talk them-self quiet before you speak, then ask clarifying questions and again let them talk them-self quiet while you listen. Repeat. Finally, the last objection/question is the one they need answered and 9 out of 10 times it has nothing to do with logic and everything to do with a personal hurt they feel God should have prevented. In those cases LOVE them to Christ.