What Is Apologetics?
Apologetics comes from the Greek word, Apologia, simply meaning to make a defense. Apologia is found in 1 Peter 3:15. 1 Peter 3:15 says “but in your hearts honor 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; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” Biblical apologists make the argument that truth is found, in God`s word. God has created people with a mind, a will, and emotions to know Him personally. Though God has clearly revealed Himself, people still suppress and pervert the truth (Romans 1:18). It`s evident today, that Satan loves to make people doubt the truth, just like he did in the Garden of Eden. Satan deceived Eve in the Garden, and he continues his deceptive schemes by keeping people doubting the authoritative word of God (Genesis 3:1;1 Peter 5:8).
Why Is Apologetics Important?
Second Corinthians 10:4-7 gives a picture of where the real battle is being fought, “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete. Look at what is before your eyes. If anyone is confident that he is Christ’s, let him remind himself that just as he is Christ’s, so also are we.” Satan would love nothing more than to keep our eyes off of God`s word because that is where God`s plan of redemption is revealed. Satan loves to keep people distracted and I would say that is one of his greatest tactics in America-we are so easily distracted from the truth. R.C. Sproul writes, “I think the greatest weakness in the church today is that almost no one believes that God invests His power in the Bible. Everyone is looking for power in a program, in a technique in anything and everything except where God has placed it: His Word.” God commands us to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. The goal of an argument is not just to win it, but to show someone their need for Jesus Christ. God`s Word stands sure forever and believers have a responsibility to defend the truth, in the midst of a chaotic and busy world full of lies and deceit (Isaiah 40:6-8; 1 Peter 1:24-25).
Apologetics: Always Ready To Give A Defense
I remember my freshman year of college being a challenge for me because I was bombarded with different worldviews every day. I would walk into a room full of people who had all kinds of worldviews and I felt a heavy burden for the people who don’t acknowledge the truth. I was barely eighteen and it felt a bit like being thrown into a fire, but I knew one thing for sure, I could trust God`s word (1 Peter 4:12-19). I was often reminded of the verse in first Peter that talks about always being ready to give a defense for the hope that is within me and I wanted to be able to answer any questions, regarding the Bible, that people threw at me (I Peter 3:15). So, I studied their view of the world and what God had to say about those views. When Paul was in Athens, he knew the worldview he was up against and he reasoned with the Athenians with a correct understanding of their belief system (Acts 17:16-34).
In American society today, there`s a push for the demise of absolute truth. In other words, secular universities teach that you can`t be sure of anything, which defeats the purpose of education in the first place. They are advocates of relative truth while relying on absolutes to support their own worldview. I would get into conversations with people regarding relative truth and my question to them was always, “Are you absolutely sure that there is no absolute truth? Think about that for a moment before you answer.” You see, God is a God of order and the Earth operates on the absolutes that He has set in place. He upholds the universe with His mighty hand and He never changes (Hebrews 1:3; Malachi 3:6). God has set laws of logic and language in motion and we use them every day whether we realize it or not. We have universal laws such as, laws of gravity, thermodynamics, mathematics, etc. and we rely on these absolutes to function and grow in our understanding of the world around us. Having a basic understanding of apologetics and logic helps us have conversations with people to show them where they are wrong in their worldview (Proverbs 26:4-5).
Apologetics: Three Popular Approaches
There are several different ways that people can approach apologetics. Three of these approaches are referred to as Classical, Evidential, and Presuppositional apologetics.
A classical approach says that the Christian faith can be proven through logical criterium. The first step to a classical approach is to establish truth or Epistemology. Epistemology is the theory of knowledge; it`s an investigation into the difference between what is true and mere opinion. More simply stated, it is an investigation into how to obtain knowledge. The three questions that Classical Apologists typically try to answer are:
- How do we find the truth?
- Why Deism?
- Why Christianity?
Another popular approach to Apologetics is the Evidential method. Evidential apologetics focuses on the historical facts used to support Scripture. I love discussing history, but I find that it`s always catching up with the Bible. Archeologists continually uncover different artifacts that support what was already clearly stated in Scripture. Evidential apologists concern themselves with historical evidence for the resurrection and the historicity of Jesus, and his fulfillment of prophecy. In summary, they begin with historical facts that prove the resurrection of Jesus to show that He is the Son of God; therefore, leading to the conclusion that God exists (John 20:24-27). If you think about it, everyone is looking at the same evidence, but we are all examining that evidence through a different lens or worldview.
The third most utilized form of Apologetics is the Presuppositional apologetic. This type of apologetic emphasizes worldview foundations. The presuppositionalist realizes that a biblical worldview is the only basis for rational thought. In order to make any kind of argument at all, you have to presuppose a biblical worldview and the absolutes, such as laws of logic, that God has set in place. Presuppositionalists ask questions such as, “What are the preconditions of intelligibility? What do we have to believe is true for something to be intelligible?” The Presuppostionalist follows this line of thought:
- Knowledge is possible (Absolute truth exists)
- If there is no God, knowledge is not possible.
- Therefore, God exists.
Laws Of Logic And Worldview
In order to know anything at all, you start with God. Time and time again people argue against the existence of God all the while relying on a biblical worldview to support their own view. They deny the obvious when they try to argue against Him. Picture with me, a child being lovingly held by someone. Then picture that child continuously slapping the person in the face, all the while that person is the one supporting the child. Just as the child is fighting the person supporting him, the atheist uses laws of logic, created by God, to argue against Him. God is the only reason that anyone can make an argument of any kind. If we were created by random chance, there would be no reason for order or logic of any kind. There are laws of logic and language that we use to formulate sound arguments. Laws of logic are not material, they are abstract and absolute. An argument can be defined as a “series of assertions where the truth of one is asserted on the basis of others.” It`s an impossibility to have a sound argument against God without using the laws of logic that God has set in place. Everything that you know does assume the uniformity of nature. The moment an atheist tries to reason with a Christian, he has already lost the argument because he is assuming a biblical worldview.
Often in an argument, unbelievers want the Christian to begin on “neutral ground” by assuming that the Bible is not true. Neutrality is a myth, and if you agree to abandon the truth you have already lost your argument because no one can have a debate without presupposing a biblical worldview. No one comes to an argument without presupposing a worldview and either you are for God or you are against Him (Matthew 10:30). Proverbs 26:4-5 says, “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself, answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.” In other words, don’t argue like he wants you to argue, by assuming his worldview. What you should do is argue with the correct understanding of their worldview, to show them where they are wrong in their own worldview. In addition to making a sound argument, one of the most important aspects of apologetics is to speak the truth in love. A believer`s goal is not merely to win an argument, but to show them their need for our Savior Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:15).
A believer`s goal is not merely to win an argument, but to show them their need for our Savior Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:15).
The Truth Will Set You Free
In conclusion, you can know the truth and defend it effectively (John 8:31-32). God could’ve left us to ourselves without any proof or evidence of who He is, but He is kind enough to reveal Himself to us so that we can confidently give a reason for the hope that we have because of Jesus Christ. He has set laws of logic in motion and given us a mind to think logically so that we can be confident in Him (Genesis 1:1; Romans 1:18; Psalm 19; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21). God has given us a mind, emotions, and a will so that we can know Him and love Him (Genesis 1:26-27). He wants us to trust Him and He has given us ample evidence to show us that we should trust Him.
God desires that people know the truth about who He is. There are still people who have a wrong view of the world and they still don’t have access to God`s word. At Ethnos360 Bible Institute, we desire to be a part of God`s plan to reach all nations with the truth of the Gospel. The first step in training with Ethnos360 is two years of chronological Bible teaching at Ethnos360 Bible Institute. Request your free information packet today!