Tips Related to Apologetics
Apologetics (apologia in Greek) has to do with giving a reasoned defense or answer to the hope that is within us. The idea comes from 1 Peter 3:15 -
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,
Recently, during a Q&A at one of the PMc Missions Webinars, we received a question related to apologetics. I appreciated the question because I have been greatly blessed in the last couple of years as I have studied presuppositional apologetics more in-depth. It has given me a huge boost of confidence when it comes to evangelism.
This particular apologetic cuts to the heart of the matter - to worldviews and presuppositions. It helps you to take any and every argument raised up against the Lord and help opponents of the faith to see the absurdity of their own worldview. The reality is that every opponent of the faith is required to borrow from the Christian worldview simply to argue at all against the faith... How so? Without the Christian worldview, there is no foundation on which to stand that enables one to justify the use of logic, reason, morality, uniformity of nature, etc... In other words, without knowing the God of the Bible, the only One who knows all things, we cannot know with certainty that we know anything at all.
Today I want to share a couple of tips (and resources) for anyone wanting to grow in faithfulness in the Lord by being a better defender of the Christian faith.
TIP 1 - Give time to mastering apologetics, especially the presuppositional apologetic
I already mentioned above why you may be interested in this particular apologetic. In addition, it's worth mentioning that this apologetic is the one that doesn't require you to memorize all the facts and pieces of evidence. (it's good, in any case, to know the facts and pieces of evidence too). When you properly master this apologetic, you will be able to get to the heart of the matter and then proclaim the Gospel and the need to respond with repentance and faith for salvation. When simply sharing facts and pieces of evidence, opponents of the faith will always have ways to justify why not to believe them, but this apologetic quite literally takes the ground out from under them. No one can repent and believe unless the Spirit works regeneration, but this method does indeed bring the person to a proper conclusion - the absurdity of unbelief. It helps you to show them how they are indeed a believer in God that is actively suppressing the truth.
Here are a few trustworthy recommendations to grow your knowledge of this:
Books to read:
Gospel Reset by Ken Ham [entry]
The Ultimate Proof of Creation by Dr. Jason Lisle [mid]
Always Ready by Dr. Greg Bahnsen [entry-mid]
Discerning Truth by Dr. Jason Lisle [mid]
A Justification of Belief by Dr. John Frame [advanced]
Presuppositional Apologetics: Stated and Defended by Dr. Greg Bahnsen [advanced]
Lectures to watch or listen to:
Dr. Greg Bahnsen on the Canon+ app (this app is subscription based but a huge blessing and worth every penny)
Dr. Greg Bahnsen at Bahnsen U - Apologia Studios (with a free subscription you can have access to hundreds of his seminary lectures)
TIP 2 - Don't get lost in it
Apologetics is simply to give a reasonable defense of the faith so that you can evangelize. It helps us to get their attention so they can have the occasion to hear the gospel from us. It opens the door so we can inform them how they fall short and are in need of salvation, and so we can tell them how to be saved.
We shouldn't just do apologetics to do apologetics. If we do, we may end up just going around in circles while we give answers and make ourselves look good. Instead, we are to utilize it as a tool in evangelism. Don't get that mixed up. Apologetics and evangelism go together, almost like two sides of the same coin.
TIP 3 - Make it a part of discipleship too
Apologetics is primarily, as I see it, for evangelism, but not only. It is of utmost importance for all Christians because all Christians are called not just to evangelize (to some degree), but also to make disciples. Too many times I have heard stories of people leaving the faith because they had good questions that no one could answer...
A solid apologetic (like the presuppositional mentioned in this post) dramatically reduces the likelihood of people walking away from the faith. On the contrary, it turns everyday disciples into well-armed citizens in the Kingdom of God. In this way, they are equipped to love God and their neighbor by defending the only truth that truly sets others free - the gospel.
How well-equipped do you feel in the practice of defending the faith?
How much time have you given to growing in this area?
Let me encourage you, brother or sister, to give time to this critical task. The sad state of our world today is in a great part a result of not enough of God's people having a solid apologetic.
Are you considering serving as a missionary, either short-term or long-term? Don't overlook the study of apologetics! Are you discipling others or raising kids to know the Lord? Don’t overlook the study of apologetics!
Written by Jesse Schreck | founder, director, and missionary with Practical Missions Cohort
Adapted from the Q&A