Some folks bristle at the word ‘apologetics’ like many bristle at the words taxes, politics, or kale. They disengage when they hear it. But the truth is that apologetics plays a larger role in our lives than we might like to admit. Simply put, apologetics is a defense. We like a good defense. How am I so sure? Look no further than many of our television programs. Law and Order, for example, had 20 seasons.
So why are people, Christians even, so turned off by apologetics? Part of the reason people are put off by apologetics in religion is that many see the two areas as opposed. Apologetics strives to make rational, defensible claims, while religion, in the minds of many, is emotion driven. The Christian life is not meant to be emotionless rule-following. God, as our creator, knows us. We have a relationship with Him, and our emotions play a part in our faith.
But the Bible is the guide and standard for the Christian life, not our emotions. This compiled set of documents is full of statements and claims that point to the importance of making a rational defense. From Paul to Peter, it is clear that we are to think and act rationally with regard to our faith. Notice the following passages:
“Brethren and fathers, hear my defense which I now offer to you.”(Acts 22:1)
“I answered them that it is not the custom of the Romans to hand over any man before the accused meets his accusers face to face and has an opportunity to make his defense against the charges.” (Acts 25:16)
“My defense to those who examine me is this:” (1 Corinthians 9:3)
“For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter.” (2 Corinthians 7:11)
“For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me.” (Philippians 1:7)
“At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them.” (2 Timothy 4:16)
“but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;” (1 Peter 3:15)
Clearly, the study of apologetics is important. We must learn to embrace our role as defenders of “the faith once delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3). We must also learn to balance our emotions with reason, to think critically concerning our beliefs and our understanding of God’s word.