Guest Writer: Nathanael Elmshaeuser
Exegesis. Hermeneutics. Eschatology. Sounds fun, right? A lot of us have this same idea that apologetics is just another long word that means we’ll have to do even MORE study than we already do. I mean, do we really NEED apologetics? What’s the point of studying more science, history, and philosophy? I believe that there are many points that could be made surrounding this subject, but we’ll only be looking at a few of them.
I think that an important thing to note is that each of us uses apologetics of some form on a daily basis. Every single time you say “No, that’s not true,” or “I disagree,” you are entering the realm of apologetics. The word apologetics could strictly be defined as simply the defense of a belief. So, it seems that apologetics may not be as foreign to us as we may think. Every time we engage in conversation surrounding our worldview, we are becoming apologists of a certain belief. I think that it’s important to first realize that apologetics is much simpler than we may think. It is simply defending what we believe.
Now that we have noticed that apologetics is giving a defense, we need to look at why it is important to give a GOOD defense for our beliefs. Have you ever been engaging in some playful banter, when someone uses the phrase, “no you”? It is really annoying when you think of a perfectly designed burn, only to have someone reverse it with a simple “no you.” It is the same way with apologetics. If someone is asking you about your beliefs, and your default answer is “I just take it by faith,” it has the same effect as the “no you” response. People are going to ask us why we believe what we believe, and they’re going to want legitimate answers.
From what I have seen, I think that something even more important is that WE should want legitimate answers for what we believe. We should have this desire to know beyond any doubt that what we believe is true. Before we convince anybody, we first have to convince ourselves. This journey of apologetics begins with proving or refuting our beliefs to ourselves. If we continue to hold to these beliefs without first proving them to ourselves, how can we expect to reach others with our beliefs?
All of these reasons are important, but I think that there is one over-arching, ultimate, and, in the end, simple reason: God COMMANDS that we learn apologetics. In 1 Peter 3:15, we read “But sanctify the Lord your God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” Some other versions read “response” or “answer” in the place of “defense.” God has commanded us to always be ready to answer anyone who asks us about the hope we have in our Lord.
There are plenty of reasons to learn apologetics. In this age of truth-seeking and questioning, it is more important now than ever to be able to defend what we believe. And the best part is, learning apologetics does not require being a genius. You don’t need to be a debate master to be able to make a defense for your faith. Believe me, if it required being a genius, I couldn’t do it. Apologetics is made easy by such organizations as the Daily Apologist, Apologetics Press, and others. There are so many tools that can assist us in our defense of the faith.
I pray that we can come away from this with two things. I hope that we can now easily see the need for apologetics, and I pray that we now have a stronger motivation to learn WHY we believe what we believe. Not just because it will give us the answers, but that we can now bring the good news to the world more effectively.
“Just as bank tellers need a thorough knowledge of legitimate currency in order to spot counterfeit bills, so Christians need a thorough knowledge of the Bible in order to spot bogus religious teachings. How grounded are you in the Scriptures? How deep are your theological roots? How capable are you of detecting false teachings?” –Charles Swindoll