Apologetics is not about apologizing or giving excuses for why we believe what we believe. Christian apologetics specifically refers to giving a defense, a reasoned and logical one, for the faith and tradition of Jesus Christ. The word “apologetics” derives from the root word “apologia”, which is from the Greek language. “Apologia” in the Greek means to give a verbal defense or a reasoned statement of argument. One of the main Scriptural witnesses of the use of apologetics is in 1 Peter 3:15:
“but in the your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense (apologia) to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” 1 Peter 3:15 ESV
Another Scriptural reference is in Philippians 1:7 and 1:16:
“It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with my of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense (apologia) and confirmation of the gospel”
Philippians 1:7 ESV “The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense (apologia) of the gospel.” Philippians 1:16 ESV
Other references are found in Acts 22:1; 25:8,16.
Christian apologetics is about defending the faith, defensively and offensively, from all potential questions or critics who challenge the revelation of God, Christ, and the Bible. All categories of human experience can be used as an “apologia” such as science, philosophy, archeology, architecture, biology, mathematics, economics, politics, relationships, language, astronomy, and morality just to name a few that are applicable for an effective apologetic. From these above categories we derive various branches of apologetics such as:
- Presuppositional Apologetics – laws of logic, reason, language, consciousness, worldview, and epistemology (Julio’s favorite).
- Evidential Apologetics – historical, archeological, textual criticism (manuscript evidence and inerrancy), creation, and prophetic.
- Creation Apologetics – natural theology, biology, astronomy, laws of nature, and metaphysics.
- Experiential Apologetics – lives of the apostles and personal testimonies.
These four branches of apologetics can embody all categories of human experience. Therefore, let us first seek to sanctify the Lord Christ in our hearts that we may be an effective witness for the truth of God’s kingdom – with humility and respect.
Written by Julio Rodriguez and Ra Lovingsworth