Hello, and welcome to the Anthem blog. My name is Louis Swingrover and I will be one of the authors of this particular category of posts. Today we’ll be talking about what apologetics is and how it will benefit you.
What is Apologetics?
The term “Apologetics” comes from the Greek word for “defense” used in 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” (ESV). This word is “ἀπολογία” in Greek (pronounced “apologia”). It is the same word from which we get our word “apology”, although giving a good apology in the modern sense of the word requires one to admit the wrong one has done, take responsibility for it, accept the consequences, and commit oneself not to do it again. The sense in which this word is used in 1 Peter is not like that at all. Rather, it carries legal connotations. There is an ancient Greek book that uses this same word, called “The Apology”, in which the author, Plato, tells the story about the speech Socrates gave as a legal defense of himself when he was accused of corrupting the youth of Athens. To give an apology, or defense, of one’s beliefs or actions is to provide good reasons for believing or doing them. In this column we will be exploring Christian apologetics, which is to say that we will be discussing the rational grounds for Christianity.
How Apologetics Will Benefit You
Exploring the rational grounds for your faith will benefit you in several ways:
- Deepen Your Wisdom
- Intensify Your Worship
- Strengthen Your Defense Against Temptation
- Embolden Your Evangelism
- Season the Culture
1. Deepen Your Wisdom
As you study to improve your ability to give a rational defense for the hope that is within you, you will grow in your knowledge and in your ability to reason. You will become wiser.
2. Intensify Your Worship
We are told to love the Lord our God with all of ourselves—heart, soul, mind, and body. Studying apologetics is a way to love God with our minds, which is an act of worship. Moreover doing so very often serves to intensify our affection for the God who created the world, guides history, and died for us and for our salvation.
3. Strengthen Your Defense Against Temptation
The human heart is very fickle and when our hearts are tempted our minds have to be ready to keep them in check. I know personally when my heart-level faith is weak, thinking through the reasons for my faith can be very helpful in resisting temptation.
4. Embolden Your Evangelism
When you share your faith in Christ you will feel much more confident if you know that you have good answers at the ready just in case certain questions come up.
5. Season the Culture
As more and more Christians return to the intellectual roots of the Christian faith and begin to engage the broader culture with gentleness and respect it will help the world to see Christianity as an intellectually respectable option.
Thank you for reading, and stay tuned. I will soon be providing a general overview of Christian apologetics to help you start to get a big picture understanding of the field.