The Need for Apologetics

Posted on May 6, 2011

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Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat. Apologetics does not mean saying “I’m sorry.” The term is derived from the greek word apologia, which is essentially a legal term. It means to give a defense or an answer to an accusation. In essence, you could say that it’s an explanation of why.

We see this word used three times in the New Testament (translated as defense), in relation to the Gospel.

1 Peter 3:15 NKJV

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always  be  ready to  give  a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;”

Philippians 1:7 NKJV

“just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace.”

Philippians 1:17 NKJV

“but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel.”

In a world where the Gospel is increasingly under attack by such means as evolution, anti-Biblical history, relative morality, relative truth, etc., the defense of the Gospel has become more necessary than ever. The believer needs to not only know what he believes, but why he believes it. Christians need to be able explain their faith in a way that the unbelieving world will understand, and that factually demonstrates the truth and authority of the Word of God. Sadly, this is the very thing that is lacking in so many churches today. There has developed such a pre-occupation with “relevance” that the church has become irrelevant to the Gospel, turning many preachers into motivational speakers, at the expense of “rightly dividing the Word of Truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). This has lead to many churches that look successful on the outside, but are really nothing more than social clubs. Is it any wonder that while the church appears to grow, it has actually lost most of its credibility?

That type of church is definitely not the example we find in the New Testament church. Instead, we constantly see the New Testament writers correcting false doctrine and demonstrating the truthfulness of the Word of God. Somewhere along the way, that emphasis began to change. It has resulted in churches full of “baby” Christians who are blown about by every wind of doctrine, and its time for the church (Christians) to get off the milk and grow up!

Hebrews 5:12-14 NKJV

“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need  someone  to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.  For everyone who partakes  only  of milk  is  unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.  But solid food belongs to those who are of full age,  that is,  those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

This lack of teaching has resulted in churches that no longer have any real influence, because most people have come to believe that truth is relative, rather than absolute. If Christians can’t demonstrate that the Word of God is THE truth, then we are needlessly losing souls to hell. We need to develop a true understanding of the Word of God, so that we can discern good from evil, and have the credibility to effectively reach the lost. After all, would you trust someone who can’t explain the reasons for their beliefs?

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