Recently I was invited to be a guest at a new church by two friends. After the service I cornered the pastor and asked him what part Apologetics played in his vision for the Church. He thought for a moment, then thoughtfully replied.
“Apologetics… that’s where you reach out to non-believers with reasons for believing Christianity. There is a need for that, sure, but our emphasis here is to concentrate on supporting and strengthening the faith of those already in our congregation rather than converting nonbelievers.”
This response is typical of most pastors I’ve met. This isn’t a smear on this pastor or church leaders in general, nor a criticism of their intent, their hearts or their teaching! Most are faithfully doing what they see as their calling. The point is, the content and importance of Peter’s command in 1 Peter 3:15 is generally NOT understood!
I then asked him to consider the fact that supporting and strengthening the faith of Christians is the FIRST purpose of Apologetics! I also pointed out that Apologetics is more critical to reinforcing and stabilizing Christians than it is for reaching out to nonbelievers! If the congregation is taught THAT Christianity is true but not WHY it’s true we are not helping them to defend their faith! Especially Christian youth who are ripe for slaughter by the university predators lying in wait! We are losing 75% of our kids in this battle because WE don’t prepare them!
Without Apologetics the only way any pastor could protect his flock would be to isolate them from the rest of the world! But the purpose of the pastor is to equip the saints, not to isolate them! Besides, isolating Christians from the world to keep them “safe” doesn’t isolate them from themselves!
What do I mean by that?
Apologetics is a bridge, yes, and a defense against outside predators, but it is also preventative medicine, an inoculation against an autoimmune disease from which all Christians are in mortal danger: where we attack & destroy our own faith from the inside out. We inherited it from Adam, and the enemy who never sleeps watches for the opportunity to wake it from dormancy and give it fuel & strength. This civil war and internal strife is guaranteed for any thinking person if he is not inoculated by Apologetics!
No one is immune. You must know WHY you believe, not just THAT you believe.
That is why Jesus said:
“‘Love the lord your God with all your heart
and with all your soul and with all your MIND.’”
Matthew 22:37 [capitals/italics mine]
Are you interested in learning how to confidently face and defend your beliefs while living in the real world? Are you interested in answering questions that naturally arise in your own heart and mind, so that you can stand your ground and look in the mirror with confidence?
Then get involved! Join an Apologetics study at a local church, and if you can’t find one put it together yourself! Start SOMEwhere! And then DON’T STOP!
The life you save may be your own!
“Always be Prepared to Give an Answer”
1 Peter 3:15