Apologetics

"Apologetics (from the Greek apologia: a defense) is that branch of Christian theology which seeks to provide a rational justification for the truth claims of the Christian faith."[1] This is essential, especially in today's post-Christian or "postmodern" worldview (although we are not postmodern in the strictest sense). The famous Princeton theologian J. Gresham Machen said in an article entitled “Christianity and Culture,” "False ideas are the greatest obstacles to the reception of the Gospel. We may preach with all the fervor of a reformer and yet succeed only in winning a straggler here and there, if we permit the whole collective thought of the nation to be controlled by ideas which prevent Christianity from being regarded as anything more than a harmless delusion... So as Christians we should try to mold the thought of the world in such a way as to make the acceptance of Christianity something more than a logical absurdity.[2] This is also where polemics comes in. Polemics is defined as "an aggressive attack on or refutation of the opinions or principles of another, as in denouncing heresy."[3]

Unfortunately, as William Lane Craig put it, "American churches are filled with Christians who are idling in intellectual neutral. As Christians, their minds are going to waste."[4] Apologetics help to build up the faith of believers and gives confidence in evangelism. However, unbelief is rooted in a spiritual problem, not an intellectual problem.

We have a clear Scriptural mandate to defend our faith vigorously. “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” (1 Peter 3:15b-16 NIV).

It was also customary for Paul to defend the faith:

"And Paul went in, as was his custom, and for three weeks he argued with them from the scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead. . . . So he argued in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the market place every day with those who chanced to be there. . . . And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, arguing and pleading about the kingdom of God. . . . And he expounded the matter to them from morning till evening, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the law of Moses and from the prophets. And some were convinced by what he said, while others disbelieved. (Acts 17:2–3, 17; 19:8; 28:23–4 RSV)

I plead with you to get out of neutral (which is actually reverse) and start learning. This will build up your faith and then enable you to share your faith with others. Otherwise, you are wasting your life because this is the only thing that matters and it is eternal. Not only that, you will be rewarded for your faith in heaven and those that you pointed in the right direction. So apologetics are essential and this website will help you a great deal. Also, find a church that has apologetic classes so you can take some classes as you are able. Lastly, get some books from your local Christian bookstore or library and take your understanding and faith to a new level! Some resources are listed at the end of this article below.

FOOTNOTES:

1. Craig, William Lane. Reasonable Faith (3rd Edition), pg 15.
2. J. Gresham Machen, “Christianity and Culture,” Princeton Theological Review 11 (1913): 7.
3. Ron Carson & Ed Decker. Fast Facts on False Teachings, pg. 7.
4. Craig, William Lane. Reasonable Faith (3rd Edition), pg 20.

SUGGESTED READING:

General Apologetics
* Boa, Kenneth, and Larry Moody. I'm Glad You Asked
* Carroll, Vincent, and David Shiflett. Christianity on Trial: Arguments Against Anti-Religious Bigotry
* Copan, Paul. How Do You Know You're Not Wrong? Responding to Objections That Leave Christians Speechless
* Craig, William Lane. Hard Questions, Real Answers
* Frame, John M. Apologetics to the Glory of God: An Introduction
* Geisler, Norman L. Christian Apologetics
* Geisler, Norman L., and Ronald Brooks. When Skeptics Ask: A Handbook on Christian Evidences
* Keller,Timothy. The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism (Penguin, 2008)
* Lewis, C.S. Mere Christianity
* McGrath, Alister E. Intellectuals Don't Need God and Other Modern Myths
* Moreland, J.P. Scaling the Secular City: A Defense of Christianity
* Rhodes, Ron. The Complete Book of Bible Answers: Answering the Tough Questions
* Rhodes, Ron. The Truth Behind Ghosts, Mediums, and Psychic Phenomena
* Samples, Kenneth R. Without a Doubt: Answering the Twenty Toughest Faith Questions
* Sampson, Philip J. Six Modern Myths about Christianity and Western Civilization
* Sproul, R.C. Defending Your Faith: An Introduction to Apologetics
* Sproul, R. C. Reason to Believe: A Response to Common Objections to Christianity
* Strobel, Lee. The Case for Faith: A Journalist Investigates the Toughest Objections to Christianity
* Zacharias, Ravi, and Norman Geisler, eds. Who Made God? And Answers to Over 100 Other Tough Questions of Faith

Apologetics Dictionaries
* Geisler, Norman L. Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics
* McGrath, Gavin, and W.C. Campbell-Jack, eds. New Dictionary of Christian Apologetics

Apologetics Methods
* Boa, Kenneth D., and Robert M. Bowman Jr. Faith Has Its Reasons: An Integrative Approach to Defending Christianity
* Cowan, Steven B., ed. Five Views on Apologetics
* Follis, Bryan A. Truth with Love: The Apologetics of Francis Schaeffer
* Sproul, R.C., John Gerstner, and Arthur Lindsley. Classical Apologetics
* Van Til, Cornelius. Defense of the Faith
Athiesm
* Boa, Kenneth D., and Robert M. Bowman. Twenty Compelling Evidences That God Exists: Discover Why Believing in God Makes So Much Sense
* Geisler, Norman L., and Frank Turek. I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Athiest
* McGrath, Alister E. The Twilight of Athiesm: The Rise and Fall of Disbelief in the Modern World
* McGrath, Alister E., and Joanna Collicutt McGrath. The Dawkins Delusion? Athiest Fundamentalism and the Denial of the Divine
* Rhodes, Ron. Answering the Objections of Athiests, Agnostics, and Skeptics
* Zacharias, Ravi. Can Man Live Without God
* Zacherias, Ravi. The Real Face of Athiesm

The Bible
* Blomberg, Craig L. The Historical Reliability of the Gospels
* Bruce, F.F. The Canon of Scripture
* Bruce, F.F. The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?
* Cabal, Ted, ed. The Apologetics Study Bible
* Geisler, Norman L., and Thomas Howe. When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties
* Metzger, Bruce M., and Bart D. Ehrman. The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration
* Ridderbos, Herman. The Authority of the New Testament Scriptures


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