This will be the first of a few posts (hopefully) about apologetics and properly defending Christianity. Some of the thoughts I share may seem as if I am shooting at my fellow Christians when I critique their arguments. My intent is not merely to knock everyone else down in an attempt to exalt my own theory but to show that in our defense of the faith we have made errors and must critique ourselves as well as our opponents. If we are seekers of truth then we should be willing to change when our own failures are shown.
Now, after my usual disclaimer has been made (sorry, don’t know why I always do that) let’s get to the meat.
Before discussing how to do apologetics correctly it should be established that it is our duty to defend the faith. By the way that is what apologetics is. A defense of the faith. I won’t spend a lot of time on this because I don’t think there are many who would disagree with the statement that when the faith is attacked we should defend it.
“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;” 1 Pet. 3:15
“Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,” 2 Cor. 10:5
So giving a defense for our hope when asked is a command. Also these scriptures show that our warfare is to cast down the arguments that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God and thus against God Himself. Beyond this we do see a theme in scripture that commands us to stand fast on the side of our God when He is attacked. I would extend that to the realm of the intellect. When an atheist advances an argument against God we are to cast that argument down.
Why do apologetics? It is surely not to convince them of God’s existence. Romans 1 clearly teaches that they already know that. In that same vein it is not to convince the honest agnostic that perhaps He is mistaken. We must understand that biblically man knows God is real and even more than that. “Knowing the righteous judgment of God”, Romans says, teaching that man knows that God is Righteous and the judge they will be held accountable. So the position of apologetics is not to convince men of these truths but rather I believe to silence their mouths before the truth of the gospel. They are without excuse and our job is to proclaim the gospel to them. That is the means that God has chosen to save men. But when they move to attack the God that made them our job is to shut their mouths by showing the bankruptcy of their position. Then all the more clearly the truth of God will shine.
So now we have been thru what I see to be the biblical mandate and our general motivation in doing apologetics. The next post will outline the Classical method Christians have taken to defend the faith and some of the problems with that methodology.