Too often people suppose the task of apologetics to be the exclusive domain of scholars and theologians. Not so! The defense of the faith is not optional. It is basic training for every Christian. And that means you!
First, the Bible informs us that apologetics is not just a nicety; it is a necessity for every believer. Writing in a world steeped in mystery cults, the apostle Peter admonished believers to “always be prepared to give an answer [apologia] to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15). As such, Paul vigorously defended the gospel (Acts 17:15–34; 18:4) and charged Timothy and Titus to do the same (2 Timothy 2:23–26; 4:2–5; Titus 1:9–14).
Furthermore, apologetics is necessary for the preservation of the faith. Not only must the church defend against objections from without, she must also guard against false teachings from within. Thus, Paul admonishes Timothy to “preach the Word, be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths” (2 Timothy 4:2–4). Defending essential Christian doctrine against perversions by pseudo–Christian cults is a crucial task of the Christian apologist.
Finally, apologetics is necessary for the cultural relevance of the church. In a post–Christian society in which theism is no longer en vogue and belief in the possibility of miracles is viewed as simpleminded superstition, apologetics creates intellectual room for the acceptance of the gospel. In place of merely pontificating dogmatic assertions, Christian apologists are commanded to provide defensible arguments “with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).
For further study, see J. P. Moreland, Love Your God with All Your Mind:The Role of Reason in the Life of the Soul (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2007); see also Hank Hanegraaff and Tom Fortson, 7 Questions of a Promise Keeper (Nashville: J. Countryman, 2006).
“Dear friends, although I was very eager to write
to you about the salvation we share, I felt
I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith
that was once for all entrusted to the saints.”