Apologetics: Is it a Moral Responsibility for Christians?

Apologetics does not deal with excuses, but rather with answers. It means a defense of a particular stance on any given subject.  But how big a role should apologetics play in a Christian’s witness? Do we have to present a case for Christianity? Or are we simply called to preach the gospel?Certainly most Christians are aware of their responsibility to reach a dying world with God’s message. No less an authority than Jesus exhorts us to proclaim the Good News (Matt. 10:27) and make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19). However, there is another dimension often neglected in evangelism — namely, the defense of the Gospel. The very Bible which moves us to preach the Good News urges us to contend for the faith as well. Apologetics is neither an option left to the believer nor a late feature of the Christian faith. Rather, it is an essential element of Scripture.Writing in a world steeped in mystery cults, the Apostle Peter admonished believers to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have … with gentleness and respect” (1 Pet. 3:15 NIV). Only by meeting honest objections with biblical answers can “we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). It was in this spirit that Paul vigorously defended the Gospel, charging Timothy and Titus to do the same (2 Tim. 2:23-26; 4:2-5; Titus 1:9-14).The need for apologetics today is crucial and critical. Believers must realize that we are living in a post-Christian era, with a host of religions, cults, and occultic systems vying continuously for people’s commitments and, indeed, for their very lives. We must face these challenges head-on. Dr. John Warwick Montgomery, a prominent Christian scholar, keenly observes that apologetics does not replace faith but grounds it. Nor does it supplant the Spirit’s working but acts, instead, as a vehicle that clarifies the truth of God’s Word. The same verse that tells us to preach the Word also instructs us to “be prepared in season and out of season, [to] correct, [to] rebuke, and [to] encourage — with great patience and careful instruction” (2 Tim. 4:2).On Apologetics, that’s the CRI Perspective. I’m Hank Hanegraaff.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATIONFor more inofrmation on the role of apologetics in the Christian’s witness, please consult When Skeptics Ask (Victors Books) by Norman Geisler and Ronald Brooks (B241/$24), and (at the intermediate level) Reasonable Faith (Crossway Books) by William Lane Craig (B193/$16). These resources are available through CRI. For shipping and handling information, please call CRI or refer to our Resource Listing. To place a credit card order, call toll-free (888) 7000-CRI. To receive a free copy of our  Resource Listing, fax us at (704) 887-8299 or write us with your request at P.O. Box 8500, Charlotte, NC 28271.