What is Apologetics? An Outline

  1. What is Christian apologetics?
    1. What Apologetics is Not
      1. The art of getting really good at saying, “I’m sorry!” over and over.
      2. The art of intellectually forcing unbelievers into submission holds MMA style.
      3. Arguing about how many angels can stand on a pin.
      4. Shaving your head and looking cool.
    2. A Definition of Apologetics
      1. “Apologetics is the branch of Christian theology which attempts to give a rational defense of the Christian faith.”
      2. Apologetics is giving a reason for why you believe what you believe.
      3. The English word “apologetics” comes from the Greek word apologia which means “to give a reason or defense” (1 Pet. 3:15).
      4. Apologetics is also called “pre-evangelism.”
      5. An “apologist” is someone who defends the Christian faith.
  2. Why should we do apologetics?
    1. The Bible Commands us to
      1. 1 Peter 3:15, “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence" (NASB).
        1. The importance of humility:  1 Cor. 8:1, “ . . . Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies.”
        2. The importance of love:  1 Cor. 13.
      2. Jude 3, “I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.”
        1. Jude 22, “And have mercy on some, who are doubting.”
        2. Apologetics is to be coupled with mercy and love.
    2. Jesus Did Apologetics
      1. Jesus gave evidence for His claims:
        1. His fulfillment of prophecy (Mk. 14:61-62; Lk. 24:44-45).
        2. His Miracles
          1. Resurrection: Prediction (Jn. 2:19-21; cf. Mt. 12:39-40) and Accomplishment (1 Cor. 15; Lk. 24:26-27).
          2. Healings (Mt. 11:2-5).
        3. Corrected false interpretations of Scripture (Mt. 4:1-11).
    3. Paul Did Apologetics
      1. Greeks at Mars Hill (Acts 17:22-34)
        1. Quotes pagan poets Aratus and Epimenides.
      2. Jews in the Synagogues (Acts 17:1-3)
      3. False teachers within the Church (Galatians, 1 Corinthians, etc.)
      4. Paul’s mission
        1. Phil. 1:7--“the defense and confirmation of the gospel.”
        2. Phil. 1:16--“I am appointed for the defense of the gospel.”
      5. Paul’s criteria for ordaining elders
        1. Titus 1:9, “Holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict" (cf. 2 Tim. 2:24).
    4. The Church Did Apologetics
      1. The Early Church with the Apostles
        1. The Apostle Paul:  Galatians and 1 Corinthians
        2. The Apostle John:  1, 2, and 3rd John
      2. The Early Church after the Apostles
        1. Apologists:  Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, etc.
        2. Heresies:  Gnosticism, Arianism, etc.
    5. Apologetics Helps Christians
      1. To better know their faith and share it more effectively.
      2. To answer people’s real questions which hinder them from accepting the gospel.
      3. To have influence in the public square (education, media, etc.).
      4. To prevent doctrinal apostasy in the Church.
      5. To answer the false claims of cults and religions . . .
  3. What are the different methods of Christian apologetics?
    1. Presuppositional Apologetics
      1. General Characteristics:
        1. Emphasizes the importance of presuppositions or the foundations of one’s thinking.
        2. Assumes the existence of God and the truth of the Bible.
      2. Adherents: John Frame, Greg Bahnsen, Cornelius Van Till, etc.
    2. Classical Apologetics
      1. General Characteristics:
        1. Stresses rational argumentation for the existence of God.
        2. It is necessary to demonstrate the existence of God first in order to argue for the resurrection of Jesus. (God must exist for miracles to occur).
      2. Adherents:  Norman Geisler, William Lane Craig, R.C. Sproul, etc.
    3. Evidential Apologetics
      1. General Characteristics:
        1. They emphasize giving evidence for the Christian faith whether historical, logical, etc.
        2. They think miracles do not presuppose God’s existence but can serve as evidence for His existence.
          1. Resurrection example
      2. Adherents:  B.B. Warfield, John Warwick Montgomery, Gary Habermas, etc.
    4. Which View is Correct?
      1. All of the views have practical advantages and are useful in certain circumstances.
        1. Presuppositional (2 Pet. 3:5)
        2. Classical (Rom. 1:20)
        3. Evidential (1 Cor. 15:3-7)
      2. It seems that Scripture makes use of all of them in a very generic sense.
      3. Make up your own mind.
  4. What are the various areas of Christian apologetics?
    1. 6 Areas of Apologetics
      1. Philosophical Apologetics
      2. Theological Apologetics
      3. Biblical Apologetics
      4. Scientific Apologetics
      5. Religion and Cult Apologetics
      6. Other Areas (History, Sociology, Business, etc.)
  5. Conclusion
    1. Since Christianity is a worldview, apologetics in some sense affects every aspect of life.
    2. The Bible commands it, Jesus did it, Paul did it, the early Church did it, and the world needs it.
    3. What are you going to do about it?
  6. Bibliography
    1. CARM.org Website.
    2. Cowan, Steven B. 5 Views on Apologetics.
    3. Geisler, Norman L.  Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics.