Alan shares how he uses apologetics in conversation.
I was recently asked, what is the role of apologetics? What is the value for the average Christian in studying apologetics? Is there any profit to doing so? This is a great question. I see apologetics not as an end in itself but rather a means to an end. In other words, when I’m talking to people who don’t share my faith convictions, for example, non-believers, I don’t bring up apologetic issues. It’s not like I start off by trying to talk about stem cell research, or abortion, or Islam, or homosexuality, or evolution. Rather, when I talk to someone who doesn’t share my faith, I want to present to them the gospel, Jesus Christ.
I’m an ambassador for Jesus, and I’m called to proclaim the message of reconciliation to these people, and so that’s what I do. That’s how I start off. Chances are, they’re not going to want to accept the message of reconciliation that God has. Chances are that they’ll have a reason why they don’t want to do that. Maybe it’s a misunderstanding about the nature of the gospel. Maybe it’s some beliefs they have about Christians—that they’re hypocrites or that to become a Christian means you have to hate your homosexual friends. Maybe they have some misunderstanding about some matter and so then they raise that as a concern as to why they won’t accept the gospel. That’s when I use my apologetics. That’s when I draw upon that knowledge.
These tools that I have help either clarify a misunderstanding they have or respond to an intellectual objection they might have. So you see, apologetics really is not an end in itself. It’s a means to an end. It’s for the purpose of helping to answer the reasons why somebody might not accept the gospel. So in other words, I see apologetics as removing obstacles that might be in the way of the gospel and allowing a person to come clearly to Jesus Christ. That’s why, if you care about the Great Commission, you should care about apologetics. Apologetics simply is the task and the study of understanding people’s reasons and concerns with the gospel and helping them to overcome those objections and those concerns so they can eventually accept Jesus Christ.