Tim introduces a series of videos he’ll be presenting called “Why Apologetics?” that explains what apologetics is and why it’s so vital.
Some days, I wish I had a normal job.
Some days, I wish I had a normal job. It’s usually when I’m sitting in an airplane next to a stranger, and they ask the question, “What do you do for a living?” For me, there’s no short answer to that question. Some jobs are just self-explanatory. Everyone knows what a police officer is, or what a plumber is, or even what a pastor is, but most people don’t know what an apologist is. That includes people in the church. And even after you explain what an apologist is, they wonder why that’s actually a job, why people do that in the first place. In other words, why apologetics?
Now apologetics is not going around saying, “I’m so sorry I’m a Christian. Please forgive me.” No, no. We make other people sorry we’re Christians. No, we don’t do that either, okay? That’s just a joke. Simply put, Christian apologetics is a branch of theology that’s concerned with giving a reason or defense for the Christian faith.
Now there are two sub disciplines or categories of Christian apologetics. There’s positive and negative apologetics. Now positive apologetics involves giving an argument for Christianity. The emphasis is on offense, not defense. For example, we give arguments for God’s existence, or for the reliability of the Bible, or for the deity of Christ. On the other hand, there’s negative apologetics. And by negative, I don’t mean bad. Negative apologetics involves answering objections or challenges against Christianity. So this is defense, not offense. For example, we answer the problem of evil, or respond to alleged Bible contradictions, or defend against the charge of being called intolerant.
Now when you hear the word “apologetics,” I want you to think of a lawyer standing in front of a judge and jury giving defense for their position. He gives arguments and counter-arguments. He’s persuasive. That’s what apologists do. They’re making a case for their position.
Now in the sessions that follow, we’re not going to do apologetics proper. That is, we’re not going to make the case for Christianity. Instead, we’re going to make a case for making a case for Christianity. We’re going to give a defense for giving a defense for Christianity. We’re going to provide an apologetic for doing apologetics.
Now, this may come as a shock to you, but not everyone is a fan of apologetics. In fact, some in the church are outright hostile to apologetics. In his book, “The End of Apologetics: Christian Witness In a Post Modern Context,” the Anglican priest Myron Penner says this, "Apologetics itself might be the single biggest threat to genuine Christian faith that we face today." Remember those words. This book openly states, “This is a book about apologetics, or more precisely, it’s a book against apologetics.” The irony is Penner’s book does the very thing he’s arguing against. Specifically, he’s making a case in his book against making a case. It’s one big lousy apologetic against apologetics. This view is becoming more popular today. In fact, in 2014, Penner’s book received an award from Christian Today in the category of—get this—apologetics and evangelism.
Now when people ask me why we should engage in Christian apologetics, I have four broad responses. It’s actually an approach I learned from Dr. Norm Geisler at Southern Evangelical Seminary. Simply put, the Bible commands it, the culture demands it, the church needs it, and the results confirm it. Let’s explore together the case for Apologetics.