Monday, November 2, 2015

Briefly Defining Christian Apologetics and its value for the Christian

Acts 17:10-11 "The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went intothe synagogue of the Jews. 11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so."

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."

Defining the term "apologetics"

In the opening text of today's post we see the mandate given by the Apostle Peter to defend the Christian's hope.  In fact the word translated "defense" is the Greek word "apologia" (a-po-lo-gee-a), from whence we derive the name of the branch of Christian theology called "apologetics".  When a Christian engages in apologetics, they are not saying they are "sorry" for being a Christian, rather they are given reasons to skeptical onlookers as to why they are so full of hope in an otherwise hopeless world.  Dr. R.C Sproul in a sermon entitled "apologetics" gives this definition of apologetics: "A well reasoned defense of the truth claims of the Christian faith." Any well rounded Christian should not only know "what they believe" but also "why they believe". 

In as much that apologetics deals with the defense of the Christian faith, it functions in an equal capacity of enriching the faith of those who already believe. The Bereans in Acts 17:11 we known as those who "searched the scriptures with great eagerness, examining the scriptures daily to see whether these things were so." Think about it. The Bereans were young Christians who lived among pagan people. They had learned early on to exercise discernment when listening to anyone. They knew the scrolls of scripture that would have been circulating around at that time. No one could fool them and undoubtedly their faith was enriched as a result of constant sharpening in the things of God. Apologetics has immense value for both evangelism and Christian growth. 

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