Why We Need Apologetics

For the longest time I used to think tracts were a horrible way of evangelizing and reaching out non-believers. To me it seemed confronting and ineffective. In fact I had never heard of a person that had come to Christ from reading a tract, I only heard stories of people being annoyed even angered by the flyers. That all changed when I was in Nepal and I met pastor Meg. Long story short, Meg was at the end of his rope and found himself digging through trash for food. He found a tract and after reading it over he dedicated his life to Christ and now is a pastor in Nepal.

The reason I start with this is I know there are a lot of people who believe that apologetics is ineffective in reaching people and perhaps even more damaging than helpful. Thinking of Meg I would first offer to say, God can work in ways that you may not think are ineffective.

Furthermore, I would challenge the belief that apologetics is ineffective. I’ve been a part of a apologetics ministry called Ratio Christi for only about six months and we have one student who has already come to the Lord from the work we are doing. Many very well known Christians have come to the Lord as the result of apologetic related conversations, C. S. Lewis, Josh McDowel, Lee Strobel, and others. Granted many of these many are champions of Apologetics so it may seem this argument is circular, but I would say they are champions of apologetics because it was the way the Lord reached them, and perhaps they would have never known the Lord otherwise.

I know many object to apologetics because they feel that it is confrontative or combative, and as a result unloving. My question ‘where does this non-confrontive, non-combative evangelism play out in the Gospels and Epistles?’ Frankly, I don’t see it. Jesus is very combative with the Pharisees and Sadducees. Paul also doesn’t shy away from some argument and confrontation. I know argument and debate is uncomfortable for a lot of people but just because it isn’t comfortable doesn’t mean it’s wrong. In fact some of the best and most important things in life are uncomfortable. In fact our greatest leaders are the ones that were doing apologetics for what they believed in. Martin Luther King argued and debated with others, he reasoned with them. Gandhi, William Wallace,  Winston Churchill, they all lived lives of confrontation. It was because of that confrontation that they are the leaders that we look up to now.

Think of you’re greatest heroes, where would they be without defending what they believed in? Would you really call them your hero anymore? Apologetics is the Greek word for defense. So anyone that you look up to that has defended something, verbally, physically or otherwise is an apologist. So if you have this problem with apologetics perhaps you should think over what you really have a problem with a bit more. Just a thought.

2 thoughts on “Why We Need Apologetics

  1. There is certainly a population that is reached with apologetics – I am one. At the same, there seem to be people that find it either boring (my wife) or are not receptive to its arguments. That doesn’t stop God expanding His kingdom – whether it be through a word preached, an act of service, a powerful testimony, a miracle, or perhaps just a warm smile from a faithful believer. It seems like God will go anywhere and use any tool to reclaim his “lost sheep.” Perhaps my personal testimony is so heavily doused in apologetics because my personal objections revolved around “science” that I believed indicated God was a foolish fantasy. When my mother-in-law gave me I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist (Turek and Geisler), it opened my eyes that there was actually more evidence pointing towards a creator than against. I will say, however, that predating the book I had a powerful experience where I was almost knocked to my knees (with an embarrassing waterfall of tears spouting from my eyes) as the Holy Spirit began to knock on the empty space on my heart. To me that just says that God is always part of the equation. Great article!

    • Thanks for the encouragement Nicolas. It is so great to hear about all the ways that God uses to reach out to his sheep. I am so happy to hear that God found a way with you and encouraged to know that apologetics continues to be a tool God uses to reach others as I train myself more and more in defending the faith.

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