How relevant is apologetics today? How big a role should apologetics play in a Christian’s witness? And, above all, is apologetics biblical? Let us briefly consider these questions.
To see just how relevant apologetics is today, we need only take a quick survey of the world around us. Whether we look at the world on a global scale or merely peek into our own little “neck of the woods,” it certainly doesn’t take long to realize that we are being inundated with a plethora of beliefs and ideologies. From secular humanism to New Age mysticism, people everywhere are being bombarded with an onslaught of false ideas and world views.
What makes this false world views so appealing is their apparent capacity to make sense of the universe in which we live. Each respective world view purports to give the correct account of reality, thereby giving people some point of reference by which to order their lives. And it’s fair to say that world views affect practically every aspect of a person’s life.
Consider, for example, a person with a humanistic/atheistic world view. Since such a person considers mankind to be “the measure of all things,” he or she believes that we need only turn to human ingenuity and wisdom to supply every needed answer.
What is the Christian’s responsibility in the face of these competing world views? Certainly, most Christians are aware of their responsibility to reach a dying world with God’s message. No less an authority than Jesus exhorts us to proclaim the Good News (Matt. 10:27) and make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19). However, the same Bible that compels us to preach the Good News urges us to contend for the faith as well (Jude 3). Apologetics is thus not a mere option left to the believer. Rather, it should be an essential element of the believer’s life.
Writing in a world steeped in mystery cults, the apostle Peter admonished believers to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have…with gentleness and respect” (1 Pet. 3:15 NIV). Only by meeting honest objections with biblical answers can we “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). It was in this spirit that Paul vigorously defended the gospel (Acts 26:1-2; Phil. 1:7, 16), charging Timothy and Titus to do the same (2 Tim. 2:23-26; 4:2-5; Titus 1:9-14).
Using apologetics, Christians can show that the Christian world view is consistent, coherent, and corresponds to reality over and above all other competing world views. Apologetics also shows that Christianity is both spiritually and intellectually fulfilling and that Christianity is nothing less than the truth (John 17:17).
The number of people hungry for sound answers is not diminishing. And because of this, we need to be more committed than ever uphold, defend, and promote the historic orthodox Christian faith, through which alone salvation is offered to humanity.
Is apologetics still relevant today? In my thinking, apologetics has never been more relevant than it is today. As believers, we are called to spread the “good news,” of Christ’s death and resurrection. We should tell others about how we are saved by grace through faith. Our home, schools, cities, and nation need us to master apologetics.