mardi 9 octobre 2012

The Case For Apologetic

You probably know by now how much i love Christian apologetic. Well, today i am not going to make the case for it, but i'll quote few statements from Brian Auten.
What is Apologetics?
The word apologetics comes from the Greek word apologia, which is found seventeen times in the New Testament. It can be translated as “a defense,” and is a judicial term implying a reasoned argument, vindication, or defense. In its original use, the term apologia referred to a legal defense given in response to an accusation. In modern usage, the term apologetics takes on a larger scope of meaning. Christian philosopher William Lane Craig presents a concise definition of apologetics in its contemporary form:

Apologetics is that branch of Christian theology which seeks to provide a rational justification for the truth claims of the Christian faith. […] apologetics specifically serves to show to unbelievers the truth of the Christian faith, to confirm that faith to believers, and to reveal and explore the connections between Christian doctrine and other truths.1
Three Basic Functions of Apologetics
First, apologetics is used in a proactive way to prove the truth of Christianity and to persuade unbelievers to believe. This may involve arguments from history, philosophy, science, culture, logic, and testimony, among others. The purpose is simply to build a reasonable case to persuade the unbeliever. Removing intellectual stumbling blocks is a key element. “Apologetic argument may not create belief, but it creates the atmosphere in which belief can come to life.”3

Second, apologetics is used defensively when criticism or attack comes against the Gospel. Inevitably, Christianity will be attacked. However, apologetics defends the faith by providing a rational and reasonable basis for belief and contending for the truth. Defensive apologetics can guard the Church from false doctrine by refuting error and exposing false teaching. The Church has the opportunity to gain a more robust faith when the Gospel is strongly defended against opposition. Martin Luther noted that when the Gospel is attacked, it has an opportunity to gain strength:

If the devil were wise enough and would stand by in silence and let the gospel be preached, he would suffer less harm. For when there is no battle for the gospel it rusts and it finds no cause and no occasion to show its vigor and power. Therefore, nothing better can befall the gospel than that the world should fight it with force and
Third, apologetics strengthens the faith of believers. Just as there are attacks upon the Gospel itself, there are times when the faith of individual believers is tested and tried. This may come from voices of doubt, worldly influences, personal crises, or any number of other sources. However, apologetics can play a key role in anchoring the faith of a Christian when faced with times of doubt. This anchoring also allows for the Christian to be a bolder witness to the world, as he is prepared for all kinds of common objections he may face from unbelievers.
The Biblical Mandate for Apologetics
Not only does the New Testament show many examples of apologetics, it also commands believers to use apologetics. As the first apologist at Pentecost, the apostle Peter appropriately presents a mandate for apologetics to all believers:
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; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. (emphasis added, 1 Peter 3:15,16 NASB)
The command for believers is that we always be ready with apologetics. Christians should be able to give reasons why they believe. Shall a Christian obey the command to sanctify Christ as Lord, but disobey the command to be ready to make a defense? The context of Peter’s command implies that apologetics goes hand-in-hand with a godly character and lifestyle, which are a testimony to unbelievers.

In his exhortation to the Colossian church, the apostle Paul emphasizes the importance of apologetics as part of a godly example to unbelievers: “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Colossians 4:5,6) Giving an answer to those who ask is part or making the most of every opportunity to share the Gospel.

When listing the requirements for church overseers, Paul adds the skills of an apologist to the list. “He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.” (Titus 1:9) Refuting doctrines that oppose the Gospel is part of the apologetic task, as it defends the Gospel from corruption. Jude makes this point plainly in his epistle: “Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” (Jude 3 NIV) Jude’s letter continues in a defense against false teaching that was threatening the church.


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