There are four core reasons why I believe that Christian apologetics (giving reasonable justifications for embracing the Christian faith, as well as defending it against challenges) is important. They are thusly:
1. The Bible Commands It.
Firstly, the Bible commands it and as a result we are obligated to defend the Christian faith. Jesus himself authenticated his own status by urging people to consider his works. John the Baptist, the very man who baptized Jesus and saw the heavens open, doubted Jesus (Mat. 11:3, Luke 7:19). Jesus instructed some men to “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor” (Luke 7:21). Jesus responded to John’s doubt by affirming what everyone saw. He used evidence to convince John. Even the Apostle Paul in Acts reasoned with unbelievers and gave evidence for the gospel by appealing to creation and the facts surrounding Jesus’ life and resurrection. Also both Jude 3 and 1 Peter 3:15 explicitly command us to contend for the faith by giving a rational answer to those who question us. Apologetics is a biblical imperative.
2. Apologetics Answers Difficulties.
Secondly, apologetics helps remove obstacles to faith for many seekers. This would aid unbelievers in their consideration of the gospel. Those who stand for Jesus have a responsibility to defend the gospel message, and especially now in our contemporary climate where antithetical worldviews propose challenges to Christian belief. Certainly, I also believe, the Spirit is involved here as he can use evidence to convict people of the truth of the gospel message. But independent of the activities of the Holy Spirit the Christian still has a biblically commanded responsibility to know what she believes, to give a reason for why she believes what she does, and to use reason and logic to convince those who are not believers.
3. Strengthening of One’s Faith.
A third reason for apologetics is that it can strengthen the faith of believers in two noticeable ways. Firstly, it can give the Christian much needed confidence that their faith is true and reasonable. Such a faith encourages the seeking of understanding. Secondly, apologetics also can encourage a Christian’s own spiritual growth. This would depend on what a person is able to see in scripture and in the world around her. Many people cannot see God’s work in the world or understand and appropriate certain features of the Bible because they have not been trained to see those patterns. Instead, they view the world through a secular perspective; something that could very well suffocate spiritual growth. Apologetics can review this secular perspective and in in turn question its credibility and coherency. This may very well show that reality is more compatible with a Christian worldview than the secular one.
4. Its Contribution to Culture.
Fourth, apologetics may contribute to the health of our culture. This is because apologetics touches on things like human value, morality, life after death etc. Thus effective, convincing, rational apologetics may contribute to a general cultural perception which demonstrates that moral and religious issues are not of mere subjective taste but rather are areas where truth and rational argument are appropriate. This brings certain significant subjects (abortion, greed, for example) to the fore in public debate.
Therefore, I think, in conclusion, these four brief reasons show us why apologetics is a necessity for thinking Christians in an age where many confront Christian truth. Renowned Christian apologist and professional philosopher William Lane Craig explains this importance:
“If Christians could be trained to to provide solid evidence for what they believe and good answers to unbelievers’ questions and objections, then the perception of Christians would slowly change. Christians would be seen as thoughtful people to be taken seriously rather than as emotional fanatics or buffoons. The gospel would be a real alternative for people to embrace” (1).
1. Craig, W. 2010. On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision. p. 18.