Apologetics is a term that is taken from apologia, which is the Greek word that means “to give a reason or defense.” Christian apologetics involves knowing why a belief is held and defending that belief from the Bible. Despite the sound of the word, it has nothing whatsoever to do with saying “I’m sorry” but is the art of sharing doctrine and why one believes it.
This defense of our faith is commanded in the Bible. 1 Peter 3:15 states, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” which is saying that every Christian should understand what he or she believes and be ready to answer questions about faith in God.
The first Christian apologetics recorded was that of the Apostle Paul, in the Bible, speaking to political leaders and the general public. After Paul, there were many others who engaged in Christian apologetics, including (but not limited to) Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Blaise Pascal, G. K. Chesterton, C. S. Lewis, Ravi Zacharias, R. C. Sproul.
There are several varieties or angles of apologetics. They are all contained under the umbrella designation of “Christian Apologetics” but are more specific.
- Biblical apologetics refer to the defense of the Scriptures, ranging from authors and inerrancy to books and canon. This includes such issues as the Gospels’ reliability, creation, and similar topics.
- Experiential apologetics discusses how actual experiences and the Holy Spirit’s influence support the Christian beliefs.
- Legal and historical evidence are showing how history supports the Biblical accounts.
- Moral apologetics indicate that morality is obligatory and man needs redemption because of his sinfulness. One of the most well-known examples of this type is the sermon by Jonathan Edwards entitled “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.”
- Philosophical apologetics mostly support God’s existence, though they do not necessarily focus on monotheism. The point of this type is that there is an intelligent designer that is a deity.
- Presuppositional apologetics is based in the Reformed doctrine that indicates that there is no neutral assumptions, but that presuppositions are not only existent but required for doctrinal discussion between those who are Christians and those who are not. It also holds that the Scriptures are irrefutable, with the understanding that non-Christians do not agree.
- Origins apologetics operate on the belief that the Bible does not contradict science but rather supports and is supported by it. This has given rise to several branches including Theistic Evolution which says that God created the basis but then everything evolved from there, the Gap Theory which says that God started creation but there was an indeterminate time between the creation of “heaven and earth” and the creation of the specific things mentioned in the next verses, and Creationist which can be Young Earth or Old Earth. Young Earth Creationism believes the earth to be about 6,000 years old, while Old Earth believe that the earth is as old as science assumes.
There are many resources to aid in understanding and using apologetics. These range from college courses to books and videos. Some of them are listed below.
Where to Buy
Students and non-clergy Christians will find this resource excellent for the basis of apologetics, including how to approach it and why it is needed. The tone of this book is conversational, which aids in ease of reading and understanding.
Arranged alphabetically, the text is similar in appearance to an encyclopedia. This comprehensive book covers a huge variety of topics that include nearly every concept, person, issue, as well as Scripture, current issues, and more.
This book contains charts that include topics and proofs in several different types of apologetics.
This textbook covers key arguments and is very thorough in the defense of Christianity’s tenets. The author offers alternate perspectives and discusses them.
For skeptics and those who believe there is little or no evidence of God, this book answers questions and doubts in a practical and insightful way.
This book presents questions that are often asked about Christianity and then proceeds to answer them with evidence. It is readable and engaging, full of truth and supporting sources.
This Bible includes apologetics right in with the text, which is the Christian Standard Bible translation. Full color maps give clarity to locations and articles about topics are sprinkled throughout the book to teach further about concepts and topics.
This book discusses a wide variety of topics, arranged into 16 chapters divided into five parts, each with its primary topic. Each chapter begins with an outline of the chapter that allows readers to find the topic desired easily; an alphabetical index in the back also aids in finding particular topics.
Because people are different, there are different ways to reach them with the gospel. This book starts with an introduction and moves into arguments and proofs to answer questions about Christianity.
Where to Buy
Ravi Zacharias arranged a variety of challenges and wisdom into 52 sections, making it perfect for a year-long study of Bible truth.
This book is geared to help Christian parents equip their children with the skill of forming and supporting their own beliefs; to learn and understand how to separate truth from fiction.
The questions answered are the nitty-gritty hard questions that people ask, based on a survey of a thousand Christian people. Ten questions were selected and answered comprehensively.
Both skeptics and believers can have doubts or questions about Christianity. This book uses life, literature, philosophy, and reason to examine these doubts and questions and answer them definitively.
This introduction to the foundations of Christian apologetics looks at history, objections, approaches, and more. This book is ideal for those who are just beginning with apologetics.
These video lectures are by Paul Gould and teach practical ways to engage with the world culturally to support Christian beliefs.
Preparing Young Christians for a Challenging World, this video DVD teaches basic apologetics.