“Apologetics” isn’t the same as apologizing. “Apologetic” comes from a Greek word that means to make a defense or a response. It is a legal term, so imagine that you are the accused in a courtroom. The prosecutor lays out the case against you. After the prosecution rests, your attorney stands to make your defense—your apologetic. The word is used in the legal sense several times in scripture in Acts 22:1, 25:16, 1 Corinthians 9:6, and 2 Timothy 4:16.
When we talk about apologetics, we are talking about making the defense case for Christianity. How do you respond when someone asks you one of the hard questions about Christianity?
First Peter 3:13-17 describes a time when believers were persecuted for their faith. Peter instructs them, “Even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled.” He offers comfort for those difficult and changing times. Couched in the words of comfort are some simple instructions: “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness, and respect, having a good conscience…”
Our defense of Christianity has these main components:
FIRST – Living a Christ-honoring life. Righteous living in adverse circumstances is what caused outsiders to ask the hard questions in Peter’s day. Good living in our world should stimulate many conversations still today. Our lives should cause people to ask “WHY?”
SECOND – Having a reason for hope. Can you articulate why you have hope? Can you put your faith into words? They don’t have to be perfect or eloquent words, but you can say, “I live the way I live because Jesus rose from the grave!” When the world asks “WHY?” we answer “WHO!”
THIRD – Maintaining the right attitude. Peter made clear, give this answer with gentleness, respect, and a good conscience. When we respond to those who don’t yet believe in Jesus, we must answer with genuine kindness and confident humility. We have to be careful “HOW” we tell them about “WHO!”
Why, Who, and How are the three great questions of apologetics. Which one needs more attention in your life? All three will be part of our upcoming quarter of Sunday School at Burns Church of Christ on Sundays at 9. We’ve got special guest speakers Doug Couch, James Hinkle, and Joe Deweese helping with the class. I hope you’ll plan to join us!