Apologetic seeks to give credible answers to curious questions, to give a defense. Why is apologetics important?
First of all, we’re commanded to do apologetics. The Bible says “always be prepared to give an answer to those who ask you for the hope that is within you” (1 Peter 3:15) We’re commanded to do apologetics. Not only that, it’s important because the non-believing world has got questions that really matter. What we want to do through apologetics is show that we love the world enough to not only hear their questions but help answer their questions.
Another reason apologetics is important is because sometimes Christians slip into doubts and they can struggle with doubts, just as the atheists can struggle with doubts, or the polytheists can struggle with doubts, or the deist or the finite godist. We all can struggle with doubts at different times in our life and apologetics can help us to process our doubts. Not only that, apologetics helps strengthen us as Christians by helping us to become theologically sound. It helps us to be pre-emptive before evangelism as we begin to grapple with and think through the kind of questions that will come our way. It’s really enriching but let me just turn the tables – the warnings of apologetics.
Apologetics can become detached from our hearts because we stuff our minds. Apologists sometimes can go for a quest of certainty and there is no such thing as certainty at this side of heaven. We have to leave some room for some mystery no matter what you believe. That’s the same thing for the atheist, that’s the same thing for the polytheist. There’s no one who knows all. We’re not omniscient so we have to beware that if we just cultivate our mind and fail to cultivate our heart, we could become detached and it will make us mean-spirit apologists and evangelists. So we want to make sure that we do integrative apologetics where we keep our hearts stuffed with Jesus and we fall passionately in love with Christ and we live spirit-filled lives and we remember that people matter and we’re not just trying to be data crunchers and information crunchers and we’re not trying to put God in a systematic box. But we also have to be careful when we’re doing apologetics that we remember that certainty is not reasonable. Finally, when it comes to doing apologetics, another warning that we have is we need to be careful that we don’t become isolationists, where all of a sudden all we do is sit around and study apologetics. We have to ask “for what?”. For the Great Commission. Apologetics aborted from evangelism is kind of futile. Yes, it can help us with our doubts but it’s selfish. There’s a world out there that needs answers to questions and I think we should be willing to go out and offer up some of those answers to the questions they have.