Today, we have a guest post written by Eric Lloyd. He is passionate about apologetics and writes some thought provoking post on his blog called Stand Therefore. You can also find him on twitter. In this post, he gives us a threefold reason for the necessity of apologetics.

The Apologetics Statement of Purpose
To borrow from C.S. Lewis, “I believe in God like I believe in the sun. Not because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” [1] This, the inner witness of the Holy Spirit, is certain confirmation of our faith (Romans 8:15, Galatians 4:6). However those of us who are privileged with this confirmation, should not stagnate in it (Matthew 25:14-29). As Ravenhill once said, “If your desire is only to be saved, sanctified and satisfied, then the Lord’s battle hath no need of thee.” [2] The general purpose of the Christian then, and the Apologist in particular, is to join the battle in a threefold manner, by 1) Fortifying the foundations 2) Defending the faith and 3) Advancing the cause.

Fortifying the Foundations
To every believer the charge has been given; “earnestly contend for the faith that was once delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3). Today, this charge may be of even more applicability than when originally penned. Inclusivism, relativism and loosely-held doctrines have done their part in creating a vaguely defined Christianity (2 Timothy 4:3-4). Thus the “once delivered faith” has become but a whisper, in a very large crowd. Therefore, the immediate purpose of the Apologist is within the camp. That is, to reaffirm the Christian identity as those who define themselves, their faith, and their lives according to Scripture. Apologists specifically should hold Scripture in the highest of regards, as it is the foundation of our faith (Psalm 11:3)

Defending the Faith
The Apologist must work in tandem with the Holy Spirit, to fulfill The Great Commission, while understanding that our purpose is not necessarily to bring everyone to Christ, but to bring Christ to everyone. For although we can engage one’s mind, it is only God who can open one’s heart. Therefore, the purpose of the Apologist is to find common ground with the unbeliever on which to convey the rationale for the Christian faith. The Gospel is never heard in isolation,  rather, “it is heard against the backdrop of the cultural atmosphere in which one lives” [3] Therefore, the broader purpose of the Apologist is to create a cultural atmosphere in which Christianity is no longer considered a blind belief, but a reasonable faith.

In hostile environments of intellectual resistance, the Apologist must thrive. As lofty opinions and falsely deemed “knowledge” continue to mount up against  the knowledge of God (1 Corinthians 15:58), the need for a defense steadily increases (1 Peter 3:15). When malevolent objections are raised against the Christian’s hope, it is the Apologist who should be prepared to answer. When doubt creeps into the mind of fellow believers, it is the Apologist who must be ready to comfort with reason. In the face of uncertainty, and in times of confusion, it is the Apologist who must be resolved, and he, after having done all to stand, must stand therefore.

Advance the Cause
Today’s growing secularism proceeds from the halls of the University. The naturalistic scientist, the atheistic philosopher, the “enlightened” historian and the liberal theologian effect future generations with every lecture given. Therefore, they are the mission field of the Apologist. Whether within the University or without, one of our primary purposes should be to challenge and overturn the atheistic paradigms that are increasingly advanced by secular scholarship. In this way, the Apologists may be able to reverse our Nation’s apostasy and return it to the principles, morals and Scripture on which it was founded.

Finally, the Apologist must be well-studied, ever prepared and always willing the give a defense for the hope that is in him (1 Peter 3:15). And we ultimately do this, not for our purposes, but to give glory and honor to the only wise God; for this, as we must understand, is the whole duty of man (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

Endnotes

  1. Lewis, C.S., Is Theology Poetry
  2. Ravenhill, Leonard, Why Revival Tarries
  3. Craig, William Lane, Christian Apologetics: Who Needs It?  <http://www.reasonablefaith.org/christian-apologetics-who-needs-it>