Some years ago, I was working at a ministry fair at a local church. Our purpose was to introduce ourselves and our apologetics ministry to that church. One senior lady asked us what we were doing. When I explained that we were an apologetics ministry. She informed us that she did not have to apologize for being a Christian.
I agreed with her.
If Christianity is true, then why would we apologize for it?
As most of you know, the word “apologetics” comes to us from the Greek word apologia. We see this word used in I Peter 3:15, the “go-to” verse for apologetics. It means to give a defense. As I see it, apologetics as a Christian ministry means to answer questions raised by the Christian and the non-Christian and equip the believer be able to defend the truth claims of Christianity in the culture.
However, in many cases, I have seen apologetics referred to as a special occupation of “intellectual” Christians which is too hard for the average person in the pew to understand. This comes from ministers and laypeople alike.
Peter’s words, written so long ago, are not read as applying to a select few. Jude’s admonition “to earnestly contend” for the faith is not for a select few. Those passages and others seem to apply to the whole body of Christ. I do believe that there are individuals who have apologetics as an equipping ministry, myself being one of those individuals. However, if every believer has hope within us, then we should be able to explain what that hope is and how we were saved to new life by Jesus Christ. We are all apologists in some way or another.
Is it just in the name? Perhaps, like that dear senior lady, apologetics has the connotation of meaning that we are saying we are sorry for being a believer. Do we need another name for it? Is there something that believers can grab onto and call their own?
Greg Koukl, of Stand To Reason, likes the term “Ambassador.”
J. Warner Wallace, writer of Cold Case Christianity, uses the phrase “Christian Case-Maker.”
There are other terms out there, I’m sure. As you see, I call my ministry “Mark Riser – Apologist.”
My goal is to get others to be able to voice their Christian convictions. If Christianity is objectively true (and I believe that it is), then the gospel has profound effects and implications for every believer, in how we live and interact with believers and non-believers.
We need a renewal of the idea that Christianity is objectively true, that Christianity is not just another lifestyle choice as though we were in some kind of cafeteria line picking and choosing which elements to put on our worldview plate. Such a view causes people to apologize for being a Christian.
Whatever we call apologetics, Christians need to get out there in the church and the culture and do it.