Apologetics is the discipline that studies the rational defense of the Christian faith. It comes from the Greek root that means to give a reason or defense. Despite objections to doing apologetics in this regard on the part of the fideists and some presuppositionalists, there are important reasons for participating in the work of apologetics.
God commands. The most important reason to do apologetics is that God does not say to do it. The classic biblical basis is I Peter 3:15 which says: “Rather, honor Christ as Lord in your heart. Always be ready to respond to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you”. This verse tells us to be ready. Just as we are never faced with someone who asks us difficult questions about our faith, but still we must be prepared if someone asks us. Being prepared is not just having the correct information available, it is also an attitude of being ready and willing to share the truth in which we believe. We are here to give a reason to those who ask us questions. Not everyone is expected to need to be evangelized. But when they need it, we must be ready and willing to give them an answer.
This command also links the work of evangelism to the place of Christ as Lord in our hearts. If he is really the Lord, then we must be obedient to him “We destroy arguments and all arrogance that rises against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought so that he may submit to Christ.” (II Corinthians 10: 5). This means that we should confront issues in our own minds and in the expressed thoughts of others to show us and them the knowledge of God. This is what apologetics is all about.
In Philippians 1: 7 Paul speaks of his mission: “It is right that I think this way of all of you because I carry you in my heart; Well, whether I am in prison or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share with me the grace that God has given me”. He adds in verse 17: “They preach Christ out of personal ambition and not out of pure motives, believing that in this way they will increase the anguish that I suffer in my prison.” This implies that the defender is there where he or she can meet others and defend the truth.
Jude 1: 3 adds: “Dear brothers and sisters, I have wanted intensely to write to you about the salvation we have in common, and now I feel the need to do so to beg you to continue to fight vigorously for the faith once and for all entrusted to the saints.” The audience Judas was addressing had been assaulted by false teachers, and they needed to encourage them to protect (literally agonize for) the faith as it had been revealed through Christ. Judas makes an important statement in verse 22 about our attitude, that some doubters convince them.
Titus 1: 9 makes knowledge of Christian experiences a requirement for church leadership. An elder in the Church should be “a retainer of the faithful word as it has been taught, so that he too can exhort with sound teaching and convince those who contradict.” Paul also gives us an indication of our attitude in this work in II Timothy 2: 24-25: “And a servant of the Lord must not go around fighting; rather, he should be kind to everyone, capable of teaching and not prone to anger. He thus, humbly, he must correct the adversaries, with the hope that God will grant them repentance to know the truth”. Anyone who attempts to answer the questions of non-believers will be confused and tempted to lose patience, but our true goal is for them to come to the knowledge of the truth that Jesus has died for his sins. With such an important task at hand, we must not be negligent in obeying this command.
Source: Introduction to Christian Apologetics, written by Freddy Ramos. Prebyterian Theological Seminary "San Pablo"