Defending Truth in an Age of Confusion: Why Apologetics Matters

This is a guest post from Bobby Conway, pastor of Life Fellowship Church and author of The One Minute Apologist. Get it on Pre-Pub for a limited time.

Like most people, the first time I heard the word “apologetics” I was befuddled. I was driving down Interstate 5 in Southern California en route to work at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, and for the life of me, I couldn’t understand why there was such a stress for Christians to apologize. After showing up at work, I asked a fellow Christian what the word meant—and that’s when I discovered, to my relief, that apologetics means “to defend the faith.”

The word comes from the Greek apologia, meaning “to defend.” We see this word used in 1 Peter 3:15 where Peter says believers should “honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense (apologia) to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”

Let’s unpack this verse and glean a few insights from it.

We are called to be prepared

Peter says believers should always be “prepared to make a defense.” To make a defense, we must be prepared—or at least be preparing. We need to love people enough to care about their questions. We can start by tackling the most common objections non-believers have to the Christian faith:

  • Does God exist?
  • If God is good, why would he allow evil?
  • What about those who have never heard about Jesus—will they be saved?
  • Is the Bible trustworthy?

Peter then tells us “to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” This inner hope relates to our faith in Jesus Christ. Be ready to talk about the difference Jesus has made in your life. God wants to use our hope to instill hope in others.

Finally, Peter calls us to defend our faith with “gentleness and respect.” Regrettably, apologetics has been given a bad rap at times since some apologists come off as arrogant. That’s really unfortunate. And it’s exactly what Peter warns against. He tells us to defend the truth gently and respectfully. Tone matters when communicating truth. Gentleness and respect also go a long way in creating relational harmony. What you say and how you say it are both crucial. It’s not either/or. It’s truth and love.

The time is now

The need for apologetics has never been greater. In our pluralistic and secularized culture, we need a batch of Christians who are not only aware of their beliefs but also get the gist of the beliefs of those around them. This melting pot of beliefs has caused many to question truth altogether. The confusion is systemic, and apologetics can be a great tool for providing some much-needed clarity.

So prepare well, and “contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).

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This article was adapted from Bobby Conway’s book Does God Exist?: And 51 Other Compelling Questions About God. Conway’s The One Minute Apologist, a collection of more than 700 videos and transcripts to help you find the right answers to your questions, is now available on Pre-Pub.

Learn more about your faith or help others grow in theirs with help from The One Minute Apologist. Back this project!

 

Guest writer Bobby Conway is lead pastor of Life Fellowship Church near Charlotte, NC. He is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary (ThM), Southern Evangelical Seminary (DMin), and is a PhD candidate at the University of Birmingham, England. He is the author of The Fifth Gospel and Doubting Toward Faith and is the founding host of The One Minute Apologist.

Comments

  1. I find it amazing that in Apologetics Matters today most unpack this verse (1 Peter 3:15) as apportioned to how it has been repackaged and thus given to them.

    First of all where do we get that in this verse that the questioned assumed for the prepared answer of ‘hope’ is:

    “…We can start by tackling the most common objections non-believers have to the Christian faith:
    Does God exist?
    If God is good, why would he allow evil?
    What about those who have never heard about Jesus—will they be saved?
    Is the Bible trustworthy?”

    Does not the context in this verse support a different reason i.e. sincere heartfelt question about ones hope (1 Peter 1:21) seen?
    Asked in an unbeliever’s view of a Christian’s personal witness of living and honoring Christ. Indeed in observation of real time persecution of that Christian viewed by someone (one whom asks about hope) that sees it. Possible even concerning the persecutor themselves being the questionnaire of that hope? Consider the very next verse.
    “Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.”

    Notice the emphasis of the conscience of both the persecuted and the persecutor i.e. before God not man. Oh and the context speaks of how one lives their lives (here conversation has nothing to do with verbal defenses) in honoring Christ, including how they react to evil and its attacks.

    These verses (1 Peter 3, including 3:15-16) do not speak of mere human reasoning, natural facts, or historical truths. Neither do they address, nor suggest readiness of questions asked along philosophical surmising’s of the spiritual discerned natural man (1 Corinthians 2:11). Certainly no undo respect let alone fear of unbeliever’s questions is here proposed

    Oh yes and we should appropriately glean that the “gentleness and respect.” that we are to show others in this verse is specifically of the testimonial gentleness of Christ in us as we fear/sanctify God. One only needs to check the original Greek and the word translated to respect to prove this out.

    Oh yes and Jude 3 has little or nothing to do with 1 Peter 3:15 this contending is for those in the body of Christ in view of false teachers within (crept in unnoticed) teaching falsely about God and His Word.

    keith

    We need to love God enough to care about His answers so that we can care about people’s questions, and then of course onto how we honorable answer them!.