WHAT IS APOLOGETICS?. Dr. C.K.Tan BPharm MSc PhD MRPharmS PgCertMedEd St James’ Church, Audley, Stoke-on-Trent. Introduction. The 5th March 2005 issue of the Times reported on a year-long study of 14,000 British churchgoers and those who have left the Church. The survey showed that
Dr. C.K.Tan BPharm MSc PhD MRPharmS PgCertMedEd
St James’ Church, Audley, Stoke-on-Trent
The 5th March 2005 issue of the Times reported on a
year-long study of 14,000 British churchgoers and those
who have left the Church. The survey showed that
many clergy are unable to mount a convincing
argument in defence of Christianity and are not
interested in trying.
When asked to explain why Christianity might be
true, the common response is: “It is just a matter of
faith.” The report says: “This has resulted in a
growing number of people being left with the false
impression that there are no strong reasons for
Christian belief. Ultimately they abandon
churchgoing and are mystified that Christianity
continues to grow elsewhere in the world.”
People desperately want churches to emphasise the
many reasons why believing in God and Christianity
makes sense and to challenge a doubting society.
One of the top 5 needs of respondents is apologetics
1. The Biblical injunction in 1 Peter 3:15, ‘Always be
prepared to give an answer (apologia) to everyone
who asks you to give the reason for the hope that
Christians are not doing well in this.
2. In a post-Christian culture thoroughly saturated with
humanistic and naturalistic philosophies, the seeker and sceptic alike are unlikely to accept a position that starts with ‘the Bible says’.
Apologetics is a means of engaging the non-Christian at his point of understanding in order to facilitate the eventual sharing of the message of the gospel.
3. There are tremendous high quality resources
available which are under-utilised, or not pitched at lay and non-expert level.
4. We need to engage the younger generation. Those of you who, like me, have teenage children or young adults will understand the need to adopt an apologetic approach in addition to sound teaching in church.
The New Testament does not distinguish between apologetics and evangelism as though they were different activities.
The path to faith is often littered with various barriers.
An apologist who is seeking to help someone come to
faith must first identify the particular obstacles between
that person and a commitment of faith:
I. Knowledge– an accurately informed mind
II. Wisdom – an artful method (‘tactical wisdom’)
III. Character – an attractive manner
1. No one comes to Christ through intellectual understanding alone. Salvation comes from the preaching of the Word and the Holy Spirit’s sovereign work in convicting the sinner of his sin.
But it doesn’t follow that if God’s Spirit plays a vital role, then reason and persuasion play none. In the apostle Paul’s mind there was no conflict.
Acts 17:2-4 ‘As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining andproving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead….And some of the Jews were persuaded….’
2. Apologetics is a tool for strengthening the faith of believers by supplementing their Biblical and theological understanding.
Apologetics without the corresponding teaching of sound Biblical knowledge in the church will not deepen spiritual growth.
3. Apologetics is useful in the context of evangelism as an aid to removing the intellectual obstacles that hinder understanding of the gospel message.
We are removing a few ‘stones’ from the path of the non-Christian.
4. Apologetics should be used with gentleness and humility; you can win an argument and yet lose the soul
Greg Koukl and the Ambassador model
This approach trades more on friendly curiosity – a kind of relaxed diplomacy – than on confrontation.
Colossian 4:6 ‘Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.’
5. Apologetics have to be set in a doctrinal framework and the reformed classic evangelical doctrinal position will be used as the basis for all my teaching.
Engage with the sceptic
You do not need win an argument; just leave
him/her something to think about
Be quick to listen and slow to speak
We should be real
Evangelism is a process
Review your conversations
Gregory Koukl (2009). Zondervan.
Paul Copan (2009). Bethany House
Lee Strobel (2000). Zondervan.
Lee Strobel (1998). Zondervan.
Dinesh D’Souza (2007). Tyndale House Publishers.
Josh McDowell (1999). Thomas Nelson Publishers.
Don Batten (editor) (2006). Creation Book Publishers.
Creation, evolution and intelligent design
http://www.st-edmunds.cam.ac.uk/faraday/index.php (some good material but exercise great caution!)