What is Apologetics?

Apologetics may be simply defined as the defense of the Christian faith. The word “apologetics” derives from the Greek word apologia, which was originally used as a speech of defense or an answer given in reply. In ancient Athens it referred to a defense made in the courtroom as part of the normal judicial procedure. After the accusation, the defendant was allowed to refute the charges with a defense or reply (apologia). The word appears 17 times in noun or verb form in the New Testament, and both the noun (apologia) and verb form (apologeomai) can be translated “defense” or “vindication” in every case.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Third Column, No This is Not "V"[1]

Not too long ago I was conversing with a fellow believer about the role of apologetics in the church.  During that conversation, I shared a burden that has been with me since I was gloriously converted from skepticism some 31 years ago.   It is how God has wired me.   In fact right after my salvation experience, I wanted to KNOW why the Christian is true, because I found as a skeptic then, that the problem still remains.  That problem is that we do not know why we believe what we believe is really true.

That being said, I subscribe to some of the apologetics ministries that I support monetarily and use to equip folks in the defense of the faith.  One of the many ministries is Stand to Reason, from whom I receive their newsletter Solid Ground.

In the January edition of Solid GroundGreg Koukl explains the years following the 1925 Scopes trial “Christianity lost its claim as a player in the marketplace of ideas.”  When this occurred, and began to warp the culture into a Neo-Darwinian/agnostic/atheistic worldview,  a wave of apologists emerged on the front that Greg considers "the first column".  This first column emerged to lead in the fight to defend the Gospel.  In its formation, those who were and still are leading the charge are men like Norm Geisler, John Warwick Montgomery, Francis Schaeffer, Josh McDowell, and Walter Martin.  These men have paved the way in bringing Christianity back into the forefront of the “marketplace of ideas.”

Koukl then presents what he calls "the second column".  This column is much bigger than the first and consists of men and women like Ravi Zacharias, Craig Hazen, Chuck Colson, Nancy Pearcy, Os Guinness, David Noebel, Gary Habermas, Lee Strobel, William Lane Craig, J.P. Moreland, and Stephen Meyer. This column was influenced either directly or indirectly by the first and is still on the front lines equipping Christians to defend historical Christianity and its need for conversation in the "marketplace of ideas. This column IS STILL SHOWING that Christianity is still worth thinking about.

The third and final column has started to form, and it is massive. It is made up of “sharp, committed ambassadors for Christ who are students of those in the first two columns and are grouping up with others of kindred spirit in their local communities. Their names will probably never grace the cover of a book or be in lights on an apologetics conference marquee. Instead, they are foot soldiers with boots on the ground, individually being faithful to defend the Gospel in smaller arenas their Commander in Chief has entrusted to them.”

Greg likens them to "small bands -- little platoons" that "Edmund Burke called them -- of ordinary people making a difference right where they live.  Those of us in the third column are not large organizations[2] or huge institutions.  We are collective whole scattered all over the country and worldwide, seeking to show that clear thinking Christianity is worth thinking about for both the believer and the seeker of truth.

So, for those of you serving in this third column, continue to "drive on" and press forward.  If you would like to read the latest edition of Solid Ground, why not check it out here at the latest edition of Solid Ground.

Notes

[1]  Those of you who remember the short lived major network series "V" and the Fifth Column, might appreciate my tongue in cheek title.  This article is strictly about the church using apologetics engage the culture and not some sci-fi propaganda story of aliens from another galaxy trying to infiltrate the earth.

[2] This ministry is not a large organization, but has been poking along, searching for ways to get off the ground with speaking engagements and product to equip you in defending your faith.   This year I am hoping for some great progress.  

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