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.

What ignites this ministry's passion?

I think that if I were answer this question it could be summed up as a passion for evangelism undergirded by apologetics. Our passion is carried out by seeking opportunities to serve toward the equipping Christians in thinking intelligently about their faith in a anti-Christian culture (the positive and negative sides of apologetics) and to encourage the thinking cultured skeptic to believe and place their trust in Christ (evangelism).  With fellow believers, I also encourage the follow up of the spiritual disciplines (devotional life, prayer life, journaling, evangelism, multiplying oneself, and personal study) as means for personal and one on one discipleship. 

The reason for this is because the church today needs to be able to articulate what and why we believe in Christ. What I share with people individually and groups, I find them gaining confidence which encourages them to see their faith as viable and giving them a boldness to share the gospel and the truth claims of the Christian faith in our anti-Christian culture. 

How did this come about?

Ever since my conversion in 1980,  I have had this contagious passion, a burden, a calling (call it what you will) for encouraging, equipping and training Christians to give credible answers to the curious questions confronting their Christian faith. This passion came right after my life was changed by Christ, and continues to reflect the many conversations with Christians during my short term four years as a "soft-boiled atheist."  Being thankful for the friends who continued to love up on me, I saw  them struggle in answering my questions, toward why they believed Christianity was true. The initial starting point to "why are you a Christian?" seems to be giving their testimony.  However giving one's testimony only tells how one became a Christian, but it does not answer the "why" question.  

I am seeing the same dilemma in their being unable to articulate the reason for the hope they have in Christ (1 Peter 3:15). This is where the desire to assist believers, churches and para church organizations to defend their faith, and advance the Gospel comes from.  As Christians, we need to understand that our culture is becoming more and more skeptical. We need to find ways to identify and speak into the culture by answering the objections people inside the church and outside the faith have toward the Christian faith.  

Has anything changed? What about TODAY?

No, nothing has changed in thirty plus years.  I am still finding that as I share  the gospel with people outside the Christian faith, the questions and objections have essentially not changed.  The temperature behind the objection may differ encounter to encounter. But I am finding the same questions of the last couple decades are still with us, especially with the skeptics that I dialogue with in the marketplace of ideas and the "water cooler conversations." This is why I incorporate the discipline of apologetics into my evangelism with folks who are skeptical to the Christian faith.  

This is where my passion has driven me to ministry.  I am a teacher, speaker, and equipper who is committed to training believers in Christ to impact their world with the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Over the past several years, I have worked hand in hand with churches and para-church ministries, local schools and seminaries, to encourage, teach, train, and equip believers in developing and shaping their Biblical worldview.   The product has been evidenced from our conversations and teaching seminars, reflecting an enthusiasm and confidence from what they have learned from us; being equipped and mobilized to learn more through personal study, in order to share their faith and the gospel with the gentleness and respect that we are called to carry out.. 

Seeking Answers to Today’s Student and Young Adult Fallout
In keeping Christ’s commandment, I want to encourage believers to love God with their hearts, soul, and mind with the overall goal of fulfilling the Great Commission through apologetics, evangelism and the spiritual disciplines.
As many of our young people and believers in general have difficulty articulating what they believe in skeptical culture, I want to participate with churches and assist them toward the equipping a new generation (of all ages) to defend and advance the truth of God through the use of apologetics and evangelism, followed up in discipleship and the spiritual disciplines.
Today’s attacks on the historical Christian faith and the lack of training focused on equipping Christians to give biblical answers in our churches, has led me in this direction, particularly with my work with Ratio Christi.  

In addition to equipping for a defense, I train believers in how to give a positive, proactive, case for their faith.  A lot of people are turned off by conversations around the water cooler on politics and religion. But with the volatility of issues in our culture, we need to understand that people want engage in those conversations in the right place and the right context.   

Some of those challenges are biblical (what does the Bible say about "x"), some have a philosophical worldview bent (atheism and world religions)  scientific (evolution v creation or intelligent design), moral issues, historical (dating of the Bible and the gospels), and metaphysical reasons for Christianity.  Being in a skeptical culture, let us not forget that the Apostle Peter has told us, “For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people” (1 Peter 2:15). 

The Church has been given the mandate of not only presenting the gospel message to the world and for the most part we do this well. Where we fall short is teaching our people how to  explain and defend the truth of that message. I have taken years of academic training and worked to be able to communicate complex ideas in simple terms.
My goal is to train Christian leaders and the body of Christ to be able to give reasonable answers for the Christian faith. While some in the church may be wary of this approach, we look in Scripture and find it is most biblical.  In Acts 17 we find the Apostle Paul reasoning from the Scriptures, explaining, and giving evidence to his opponents in the synagogues, and debating Epicurean and Stoic philosophers, challenging their worldviews found in the Areopagus (Acts 17:1-416-34).
Knowing and Defending the Biblical Worldview

Why should we defend the truth of Jesus Christ?  Foundational to every worldview is a set of philosophical assumptions about ultimate reality. C. S. Lewis once said,

“If all the world were Christian, it might not matter if all the world were educated. But, as it is, a cultural life will exist outside the Church whether it exists inside or not. To be ignorant and simple now—not to be able to meet the enemies on their own ground—would be to throw down our weapons, and to betray our uneducated brethren who have, under God, no defense but us against the intellectual attacks of the heathen. Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered”—C. S. Lewis.

With our culture the way that it is and with our younger generations embracing a narcissistic outlook on life centered around selfism, hedonism, and nihilism, I see the church needing to do something to plug the hole in the dam, aside of having youth ministries that amount to nothing more than strumming guitars and eating pizza.

We need to be training our people in the churches from the children on up that, if Christian theism is true, then miracles are possible. If miracles are possible,then we have a reliable message that came from God Himself in the person of Jesus Christ who was born to a virgin, lived a sinless life, was crucified, buried, and rose again.

The historical reliability and trustworthiness of the New Testament documents can be established through such disciplines as archeology, the fulfillment of prophetic writings, the historical event of the resurrection, etc.

Rational inferences can also be made by examining the effects of creation and moving towards the cause of its existence in the Creator. The great astronomer Galileo Galilei wrote, “The laws of nature are written by the hand of God in the language of mathematics.” We have two books to aide us in determining reality: The first is the book of Scripture and the second is the book of nature (general revelation) both provide the testimony of the same creation.

As a minister of the gospel, an evangelist and an apologist, please allow me to explore these and many other issues with YOU which are confronting the church.  I would love to serve alongside  you and your ministry.

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