Last updated on October 21st, 2023
What is Christian apologetics?
The term ‘apologetics’ is taken from the Greek word ‘apologia’, which means ‘speaking in defence’. The purpose of the Christian apologetics ministry is to defend the word of God, preaching the gospel while addressing powerful arguments that seemingly contradict it.
Having faith in the word of God
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” – Ephesians 2 v 8
The Bible plainly states that salvation is through faith; therefore, the question could be asked why Christians need to prove that God exists via reasoning. The answer to this is that many people, including Christians, have more faith in the wisdom of man than the word of God. It’s usually historical or scientific arguments that present stumbling-blocks, causing people to reject the Bible. Addressing these issues helps to restore people’s trust in the word of God, on which faith is based.
One of the greatest stumbling-blocks to Christians is evolution. As society in general believes in evolution over millions of years, many Christians also accept this, rather than creation as described in the Bible. In order to fit in with the accepted world view, many Christians take the view that the six days of creation are allegorical, representing different periods of time rather than specific days.
One might question whether or not the issue of evolution is of any importance, as it surely makes no difference to one’s salvation; however, the truth of the matter is that anyone who lacks belief in one part of the Bible is claiming that the Bible is not the infallible word of God. Anyone who twists what is written in the Bible in order to fit in with their own views reveals their lack of belief in the word of God. The choice has to be made: do we trust in God’s word or the wisdom of man?
“And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” – Genesis 1 v 31
The Bible says that at the end of the sixth day God had finished creating the Earth and everything in it, including mankind, and saw that everything was ‘very good’. At this stage, the Bible tells us that sin, death and corruption had not entered the world – this came later, after the fall of mankind.
According to evolution everything wasn’t good at this stage: dinosaurs would have been killing and eating all sorts of creatures over millions of years, long before man existed, and fossil evidence has shown that dinosaurs had diseases, such as cancer. Even if the six days were allegorical and represented six consecutive time periods, according to evolution everything can’t have been very good. Fitting evolution into creation, even allegorically, just doesn’t work.
The apologetics ministry comes against arguments that attempt to turn people away from the true word of God. Creation is one of the main areas addressed by the apologetics ministry. Science and reason are used, alongside the Bible, in order to back up creation, and provide evidence against the claims of evolution.
You’ll note that it isn’t a fight against science, but against evolution: science and the Bible are compatible, and science itself is used to prove that evidence of evolution is based on speculation. Belief in evolution requires just as much faith as it does believing in God.
The casting aside of the word of God
The very first encounter with sin in the Bible was in the garden of Eden. Satan caused mankind to distrust what God really said. It was suggested that it would be beneficial to do the opposite. Due to the perceived benefits, man did what seemed good in his own eyes. The result of sin and death entering into the world proves that twisting God’s words to suit our own desires doesn’t change what God really meant. And it’s what God really says that holds the truth.
The need for apologetics is becoming more important, as many Christians no longer believe the Bible to be the true, infallible word of God. Because of this, they are replacing it with another gospel, changing the Bible in order to suit what is accepted in modern society. Disbelief in one part of the Bible, no matter how small and seemingly insignificant, usually leads to the rejection of many other parts, including some on which the fundamental principles of Christianity are based.
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” – John 14 v 6
Instead of taking what Jesus said above literally, many Christians are completely ignoring this and are now following the man-made claim of “There are many ways to God.”
We are even warned in the Bible that in the end times people will depart from the true faith:
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;” – 1 Timothy 4 v 1
Those who believe the Bible to be the true word of God could easily leave such Christians to their own devices, but would this be the Christian thing to do? Surely we should do our best to help others trust in God’s word and stick to the true faith?
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” – Romans 10 v 17
Isn’t the Bible the word of God by which we are saved? Shouldn’t we jump to the defence of the Bible? After all, if no one accepts the word of God, how can they believe and be saved?
Altering the Bible in any way is no more than turning away from the truth:
“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” – Galatians 1 v 8
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” – 2 Timothy 4 v 3
“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.” – Romans 16 v 17
It is so important to follow the Bible completely that we are told that those who alter the word of God are accursed. We are told that such people turn away from the word of God because they want to follow after what seems good to them, and are to be avoided as they cause divisions. Christian unity is based upon a firm belief in the word of God, and the fundamental principles of Christianity. Divisions occur when people turn away from the word of God, pursuing self-satisfaction, and loving the things of this world more than God.
The importance of the word of God
Even in the Old Testament we are told of the importance of obeying God’s word, and that it is far more important than anything we might offer God, regardless of how significant it may seem:
“And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” – 1 Samuel 15 v 22
“For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” – Hosea 6 v 6
We read that the knowledge of God, and the showing of mercy is more important than anything else we can offer God. It doesn’t matter whether we go to church, sing praise to God, pray, and attend as many church meetings as possible: without following the word of God we are wasting our time.
“Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:” – Isaiah 29 v 13
The words of the prophet Isaiah, above, describe how the people of Israel seemed to be doing all the right things on the outside. They were honouring God with their words, but their hearts turned away from the word of God and followed the things taught by man.
When Israel rebelled against the Lord, turning away from his word, the Lord spoke to the prophet Isaiah and gave him the following words to tell the people:
“To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;” – Isaiah 1 v 11-16
Here God says that he has no delight in sacrifice. An oblation is an offering presented to God, such as an act of worship, and God here refers to the things presented to him as futile. Any days that are held to be holy, such as the Sabbath day, and even the most solemn meetings, God says that he cannot stand them. The Lord even says that these things are sinful, and goes on to say that he will ignore the prayers of his people.
The equivalent today would be God telling us that worshiping him, going to church on Sunday, attending Christian meetings and praying were all sinful. As these are things Christians should be doing, what God is saying appears to be contradictory. However, while these are good things, when people’s hearts are not right with God, because they are not following his word, he considers anything they do as evil. God tells the people to stop doing evil and show mercy, and that he will forgive them.
The dictionary defines mercy as “compassion or forgiveness shown towards someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.”
“But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” – Mark 11 v 26
The words of Jesus, above, plainly show us the importance of mercy. If we expect forgiveness for our sins then we must forgive others.
“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” – Galatians 5 v 14
Loving the Lord with all our heart, and loving our neighbour as ourselves are the most important commands from God. Whatever else we do is worthless compared to obeying God and loving others.
Even if we do something that seems to be right in our own eyes, if it goes against God’s word it is worthless. For example, although the Bible says that we should love, forgive, and have patience with one another, this doesn’t mean that Christians in a sexual relationship outside of marriage (fornication) should be accepted as though they are doing nothing wrong. The Bible tells us that we must not keep company with such people:
“But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?” – 1 Corinthians 5 v 11-12
We read here that those who are not Christians shouldn’t be judged in this way, but only those who are Christians: who have accepted salvation through Christ and are supposed to have turned away from sinful behaviour. If we were to ignore fellow Christians who went against God’s word we would be encouraging others to sin, promoting the acceptance of things that go against the word of God.
God does not contradict himself. Whether it seems right in our eyes or not, we must always obey God’s word. We can’t take parts of the Bible out of context and use that as an excuse to ignore other parts of the Bible.
The Apologetics ministry really is important: the main reason being that its purpose is to uphold the Bible as the true, infallible word of God, upon which our faith is based.