This entry is for the first “Vox Apologia,” a weekly showcase for apologists, and the defense of the Christian faith.

I believe I’ll examine what apologetics is to many churches, and to society – and a bit about where the “common” conceptions are wrong.

The Culture
The common conception, from the “culture’s” view can be summed up as follows:

I’m sorry. Allow me to enter an objection to the term ‘apologist’ as being more pre-judicial than probative. In short, the implications of the term ‘apologist’ implies in common wording that I am allowing for an ‘apology’ for something. Since I have no desire to provide an apology, be it in justification sense or otherwise.

In short. Anybody who asks for my justification that there _is_ a god, and that the Christian types are on the right track in that particular quest, must first provide his own justification or ‘apology’ otherwise.

Until the moment when an ‘Atheist Philosopher’ becomes an ‘Atheist Apologist’ I shall maintain this view. The term is unfairly prejudicial.

Which is a good point. Sort of. It “apologizes” way too much to “common usage”, and not enough to “classical scholarship”, though.

But, even more telling… I read this in a forum signature the other day.

What, is something so bad about Christianity, that you have to apologize for it?

Popular culture really doesn’t know what apologetics is. They don’t know, because they rarely see it. They have bought into the lie that Christianity is something “private”, and that they shouldn’t be “forced” (as if anyone can be “forced to listen to anything…) to hear what someone has to say about it. So, anyone who tells them what Christianity is, that doesn’t match up with the preconceptions they’ve been given, is either intrigued, or appalled by “insensitivity”.

It’s an interesting dilemma. However, that’s not the subject. Forgive me for digressing.

The Church
Strong, doctrinal, Biblical, and teaching churches take apologetics as a matter of course. They often do not recognize it as such, as the term has fallen out of use, to some degree. However, a Christian with a strong knowledge of their Bible will usually be able to provide an answer to anyone who asks them. One who cannot, is disobeying the injunction of 1 Peter 3:15. A Christian who cannot defend his or her faith is not taking it seriously enough, I’ll venture to say.

However – that’s general apologetics. Every Christian is called to be able to do so. Can they? I have some serious doubts. In this age of de-emphasization of sound doctrine, and even the Bible itself, I find it highly questionable that many can even defend why they believe – let alone what. In sacrificing our foundational doctrines on the altar of “tolerance”, we’ve made the Gospel into a flimsy thing indeed. By removing the emphasis that Christianity, and the Church places on both the inerrancy, and the primacy of God’s Word, we lose the only offensive weapon the Christian professes. The Word is likened unto a two-edged sword – living, active, “and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) This is what we want to cede to the enemy? I’ll quote Romans: “May it never be!” The Word of God is our weapon, and what we use as the very bedrock of their faith! We are to give that away for the sake of “political correctness”, or for the sake of “unity in the church”?

I think not. Every Christian – regardless of denomination, creed, doctrine… we are ALL called to give a defense of our faith – to ANYONE who asks it of us. If we give away our reliance on His Word – where will that defense come from? Answer: Us – and ONLY us. Without the Word, you only have lost, fallen, and sinful humanity, trying to explain to other lost, fallen, sinful humans, that your way is better than theirs. NOT that HIS “ways are higher that our ways, and HIS thoughts are higher than our thoughts”. I’ll come out strongly here for a second: If you do not value the Word of God more than your life – you’re wrong. If you don’t value the Word of God more than your family – you’re wrong.

Keith Green said it best: “I pledge my son, I pledge my wife, I pledge my head to heaven for the Gospel. Though I’m kicked and beaten, ridiculed, and scorned. Like I told her when we wed – I would rather be found dead – than to love her more, than the One who saved my soul.”

Are we going to face such things? Maybe. It is our solemn duty, our loving privilege, and our joyous purpose, to live in such a way that people WILL ask us to “give an account for the hope that is in” us. Or, to persecute us for it. Regardless, we need to always be on the lookout for the opportunity. We also need to make sure that we’ve put enough preparation into our lives, and our own study of God’s Word, to be able to do so, whenever we are asked.

Some, I believe, are called to be apologists. Their gifts and talents combine to a certain mix, which enables them to be good teachers, communicators, and defenders. Not necessarily “theologians” – although they may be theologians. An apologist’s interests and gifts will be centered on public (or one-on-one) discussion of Christianity, and in countering opponents to Christianity, it’s ideals, ideas, and doctrines – as well as, of course, telling people the Gospel in such a way that it is clearly, and succinctly contrasted with both their worldview, and others.

Apologists are not more, or less, than anyone else. They just have a different mission. Their mission is to actively defend and promote their Lord, His Word, and the tenets of Christianity. While guarding against attack – within, and without. Not everyone is called to it – but those who are, have an absolute passion for God’s Word, and are jealous of it’s reputation and the reputation of God. Not for selfish reasons – but for the same reasons God is jealous of His people. Because He loves them.

So, in closing – “What does apologetics mean to the church?” In some churches, where the Bible is held to a high standard, it means a great deal. Where this is not the case – disappointingly little. What does it mean to us, in this great big “digital church”? It could mean a great deal – if we take the time to answer the tough questions that people ask every day – and if we answer the questions that come up as news, from the perspective of God’s Word. Apologetics is still alive – but is it well? That’s up to us, isn’t it?

I feel sort of bad about entering something this short. However, I tend to write in “overkill” mode, instead of trying to keep it short and sweet. I decided I’d try it out.