the Church on the Hill
by D. Eric Williams
Pastor, Cottonwood Community Church
Apologetics is the component of theology concerned with defending the Christian faith. The word apologetics comes from the Greek term apologia and originally referred to the considered defense a man might present before the court on his own behalf. Although the word sounds like “apologize” apologetics has nothing to do with saying we are sorry for what we believe. Nor should a sound apologetic be about defending the faith before the skeptical judge and jury of the world.
These days, apologetics is typically about marshaling evidence to support the claims of the Christian faith in an effort to confound or convince the skeptic. The idea is to amass enough evidence to persuade doubters of God's existence and to thereby convince them that the most reasonable course of action is to accept Jesus Christ as Savior – since he is the one through whom all things are created for who they were created (Colossians 1:16).
The Bible clearly states that evidence for God's existence is all around us and indeed resides within each of us. It is only by a conscious effort that this witness is ignored. As Paul wrote to the church in Rome, the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened (Romans 1:18-21). For good reason the Bible says, the fool has said in his heart there is no God (Psalms 14:1, 53:1).
If someone were to tell you they did not believe in words you would not grab the nearest dictionary in an effort to convince them by the evidence that words actually exist. Instead you would tell them not to be foolish. You would point out to them that they are using words to tell you that they do not believe in words. You would point out the obvious fact that it required a tremendous twist in logic for them to even make such a silly statement. Obviously, everyone believes in words because they use them every day.
Just so, we should dispense with the marshaling of evidence in an effort to convince the unbeliever what they already know. The Bible clearly says every human being knows the truth but that they suppress that truth in unrighteousness. The Bible clearly says that what may be known of God is manifest in them and all around them but they refuse to acknowledge the truth because they are in rebellion against the most high God. Indeed, their appeal to rationality as the grounds for skepticism is just like the person who uses words to claim words do not exist. You see, logic and reasonable thought exist only because there is a logical reasonable creator. A godless worldview cannot explain the presence of logic or reason. If thought is nothing more than a chemical process then logic and reason do not exist. Hence, the man who claims to be a reasonable skeptic is really nothing more than a rebel.
Our apologetic should consist of little more than telling the unsaved they are sinners in need of a Savior. We should confine ourselves to telling them they have broken the law of God and are condemned because of it. We must point out to them that Jesus Christ died so that they might have life. An apologetic seeking conversion on the basis of evidence is subject to a better argument but the apologetic that relies on the gospel knows no rival.