Apologetics - from the Greek "apologia," a legal term meaning "defense" - is the branch of Christian theology concerned with the intelligent presentation and defense of the historical Christian faith.
This defense is aimed at challenges from both outside and inside the Church.
Christianity is under attack
today, and it must be defended.
There are attacks from within--from cults
, and heresies
. And there are attacks from without--atheists, skeptics, and other religions. The discipline that deals with a rational defense of the Christian Faith is called apologetics. It comes from the Greek word apologia (cf. 1 Peter 3:15
) which means to give a reason or defense.
By studying the objections of unbelievers and preparing to reason with them, we take the high road of apologetics, the road of obedience to the direction of our Lord and Savior. His categorical claim was "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6). The apologist responds to the objections of unbelievers in a way which sets forth the objective truth of Christianity and the exclusive character of the system. He or she offers reasons for belief, vindicating the Christian worldview over against competing systems of thought and living.
The book, Five Views on Apologetics, edited by Steven B. Cowan, lets the reader compare and contrast different ways of "doing" apologetics:
The goal of apologetics is to persuasively answer honest objections that keep people from faith in Jesus Christ. But of several apologetics approaches, which is most effective?
Five Views on Apologetics examines the "how to" of apologetics, putting five prominent views under the microscope. Classical, Evidential, Presuppositional, Reformed Epistemology, and Cumulative Case. Offering a forum for presentation, critique and defense, this book allows the contributors for the different viewpoints to interact.
For an excerpt of the book's introductory chapter, outlining five prominent apologetics methodologies, see this article.
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