What is apologetics?
In ancient Greece, when someone defended themselves in court, they provided an apologia. As ancient Greek is the language of the New Testament, Christian apologetics is the art of giving a reasoned defence of the faith.
“...Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” 1 Peter 3:15, NIV
"Instead of addressing teens’ questions, most church youth groups focus on fun and food. The goal seems to be to create emotional attachment using loud music, silly skits, slapstick games — and pizza. But the force of sheer emotional experience will not equip teens to address the ideas they will encounter when they leave home and face the world on their own. "
Nancy Pearson, quoted on thepoachedegg.net
The New Testament writers expect Christians to have the ability to give an account of themselves; to explain why they believe what they believe. Yet apologetics is often seen as a fringe concern in the evangelical church. Many protestant denominations have placed a great emphasis on spiritual experience and the emotional life of the believer. This is good and necessary, as long as it is balanced by an emphasis on the worship of God with our minds. Unfortunately, this is often neglected, leaving some parts of the church with a superficial spiritual life not rooted in sound doctrine.
Apologetics, a route to Christian growth
The good news is that there is an increasing wealth of accessible literature available, detailing the sound historical and philosophical foundations of the Christian faith.
In engaging with this, the Christian can be enriched, and have their faith strengthened, as well as reaping the benefits of critical thinking in other areas of their life.
Of course, the first concern of the Christian is to maintain a relationship with Jesus through meditation, prayer and bible study. But feeding of the spirit should also be accompanied by a feeding of the mind; we should take a holistic approach, seeking to integrate and nourish all the God-given aspects of our being.