Why Apologetics Matters to Every Believer and Every Church
by Lenny Esposito
“Apologetics? What are you apologizing for?”
“Is that a class that husbands are supposed to take?”
“What is that?”
These are questions I hear frequently whenever I mention the study of apologetics. It probably comes as no surprise the word “apologetics” is foreign to most people, even who are a part of the Christian church. Evangelicals, who define themselves by their passion to follow Jesus’ command to “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations”(Matt. 28:17) will usually look quizzically at me whenever I begin discussing the need for apologetics, even though apologetics is an essential part of making disciples. Why would this be?
One of the problems is simply that the church doesn’t talk a lot about it. Apologetics is generally understood to be a specialty discipline– specifically engaging in defending the faith against skeptics, alternate religions, cults, and contrary worldviews. As such, many pastors feel that it can only play a very limited role in ministering to the needs of their congregation. How does apologetics help the man trying to feed his family after losing his job or the newly widowed woman?
I’ve said before that in many churches, a person telling his or her pastor of their desire to start an apologetics ministry results in an experience similar to a young man telling his Jewish mother he wants to be a proctologist. “Well, I glad you’re going to be a doctor,” she would say, “But why did you have to choose
!” Pastors are happy to have people desiring to get into ministry opportunities, but they simply aren’t sure where apologetics fits in their church. However, many times both church leadership and laity fail to understand the more holistic aspects of providing a strong apologetics ministry to the local congregation. In this article, I’d like to highlight two benefits of an apologetics ministry that applies directly to every member of the church, benefits that you may not have considered before.