Apologetics: A Command that Presupposes the Defensibility of the Christian Faith

Bible ReadingIt is clear from scripture that we are to provide a defense for the “hope that is in us” (1 Peter 3:15) as well as “earnestly content for the faith once for all delivered” (Jude 1:3). However, it is often popularly understood that the Christian faith is just that, a faith commitment not based upon fact or reason, but simply a belief in that which has no rational justification. Such is an inappropriate and inaccurate conception of the biblical notion of faith. Faith in scripture is not belief in some proposition without rational justification. Rather, biblical faith is a “trust” in a reliable source (i.e. God). The reliability of God is seen in his covenant faithfulness to the people of God throughout the ages as manifested throughout the scriptures. Notice also, that biblical faith is rarely if ever presented as a faith “that” God exists. The scripture presupposes the existence of God, and almost never argues for it. It is a given in the Bible that God exists, his existence is clearly evident to all men because he has made it evident to them such that man is without excuse (Romans 1:19).

Understanding that apologetics entails the defense of the Christian faith, the command to defend the faith presupposes the “defensibility” of the faith. As such, the Christian faith indeed has a rational justification for its truth. Therefore, it is incumbent upon every believer to become familiar with the rational justification for the truth of the Christian worldview. It is not enough to simply assert belief in the proposition that Christianity is true. We must be able to demonstrate this fact. The biblical command to do apologetics therefore removes any excuse for intellectual and spiritual laziness. We are to master to the best of our ability the content of the Christian faith once for all delivered, such that we are “always ready to give an answer” (1 Peter 3:15).

In the fact that the Christian faith is defensible, the believer should take solace in the rational strength of his position. One need not enter the apologetic fray with the faulty assumption that “all we have is faith”. We also have the facts on our side as well as the intellectual interpretive grid with which all facts find their meaning. The divine revelation of God as found in his inscripturated Word provides for us a logically coherent system of thought that we are commanded to employ both in the living out our lives to the glory of God, and in the assault of unbelieving thought that seeks to “bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

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