Apologetics Starter Guide

Tips and wisdom for defending the faith

WHAT is Apologetics?

From Apologia (ἀπολογία), a Greek court-room term for one's “case” or “defense,”1 apologetics is the use of reason in attempts to persuasively support or defend a viewpoint. The term is also short for "Christian Apologetics" when done for Christianity's truth-claims in particular.

WHY do Apologetics?

Some Christians need to see a case for apologetics itself. This is usually because of one or more of these misunderstandings:
“It is quarrelsome”
“It infringes on faith”
“It credits men, not God”
“It is 'worldly-wisdom'”
“It does not work”

Contrast them with the Biblically compelling reasons to learn and practice apologetics:
To obey God
To serve non-believers
To serve believers
To build your confidence
To love truth

HOW does one do Apologetics?

Apologetics has also been called pre-evangelism because of the role it plays in preparing non-believers to receive the gospel. When being used in this capacity there is a wisdom half and knowledge half to doing apologetics.

The wisdom half

Rule #1: Stick to cordial dialogue. Learn to build and maintain an appropriate atmosphere for fruitful discussion.

Rule #2: Stick to strategic priorities. Identify unproductive topics and how to move as efficiently as possible to convincing someone to seriously consider the gospel.

Rule #3: Stick to respected arguments. Learn to resist making your own arguments, and how to separate the wheat from the chaff in picking which popular arguments to use.

#### The knowledge half

In addition to general wisdom, you need knowledge. Christians must “be prepared to give a reasoned-defense for the hope that is in them” (1 Peter 3:15). Included are three starter kits of the most versatile basic apologetics information to use in the field.

The first kit briefly introduces analytic philosophy, specifically the bare essentials…
• …on logic[Forthcoming]
• …on probability[Forthcoming]
• …on fallacies[Forthcoming]
• …on epistemology (e.g. how knowledge works)[Forthcoming]

The second kit covers strategy and material for supporting and defending…
• …truth's objectivity[Forthcoming]
• …God's existence[Forthcoming]
• …Jesus's resurrection[Forthcoming]
• …other popular topics (Hell, homosexuality, abortion, etc.)[Forthcoming]


Appendix 1: Responding to different personalty types.[Forthcoming]
Appendix 2: Common mistakes made by apologists.[Forthcoming]
Appendix 3: Apologetics and Spirituality.[Forthcoming]
Appendix 4: A game-plan for sitting down with Mormons.[Forthcoming]
Appendix 5: A game-plan for sitting down with Jehovah's Witnesses.[Forthcoming]

I encourage everyone pursuing apologetics further to pick up this comprehensive award-winning philosophy textbook: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview (IVP, 2004), by William Lane Craig and J.P. Moreland.

  1. For example, Acts 26:2 -- “I make my defense”; or see a cognate in Romans 1:20, where unbelievers are allegedly “without excuse.”