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]

Appendices

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.”

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