Apologetics (!)= Evangelism

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Der Pilger

Puritan Board Freshman
The other thread about apologetics and arguing people into the kingdom got me thinking about this.

I put this out here more as a question than a statement.

I'm thinking that perhaps too often we have made the mistake of equating apologetics with evangelism, or at least thinking that apologetics is a necessary part of evangelism. (Just to be clear, when I say "apologetics" I have in mind the idea of "defending.")

Assuming my take on the meaning of the word apologetics is correct, is it right to think of the proclamation of the gospel as including its defense as well? Unless I'm mistaken, when I see the concept of defending the faith spoken of in the NT, it seems that it is either commanded as an action against false teachers (Jude 3-4) or as a means of explaining the reason for one's hope to unbelievers when facing the prospect of persecution (1 Peter 3:13-17). Unless I've missed something, it never seems to be commanded as an evangelistic tool per se.

On the other hand, whenever the gospel is preached or its preaching described, it seems to be referred to more as a proclamation than a defense, i.e., a proclamation because its truths are assumed from the beginning to be true and in need of no defense.
 

cih1355

Puritan Board Junior
Evangelism is the proclamation of the gospel and apologetics is the defense of gospel.

Your question caused me to think of another question. If we tell someone about the gospel of Jesus Christ and that person raises no objections to the Christian faith, do we need to do apologetics in that situation?
 

Der Pilger

Puritan Board Freshman
Evangelism is the proclamation of the gospel and apologetics is the defense of gospel.

Your question caused me to think of another question. If we tell someone about the gospel of Jesus Christ and that person raises no objections to the Christian faith, do we need to do apologetics in that situation?

Some might disagree with me on this, but I'd say that for the purpose of regeneration it is not necessary because regeneration is brought about with the word of truth (James 1:18). Faith is a voluntaristic action, not an intellectual one, done in response to revelation from God. In other words, those who believe do so because they want to, not because the truth has been proven to them. Faith is not brought about via rational proof.
 

Sgt Grit

Puritan Board Freshman
When I first became a Christian I believed “I” could talk someone into the Kingdom if I just had the right words to say, and on the opposite side of the coin I believed I could turn someone away from Jesus if I didn’t explain and defend the Gospel well enough. That and pride caused me to read every book on apologetics I could find, but as I grew in Christ I realized that it was not I who convinced people, but the Holy Spirit who changes the heart (part of the reason I’m a Calvinist).

Once I realized it was God I became bolder in proclaiming the Gospel (so much for Calvinists don’t witness). If I had to do it over again I would radically change the way I studied apologetics:

1. I would have spent the vast majority of my time studying who God is rather than who He is not. Meaning I would have spent much more time in the Bible and less in books about false religions. This has helped me immensely with my witness and discerning error.
2. More time in old and NT history to understand the people during Biblical history.
3. I would have only used books on apologetics to fill gaps that my other areas of study missed. For example, help me keep thing concise.
 

Skyler

Puritan Board Graduate
I think it's Greg Koukl that defines apologetics as "breaking down barriers to the Gospel". It's not necessary when there are no barriers up, only when objections are brought forth.

BTW, do you do programming? That's the only place I've seen "!=" for "is not equal to". :)
 

SolaSaint

Puritan Board Sophomore
I'm with you on the separation of apologetics and evangelism. I too feel apologetics as defined in scripture is for defensive purposes, however during the defense I feel it can also plant a seed of salvation and thus be considered evangelistic. As I noted in anther thread I feel apologists are needed today more than ever for all the deception in the church. This may also include Polemics, but we need to defend our faith against the great onslaught of immorality and anti-Christian doctrines we see today.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Apologetics, biblically defined, should be the sin-convincing element of evangelism. It does not seek to argue people into the kingdom of God, but to show unbelievers that they are without excuse for their rejection of Christianity.
 
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