Why Study Apologetics? Part 3
26 October 2020
Today, let us look at two more reasons why it is good for you, as a Christian, to learn apologetics or how to defend your faith. The first reason is that apologetics strengthens your faith. Even if you do not know many people with whom to share your faith, apologetics is still valuable because it may strengthen your faith in God and help you during times of doubt. Most talks given by Christians today concentrate mostly on the emotional aspects of the faith. This is important. However, emotions cannot give you strong intellectual grounds for your faith and, thus, apologetics can help fill this gap. As the philosopher and theologian, William Lane Craig, remarks,
Contemporary Christian worship tends to focus on fostering emotional intimacy with God. While this is a good thing, emotions will carry a person only so far, and then he's going to need something more substantive. Apologetics can help to provide some of that substance.
Life includes some tough or difficult or painful seasons, seasons that can tempt you to doubt your faith, or be angry with God, or be overly emotional in a bad way. Fortunately, if you are well-versed in apologetics, then you can draw from this intellectual knowledge in order to help you curb your emotions, or remain level-headed, or not lose sight of God's goodness and greatness. So, the first benefit of studying apologetics is that it may strengthen your faith.
The second benefit is that apologetics enlarges your mind. Because apologetics touches on deep topics that you rarely think about, apologetics propels you to become intellectually engaged in a study of these topics. For example, apologetics may involve philosophical discussions, such as the nature of time, consciousness, and infinity; scientific discussions, such as the origin of the universe and evolution; and theological discussions, such as the nature of God.
Furthermore, apologetics forms part of a larger study of God, a study that naturally enlarges one’s mind. Charles Spurgeon made this point in 1855, when he opened one of his morning sermons with the following words:
The proper study of God's elect is God; the proper study of a Christian is the Godhead. ... There is something exceedingly improving to the mind in a contemplation of the Divinity. It is a subject so vast, that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity; so deep, that our pride is drowned in its infinity. He who often thinks of God, will have a larger mind than the man who simply plods around this narrow globe.
As we delve into apologetics later, we will see how true these words are; the topic of the existence and nature of God truly enlarges our minds.
So, for these reasons, the study of apologetics can have some wonderful benefits.
- William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, 3rd ed. (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 2008), 19.
- C. H. Spurgeon quoted in J. I. Packer, Knowing God (London: Hodder Stoughton, 2004), 15-16.