The word apologetics is derived from the Greek “apologia”, meaning a defense (usually) of a position, opinion or action. Hence, Christian Apologetics is a defense of the Christian faith. If you search the term apologetics on the internet you might find definitions like: “a systematic argumentative discourse in defense (as of a doctrine)”. You could also see this: “a branch of theology devoted to the defense of the divine origin and authority of Christianity”.
At its most fundamental level Christian Apologetics would begin with a defense of the position that God does in fact exist. After all, if there is no God, then there cannot be a Son of God or a God incarnate, i.e. Christ. If there is no Christ then what is Christianity but a “fool’s fairytale”.
From a very early age the whole question of God’s existence was put before me in many different forms. In fact, before I was ten I remember my father stopping me at the door as I was leaving for Sunday school with my mother and seven siblings when my father said to me: “Ask the preacher if God can build a rock bigger than he can move?”
On another occasion, when my father saw that I was praying over my food he said: “How many times have I told you there is no God, it’s just a fool’s fairytale.” Obviously my father was an atheist and he did his level best to raise his first born son the same way.
My father arrived at this belief as a result of a tragedy that occurred in his teens. It was on a day he had skipped school. While his father was out looking for his truant son, his father was killed in an automobile accident. At the wake my Father’s Aunt said “You killed him, you killed my brother.” When bad things of this nature happen in life we either move closer to God or further away. My father went in the wrong direction.
In my early teens he encouraged me to read the works of the atheist philosophers like Feurbach, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, etc. Like any father, he believed he knew best and he wanted his son to know the “truth.”
Fortunately for me, in my late twenties I had a spiritual experience wherein I was touched by God in a way that, irrespective of what could ever happen in my life thereafter I would never question the existence of my creator. This experience was the basis of a pivotal scene in the semi-autobiographical story I have titled “Can’t Stop It!”
It is the story of a young teenager’s battle to break from his father’s belief that “life is a cruel joke, barely worth living.” The story was inspired by several original songs my brother Jimmy Mack shared with me after we laid our Mother to rest.
I mention my conversion from atheist to believer here to compare my initial believe in the existence of God, which was based entirely upon faith that only a superior power could touch me as I was touched on that fateful day to my present belief that is complimented by reason and logic.
I say reason and logic because we can indeed use our intellect to discover the reality of God. And that, to me is an important role of Christian Apologetics, because as I said above, a defense of Christianity begins with a defense of the existence of God.
One of the great blessings in life is the acquaintances with whom God blesses us. It so happened early in the history of The Light Ministries Inc, I had an occasion to study under one who many would rightfully consider among the greatest apologists of our time (I would personally add, of any time). I am talking of course about Dr. Norman Geisler, the author of over one hundred books and a profoundly intelligent defender of the Christian faith.
Studying and internalizing his augments for the existence of God is indispensable for anyone who wishes to understand apologetics and to defend Christianity.
Here are some links to help you in that direction: