The Art of Faith Defense is called Apologetics. It may sound like someone is making an “apology,” but that’s not the meaning. It comes from the Greek word apologia and means “a speech made in defense, a verbal defense, to give an answer in defense.” In ancient Greece, the prosecution in a trial would deliver their kategoria (accusation, charge). The defendant would respond with an apologia (defense, reasoned statement or argument). God calls on Christians to defend their faith verbally.
The Apostle Paul was an expert in making verbal defenses of his faith – “Brethren and fathers, hear my defense before you now.” (Acts 22:1) The word “defense” is apologia. Paul defended himself inside prison as well as out – “inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace.” (Philippians 1:7) Defending the Gospel is what God called Paul to do with his life – “knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel.” (Philippians 1:17)
In case you might think that defending the Christian faith is just for apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, look at what the Apostle Peter told believers to do – “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.” (1 Peter 3:15-16) Always be ready to give a defense (apologia) to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you.
Being ready to give a verbal defense to “everyone” who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you means having an answer at the ready. In order to have answers ready to share, it’s helpful to know our subject well – in this case, the Gospel of Jesus Christ (“knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel”). If you want to be ready to give a verbal defense to everyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you, you will need to make it a priority in your life.
Apologetics is an important field of theological study. It is the discipline of defending a position through the systematic use of evidence and reason. First, know your position. Second, be ready to defend it. What is our position in Christ? We are members of His Body by grace through faith. We are children of the Almighty God. That is the “hope” within us. We must be ready to defend everything associated with God and His Word. That is a tall order, but one to which we have been called, and a call to which we joyfully respond.
The world is throwing everything it has at Christians because they hate Jesus Christ – “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.” (John 15:18). We carry Christ’s Name with us and some people will hate us for that reason. We must be ready to defend God’s Word at all cost.
(Mr. McGee is a former atheist and has spent more than 50 years in the “gentle art” of self defense and is a Senior Instructor in multiple martial arts systems.)