• Why do we engage in apologetics?
• What is the “audience” of apologetics?
• A basic definition of apologetics.
• The biblical basis for apologetics.
• Internal and external apologetics.
There are many different reasons why we engage in apologetics, but the biggest reason we engage in apologetics is because it is biblical. While there is no formal system or theory of apologetics found in the Bible (Beilby, 13), it makes it no less biblical. We also participate in apologetics to defend our faith not only from the outside but also from internal doubts. “Simply put, the goal of apologetics is to defend and commend the truthfulness of Christian belief.”(Beilby, 20). A thorough look at apologetics especially that focused on Christianity can be defined as the task of defending and commending the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ in a Christ like, context sensitive, and audience specific manner (Beilby, 31).
There are many different audiences for apologetics, because it focuses on speaking with specific person or group of people. It is easy to get audience and context confused because context is the environment that the apologetic discourse takes place. So your audience can vary from conversation to conversation while taking place at the same location. Most would suggest that the biggest support found in the Bibel for apologetics is 1 Peter 3:15. Also all throughout the NT especially Paul’s letters there is a great deal of apologetics taking place. Paul was known to argue for Christ at the drop of a hat. There is the one time when Paul is in Athens and comes against the Areopagus arguing on behalf of their unknown God. Reminding us of the power of the Gospel to penetrate hearts and lives.
It would seem to be rather self explanatory when you speak about internal and external apologetics. It was noted by Beilby that more people actually take place in internal apologetics more frequently than external. Internal apologetics takes place when a person wrestles with a topic about God, especially Christianity. I have personally had battles of internal apologetics when it came to the idea of infant baptism. While I believe I have come to a place of clarity on the topic it required me looking into the topic and battling it out within myself. External apologetics takes place when you enter in to a discussion with someone else, or a group of people. It is often assumed that apologetics takes place between Christians and non-believers, whether or not they are of a different religious background is of no accord. External apologetics often takes place between Christians discussing issues between themselves.