Defending The Faith
Some people may think “what are you sorry for?” when they first hear the term “to give an apology”. What it actually means is to give a verbal defense, a reasoned statement or argument. This is where the word apologetics comes from; the Greek “apologia”. Within scripture, this word is used in various places including Acts 25:16, 1Cor. 9:3, 2Tim. 4:16, 1Peter 3:15. You can also read from the ECF’s (Early Church Fathers, also known as Ante Nicene Fathers) having in their works, the term apologia, as a defense against the false teachers/religions in their day. Justin Martyr in two of his discourse titles he used apologia. One is named The First Apology of Justin and the follow up was called The Second Apology of Justin.
To give a defense [of the faith] was a common practice in the first century church and in subsequent centuries. It was effective to give a “reasoned statement” to those that were perverting the gospel or denying it altogether. This was not endless debating either, but there was more involved than just throwing out a few “proof texts”, hoping that they would stick. The early Christians were also well versed in the culture/religions/teachings that they were addressing. Having such “intel” was helpful in determining how to approach each individual, where they were coming from, and how to apply scripture accordingly. In a future article, we’ll discuss how some of these dialogues (and their techniques) played out in society and why it’s important for the church today.