Apologetics: Why Does It Matter?

Apologetics: Why Does it Matter

Initial Thoughts

Howdy!  Apologetics comes from the Greek word “ἀπολογία” which means to speak in defense.  It is an ancient discipline dating back to the 1st and 2nd centuries when early Christians were writing persuasively in defense of the faith.  It is a practice that has endured through the centuries into the modern era.  Today, apologetics is often identified with debates about faith.  For our church, “apologetics” essentially involves 2 concepts which, while somewhat distinct, go hand in hand.  First, biblically consistent and orthodox teaching that leads to a biblically consistent and orthodox Christian worldview.  Second, the tools necessary to defend that biblically consistent and orthodox Christian worldview in the face of questions, detractions, and criticisms.

Scripture calls us to this discipline! 1 Peter 3:15-16 says “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.  But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”  So, why do we want to emphasize apologetics here at FBCA?  Why does apologetics matter?  If we want good apologetics to help define us as a church, where does the conversation start? At this point, it is helpful to understand our context and offer some data.

The Context of an Apologetic Emphasis

The information age isn’t going away.  Anyone with internet can access what is effectively an infinite number of opinions, ideologies, and information.  A “connected” world is a good thing, but not everything offered in a connected world is good.  In the connected world, anyone with an opinion (no matter how malevolent or misinformed) can post a comment online where it will exist forever.  In a divided, polarized age, it has become increasingly difficult to stand for truth or have civil conversation, even among members of the same faith. Often, the orthodox Christian perspective is regarded as bigoted, antiquated, or close-minded.  Also, as the world continues to connect, a wide variety of religions and faiths are spreading in different parts of the world.

What About the Data? – Based on The State of Theology (2022)

  • 56% of evangelicals agree that “God accepts the worship of all religions, including Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.” (42% agreed with this statement in 2020)
  • 43% of evangelicals agree that “Jesus was a great teacher, but he was not God.” (30% agreed with this statement in 2020)
  • 26% of evangelicals agree that “the Bible, like all sacred writings, contains helpful accounts of ancient myths, but is not literally true.” (15% agreed with this statement in 2020)
  • 38% of evangelicals agree that “religious belief is a matter of personal opinion; it is not about objective truth.” (23% agreed with this statement in 2020)

Additionally, a recent report from left-leaning British media outlet Channel 4 suggests that Generation Z is less open-minded and more intolerant than older generations. Defined as people aged 13-24, Gen Z were more likely to believe that people should be “canceled” for their views and held less acceptance of different opinions than older generations.

“These are progressive people in that they support the freedoms won by earlier generations who changed social attitudes toward issues such as sexuality and equality. Indeed, they are significantly more progressive than their parents and even than millennials on some issues. But, and it is a big but, young people could be said to be less liberal because they are less tolerant of the views of others than their parents and grandparents.”

This phenomenon is being referred to as “the rise of YIPS (Young Illiberal Progressives).” And if we think “tolerance” is still the “greatest virtue” among the young, a quarter of the Gen Z respondents to the survey said they have “very little tolerance for people with beliefs I disagree with.”

What Does All This Mean?

The data indicates that misinformation about the Christian faith and false belief about Jesus is on the rise.  There is also evidence that younger generations are less tolerant of opposing views than their predecessors.  This isn’t the first time the Church has been challenged from within by false teaching and belief, but the modern age has made it easier than ever for people to embrace what they want to believe, whether right or wrong, regardless of the source, and discount or condemn alternate perspectives.  As a result of all this, many people are claiming to be “Christian” without fully understanding what it means, and without having put their faith in Jesus as God and declaring their full allegiance to him.

 What Can We Do About It?

How can we make apologetics matter in the life of our church and in our everyday? How can we “hook others,” show them why it matters, and give them the tools to practice sound theology?  How can we participate in programing that highlights apologetic teaching in age, stage, and demographically appropriate ways?  How can we participate in opportunities to engage in apologetics privately, with each other, and with the world around us?  How can we make sure that we, as a church, have a sound apologetic that’s built into the work we do each day?

 Final Thoughts (Why Does It Matter?)

This issue matters because Scripture says it matters. (1 Peter 3:15-16).  Apologetics is not just about being able to defend our faith, it is also about believing rightly in the first place. People walk around every day calling themselves “Christians” without recognizing Jesus as the Eternal, Almighty King of the universe. Jesus wasn’t just a teacher; he is our only Savior! If we want to make heaven crowded, then we need to be teaching people rightly, so they know this to be true.  If our church is not equipped with right teaching and belief, we are not equipped to share the Good News of Jesus in our daily lives.  Finally, the Bible is its own apologetic. The Word of God has incredible power to convince people of its claims and show them that Jesus is Lord. No robust theology or teaching will ever beat honest and consistent time in the scriptures.

Thanks for reading, I hope this got you thinking about your own beliefs.  At FBCA, apologetics matters to us, and we want to equip our people to feel the same way.


P.S. If you ever want to discuss theology or apologetics over a cup of coffee or some bbq, let me know!


  • Meet Generation Z by James Emery White – A Christian perspective on the students and soon to be young adults that we are going to have to teach apologetics. 
  • The Orthodox Way by Bishop Kallistos Ware – Another great primer on Christian belief. While written by an Eastern Orthodox Bishop, the text does not stray far away from the simple truths of the faith.
  • Against Liberal Theology by Roger Olson – A brief look and refutation of many of the liberal beliefs espoused by Christians today.
  • Telling a Better Story by Joshua D. Chatraw – Referenced by Dr. Wiles, this book helps equip the reader to better engage the world around them with stories.
Tanner Watson

Tanner Watson

Tanner is the guy's minister at First Baptist Church of Arlington. He hails from Argyle, Texas. Tanner is a proud graduate of the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, as well as Baylor University's George W. Truett Theological Seminary. Tanner can whip up a mean cup coffee and cook a great brisket.

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