One of my goals for my college education was to expand my vocabulary. In that effort, I minored in Latin. According to dictionary.com, over 60% of all English words have Greek or Latin roots. Without a doubt, my minor helped me better understand grammar, languages, roots, and definitions. But my Latin minor has made me work that much harder to use understandable language. That is why a post like this must begin with some definitions of words like apologetics.
My overly simplified definition of apologetics is a defense of the Gospel. The word, apologetics, sounds too much like apology to some people, and this causes confusion. On the other hand, “defense” of the Gospel, can also cause confusion because of associating that word with a legal effort to respond to accusations. And some hear the word, Gospel, and immediately think of the four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. But the Gospel in my definition of apologetics is information and teaching from God’s Word related to the birth, life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Are You Preparing them for Apologetics
Apologetics is what we do when we witness, use a Gospel tract, teach about Jesus, or answer questions about Jesus or the Gospel. It is part of what disciple-making communicates when helping disciples study and build a Christian world view. The goal would be for each disciple to be able to give his or her own defense of the Gospel.
There are many essentials in our disciple-making efforts. A relationship with Jesus is essential. Daily intake of God’s Word and knowledge about the Bible are essential. An ability to apply God’s truth to daily life is essential. But too often, apologetics is missing or ignored in disciple-making.
Ask questions about what your disciple is learning as you work through God’s Word together. Discussion helps disciples to process and think beyond the facts. Ask questions about application in the disciple’s life and in various situations that might occur in life. Help your disciple to be prepared to respond to questions people ask your disciple. If you don’t help your disciple to think critically here, he or she may miss prime opportunities to share Jesus and encourage others in their openness to the Gospel.
Keep it simple. Disciple-making should always be reproducible. If it gets too complicated, the method of disciple-making will die with the sharer of that method. There is much to do in the time we have with our disciples, but apologetics has an important part to play as we invest in them. Be a disciple. Give attention to apologetics. Make disciples!