Apologetics is defined as, “reasoned arguments or writings in justification of something, typically a theory or religious doctrine”. Typically, in the Christian community this is thought of as knowledge or rhetoric used in a debate for Christianity. Books such as, “Evidence that demands a verdict” by Josh McDowell, the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), and grand presentations by Louie Giglio are most prominent.
I am dubious of the place apologetics takes among Christians. These Apologetics are primarily for the Christians bolstering of their own faith. The evidence for God and ‘proofs’ are not even secondarily for non-Christians – these apologetics may at best be tertiary for the non-Christian.
Paul says to, “Always be prepared to give an answer for the hope that is in you”. This could easily be applied to fine arguments, but context tells us something very different. The entire book of 1 Peter from which this quote is found, is admonishing the Christians to live peacefully in the circumstance they are in. We alongside them are called to return evil with Good.
Each person in their position is supposed to respond with quiet kindness. Our example is Christ who suffered because of our own evil and granted us good. It is good for us to suffer for doing good because we are then like Christ. It is from this very peculiar response, kindness in the face of suffering, that we are told to be ready to give an account for the hope that is in us.
In apologetics, at least old school, they talk of an attention grabber. The attention grabber for us is our behavior – a behavior so peculiar that Peter admonishes us to be ready to give a reason when people ask why we behave like we do. He expected the behavior to raise questions.
Peter qualifies how we should share the hope once we are asked, “with gentleness and respect”. God oversees drawing his people unto himself. We are not called to raise a ruckus – though I concede that there may be some called to speak loudly as an exception. We are to live, I summarize, kindly first. Fine arguments, dogmatism, bombastic speeches, though God may use them they fail the admonitions of Peter.
Live kindly and with respect.