When you first hear the word, apologetics, the first thing that comes to mind is what were are apologizing for. Apologetics in the Christian faith has nothing to do with apologizing for what Christians believe. Apologetics is simply defending the Christian faith.
It seems some Christians want nothing to do with apologetics because they think that is the pastor's job along with evangelism and studying the Word. Granted that is what a pastor is suppose to do, but it is also the duty of every Christian not only to evangelize and study the Word, but to defend the Christian faith as well. 1 Peter 3:15 says, "In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect." The Apostle Peter was not directing this just to the elders of the church, he was directing this to the entire church. Every believer has the responsibility for defending the faith.
The need for apologetics in today's church is great. Christians are being looked at by the media as narrow-minded, bigoted hateful people. Other religions try to convert Christians because they have no firm foundation in their faith. Some Christians do not know the basics of the Christian faith.
In his book, Expository Apologetics, Voddie Baucham writes about need for apologetics:
Apologetics has waxed and waned in terms of its popularity among Christians in America. At times there has been more emphasis on mercy ministries, social outreach, or church growth. At other times evangelism and apologetics take center stage Currently, we are in the midst of a surge of the popularity and practice of apologetics. More and more, Christians are beginning to recognized the need. Apologetics is necessary today because of issues such as biblical illiteracy, postmodern/post-Christian thinking, open opposition to biblical truth, and the grow presence of opposing religions.
Notice four issues on why apologetics is needed in the church today, which he does go into a little more detail in the book. Biblical illiteracy is one of them because people don't read the Bible especially some Christians. We don't expect lost people to read the Bible for themselves, but Christians should be picking it up and read it, yet they don't and have no idea what they believe. Postmodern/post-Christian thinking is truth that sufficient for them and Christianity is irrelevant. Open opposition to biblical truth comes in many forms especially in the media when Christians are made to look like the bad guy. The growing presence of opposing religions when the idea of religious freedom is simply a modern invention, as Baucham states, and Christianity is looked on as a great evil in America.
Apologetics is necessary because many don't know what we believe. I am sorry, but TV preaching will not solve that issue. Yes, people can listen to a podcast from a healthy gospel-centered preacher, but that will still not take the place of defending the faith.
Where does one begin in studying apologetics? The best place to start is to study the Bible. Know what you believe it and why. No one is saying we will have the answer to every question, but we must be ready to defend the faith. As you defend the faith, remember what Peter said, "do it with gentleness and respect." The world come at you with some harsh words and even say some hateful things, but that is not how we should react in defending the faith. In the following verse, Peter said, "having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame" (1 Peter 3:16).