“Apologetics (noun): reasoned arguments or writings in justification of something, typically a theory or religious doctrine.”

When you mention the word “apologetics” in a group of Christians these days, you are likely to get a variety of responses. Some people have never heard of the term or think it refers to when Christians apologize for our faith.

Others think it is an obscure area of study that appeals only to those who like to argue or debate. Occasionally, you will find a person who loves the art of apologetics and sees its link to evangelism, to sharing the Gospel.

I first became aware of Christian apologetics in high school by reading authors like Josh McDowell and C.S. Lewis. I later attended a large secular university, at which I was exposed to many skeptics, and I see how God prepared me to know why I believed what I believed and the evidence behind the historic Christian faith.

Today, Christianity is under open attack. This is, of course, nothing new. From the time of the New Testament to the Enlightenment to today, skeptics abound. It is not hard to find groups of people who doubt the inspiration of the Bible, who doubt the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who doubt the very existence of God.

As Christians, we understand that we never will argue people into heaven, as one pastor famously said. We do understand, however, that the Christian faith is rooted in reality and hence, rooted in history.

Far from casting doubt on the veracity of the Christian faith, disciplines like archeology, astronomy, biology, history, linguistics and more serve to underscore the truth claims of the Bible. That should be exciting to us, as believers, to know that Christianity is not a blind leap of faith.

At the 2017 Oklahoma State Evangelism Conference (Jan. 30-31 at Del City, First Southern), Oklahoma Baptists and others have a golden opportunity to hear from one of the foremost living Christian apologetics experts, Frank Turek. A prolific author and speaker, Turek is perhaps best known for co-authoring the book, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist.

The title of the book says it all. It truly takes more faith to believe the universe came into being apart from God than it takes to believe God made the universe. Often times, however, atheism is simply a mask people wear, so as to justify staying in their sin or lifestyle.

Through being equipped to answer objections presented by atheists and skeptics, though, we can present reasonable arguments (hopefully with grace and not in an argumentative way) that make these people and others listening in to stop and think.

So we share the truth through apologetics, then use it as a springboard to share the life-changing message of the Gospel. This link between apologetics and evangelism is key.

Ultimately it is God, not us, who does the saving. But if we are equipped and faithful to take every opportunity, we know from God’s Word that our efforts will not be in vain.