Are we ALL called to Apologetics?

In a blog article I wrote, WHAT IS AN APOLOGIST, I briefly dicussed the origin of the word “apologetics” from the Greek “apologia” which is used in 1Pet 3:15.

Given the context, I would say that each and every one of us is called to this task. However, it’s only natural that some people aren’t going to be able to do it with that gentleness and reverence that Peter says we should have while making our defense. I think the answer to my question is “yes and no” and falls into that area where each person must do what he can within his own limits…but necessarily we must all be able to give at least the most basic reasoning of our faith when called to task for it.

Thoughts?

In the strictest sense, I would say no… Apologetics is the discipline of defending a position through the systematic use of information. Most of the time this is done verbally. I would argue that the best defense of any Catholic principle is living it, being a witness and example. Not everyone is called to make verbal arguments. Verbal arguments are certainly the easiest to make, but are not nearly as effective as converting by example… we have a Holy Father that is demonstrating this…

I think I see your point. In the modern sense of “Apologetics” as a Profession, so to speak, definately not everyone is called to that. But in the hsitorical sense that Peter is talking about, giving an answer to anyone who asks of us, shouldn’t we all be prepared to give at least SOME reasoned answer for our faith? I mean, aside from living out the faith, which is clearly an important witness, and I’d be willing to say it’s the most important witness, don’t we all need to know (or at least begin to study so that we can know) enough about our faith to reasonably explain it…to some degree?

1 Peter 3:15 says “always be prepared”. It does not say to always make a defense but always be prepared to make a defense.

-Tim-

I think we are all called to defend our Faith. But I’m also not sure everyone is properly educated to be a true Apologist. An uninformed apologist can do some damage. But you won’t do damage by living your Faith and setting good examples.

Those are very good points. While we are called to be prepared, it does NOT mean we have to go out and start making defenses [unless specifically called to task to do so]. And clearly the ‘being prepared’ part (constantly learning and living the faith) is more crucial that talking about it. Turnig those priorities teh other way could certainly lead to an uneducated “apologist” doing real damage (as I am sure some of us have witnessed in our lives).

We are all called to evangelize, but evangelization should not be confused with apologetics.

Absolutely and I think that is exactly what the Year of Faith was trying to accomplish… getting Catholics to learn the Catholic religion, strengthen their faith & conscious and be able to live their lives according to it… and use words when necessary to explain it.

People throw 1 Peter 3:15 out as an impetus for apologetics but they don’t get the context of what that verse is about.

But even if you do suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence; and keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are abused, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing right, if that should be God’s will, than for doing wrong. (1 Peter 3:14-17)

It is about having hope of salvation even when things are going really bad. It is about not having fear and not being troubled when persecution, tribulation, and temptation comes. It’s about living a life of joy and peace when “it” is hitting the fan and everyone is in a rage, and being able to explain why you are calm and at peace.

Being able to give a reason why one has hope, joy and peace presupposes actually having hope, joy and peace. We have to work on getting those first and then we can give a reason why we have it. Then we can do apologetics with a smile, and people will see someone who isn’t a hypocrite but someone who actually lives what he says.

The word hypocrite in Greek means actor. There is nothing worse than an apologist who is full of anger, who does not have hope and therefor peace.

-Tim-

I think, yes, but, like you say, not all are capable of it…it depends on their abilities BUT they could always refer a person to someone else that can provide and answer. Apologetics seems to be a fundamental part of the faith since Satan is continuously waging a war against Truth, trying to distort it and cover it up every chance he can get.

1 Peter 3:15 teaches us to always be ready to give an explanation of our faith. So I think you are correct.

Yes, I know the above post attempts to refute this passage as a reference, but I have to disagree with that interpretation at this point in time. It seems to me that the Apostle is referencing defending the faith (defending the truth), because he uses Jesus’ way of defending the truth (gentleness and reverence, being put to death) as an example of how we are supposed to defend it.

No, we ARE called to defend our faith. For if Jesus was tested, and so were the Apostles, then certainly we will be tested too. This is sound teaching that everyone should be prepared to give an explanation, to defend their faith.

But, then the question comes to mind: are we called to actively defend the faith? In other words, are we called to go out and seek to be persecuted and tested? I don’t believe so.

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