Definition of "apologetics"


#1

How would you define apologetics? Is there a major purpose to apologetics? What is the most eficacious way to engage in apologetics?


#2

[quote=Xenos]What is the most eficacious way to engage in apologetics?
[/quote]

love the person with whom you are in dialogue.


#3

[quote=Xenos]How would you define apologetics? Is there a major purpose to apologetics? What is the most eficacious way to engage in apologetics?
[/quote]

An “apologia” is a legal defense (under Roman law.) There were early Christians who undertook the legal defense of Christianity (which was classed as religio deprava – a depraved or forbidden religion.) Justin (Martyr) is a good example of a Christian Apologist.

You can find his First Apology (circa 150 AD) here: newadvent.org/fathers/0126.htm

As you can see, he presents a comprehensive and reasoned response to the various charges and rumours against Christianity.

Apologetics, then, deals with the defense, reason, and proofs of Christianity.

An apologist must first of all be a man of faith and of Christian charity. He must approach his opponents lovingly, not aggressively.

He must, of course, also be thoroughly grounded in Catholicism, and capable of logical argument.


#4

[quote=Xenos]How would you define apologetics? Is there a major purpose to apologetics? What is the most eficacious way to engage in apologetics?
[/quote]

A previous post gave the formal definition, but I find that I engage in apologetics in two arenas. First, I have tried to become more knowledgeable in my faith because I feel that the Lord has called me to reach out to the many Catholics who: 1) go to Mass every Sunday and yet have no real relationship with Christ and do not know their faith; 2) do not go to Mass and are otherwise unchurched; and, 3) grew up in the Church and are searching for the truth.

Second, I feel compelled to clear up misunderstandings about what the Catholic Church teaches, whether they be held by Catholics, Protestants, people of other religions, agnostics, or atheists.

I get very frustrated when I see people criticizing Catholics over a misunderstanding. I can’t even count the times that I have heard people go on about how Catholics worship Mary, or believe that we have to earn our way to heaven, or that we crucify Christ on the altar over and over again at Mass because the first time wasn’t good enough. Those are heresies.

I listen to a lot of Christian radio and hear these things often. There is a syndicated Christian talk show broadcast in my area that I enjoy listening to and I really like and respect the host. I’m not one to call in to radio talk shows, but I have called in many times to clear up myths expressed about Catholics by callers or the host himself.

The simple message that I want to deliver to Protestants (and I have a number of close friends of different Protestant denominatons) is that as a Catholic, I love Jesus. He is my Savior, my Lord, and my Friend. That’s the bottom line. We can have theological discussions about Mary, the saints, purgatory, and all the other stuff discussed on this forum, but if we don’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ, all the rest is meaningless. That’s not a direct quote from the Catechism, but that is what the Catholic Church teaches. It may not be what many Catholics hear from the pulpit, but it is what the Church teaches.

As far as the best approach. As puzzleannie said, with love and with a mind that we are addressing someone so precious that Jesus was willing to die for him/her - another human soul.

Blessings


#5

Let me just add one more thing.

People who lack a certain degree of control over their emotions and who become easily offended or hurt by criticism should **not **engage in Apologetics, because a highly emotional approach tends to become overly aggressive, and overbearing, and thereby run the risk of alienating those he seeks to dialogue with, defeating the very purpose of why one engages in Apologetics in the first place.

Gerry :slight_smile:


#6

Hi,

The word “apologetics” comes from the Greek “apologia” found in 1 Peter 3:15:

“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”

Apologetics is about defending the faith. However, we are also called to do it with charity and respect for the other party. As such, it is important to work on our own formation, both in faith and in character, as we engage in dialogue.

God bless!
TTM


#7

[quote=JimO]I get very frustrated when I see people criticizing Catholics over a misunderstanding.
[/quote]

Frustration is an emotion – be careful about letting it show.


#8

One who does apologetics must strive to be an example to those he is trying to reach. A barber sporting a very bad haircut would likely lose far more customers instead of gaining more patrons.

Gerry :slight_smile:


#9

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.