What apologetics is and isn't for?

I thought apologetics was invented because certain heretics entrenched themselves in church positions and needed to be appealed to on the basis of solid church reasoning which they claimed to accept.

I didn’t think its purpose was to reach out to outsiders.

:confused: :confused: :confused:

I thought it was for defense of the faith. If it has any role in evangelization, it’d be for responding to attacks or misconceptions about the Church that a potential convert might believe. Apologists can respond to Catholics who misunderstand the faith, non-Catholics, and non-Christians. But it’s primarily a defense, lest it seem like the Church has no response for attacks on its beliefs and validity.

The Old Catholic Encyclopedia defines apologetics as:

A theological science which has for its purpose the explanation and defence of the Christian religion.

It then goes on in much greater detail.

I’ve also heard the purpose apologetics described as removing obstacles on a person’s path towards belief.

There were of course public polemics against faith in Christ by some public figures. Those needed responding fairly and squarely to as well.

JHN’s Apologia pro vita sua was to explain the way he had lived his life, in response to prominent criticisms.

What type or standard of methods should we use? What areas should our reasoning cover?

Is there a place, sometimes, for the slogan of God’s Real Cafeteria:

“Eat everything on the menu, but not all at once. Keep coming back”?

What aspects of faith should we prioritise to ordinary personal enquirers?

Does this process overlap with evangelising?

Can parishes use Called and Gifted to ready members for their part in the parish’s fivefold ministry (Eph 4)?

Thank you for the article Joe, it contains a wealth of bullet points.


Apologetics is part of catechesis and should be. It is also a vital part of evangelization because you cannot properly propagate a faith that you have no understanding of.

So I disagree with your statement. as with so much of Catholicism…it’s a both/and.

Hi, Vic!

Apologetics is about Defending the Faith; there’s no sectioning off portions of the Faith as there’s no sectioning off portions of the Body (Christ):

[FONT=“Garamond”][size=]15 Simply reverence the Lord Christ in your hearts, and always have your answer ready for people who ask you the reason for the hope that you all have. 16 But give it with courtesy and respect and with a clear conscience, so that those who slander you when you are living a good life in Christ may be proved wrong in the accusations that they bring.

(1 St. Peter 3:15-16)
Yet, all have our points of strength and weakness… so we must: a) acknowledge our limitations, and b) strengthen our weakness through instruction and seeking the collaboration of those who are able to assist us.

Maran atha!



William Lane Craig jokes about apologetics. (He’s a funny guy)

What is apologetics?
*Apologetics is learning how to tell someone you are sorry you are a Christian.
No that’s not right…
Rather, apologetics is learning how to make the other guy sorry that you are a Christian!
…No, that’s not really right either! *

Apologetics is a branch of Christian theology which seeks to provide a rational justification for Christian truth claims.

Read more / listen

1 Peter 3:15

defense = ἀπολογίαν = apologia

Short Definition: a verbal defense

You’re totally right. That’s called “evangelism”.


I agree with what you are saying.
Although, sometimes it might be described by helping the other person remove the obstacles that prevent him from believing God’s good news. That is, apologetics does not have the power to force the truth onto a person who does not want it.

Below is a quote from a very interesting article.

C.S. Lewis’s The Magician’s Nephew
By Stephen Fitzpatrick
“Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed. Uncle Andrew did.” Rather than responding to a moment of grace with receptivity and humility, Uncle Andrew forcefully excludes himself from the truth, for accepting it would be to acknowledge that much of what he has believed and strived for is a lie. This is the sad case of many people today and it often takes a catastrophe on the scale of a Flannery O’Connor story to shake them out of their self-induced spiritual comas.


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