What is the difference between an apologist and a theologian?


I am graduate student of theology and I was reading some of your posts and articles about professional apologists. I was wondering if you could give me some exact details about the differences between apologists and theologians. I ask this, because while in your various articles you mention that while a degree is theology can be helpful for being an apologist, it is not necessary. I know, however, that at times my professor has written non-scholarly articles for various publications (in fact, he just wrote one for This Rock). I have, of course, engaged in informal apologetics many times with friends, family, etc., but have never written anything formal or any formal speeches.

I enjoy both apologetics and formally studing theology and was hoping to get some clarification on these two careers.


As a somewhat rough analogy, the difference between an apologist and a theologian is like the difference between a science teacher and a scientist: Just as a science teacher explains science and a scientist develops our understanding of science, an apologist explains and defends what is known about the faith while a theologian explores the faith and seeks to expand upon what is known about the faith. What that can mean in practical terms is that while a theologian should be prepared to act as an apologist, an apologist need not be a theologian.

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