Welcome to Apologetics 101
Let me start by saying that “God does not need defending but people need help understanding”, hence this segment on The Gospel Paps.
The word, “apologetics,” comes from the Greek word,”apologia” which means”a reasoned defense or to give an answer”. It is a discipline in which one gives a defense to his/her beliefs.
Christian apologetics, (“apologetics” will be used in place of “Christian apologetics” in this context), deals with answering any and all critics who oppose or question the Christian worldview. This is commonly associated with 1Pet. 3:15:
“But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”
It can be defensive as in Philippians 1:7 or offensive as in 2 Corinthians 10:5 but the best form of practical apologetic is a true Christian living.
Ghana has been set as a Christian country with about 60% of the population claiming to be Christians. It is a country that is opened to various forms of beliefs and religious sect but nationally recognizes these three forms: Christianity, Islamic and Traditional religions.
Can the country ascribe to its claim in the presence of these other two major religions? Can it still hold on to the Christian worldview to govern its policies amidst other various worldviews influencing world policies? Lastly, are the Christians in the country able to profess their faith as they need to?
This study seeks to address these issues and provide apologetics as the solution to these problems.
One of the most important reasons for practicing apologetics is to help the Christian establish his/her faith first in Christ before he/she tries to expose the gospel to others. Ghana, as a nation, has a major role to play in establishing its belief system and stating its position on most of the worldviews.
A typical example is the inception of homosexuality into the social and governmental systems of most countries. As a Christian nation, what is our stand on this? This is where apologetics come into play. Our Christian leaders, both politicians and clergies, need a strong hold on the faith they profess for good and proper governance.
In Ghana, most people are content to be nominal Christians and drift easily from one belief system to the other. Rarely do we have doctrines and biblical issues discussed apologetically on pulpits to strengthen the shallow faith of these Christians. We are witnessing the rise of corruption, immorality and indifference about upright living being exhibited by Christians.
Further, non-Christians are not taking the Christian message seriously because of the ungodly lives of many who claim to follow Christ. Through apologetics, people are able to understand why they believe what they believe and how to put their Christian values into practice. This will help them to hold onto their Christian values even in challenging situations.
The world has entered into postmodernism, and secularization is also creeping into our Ghanaian culture. The Jesus story has been heard over and over by most people and communities and there is a yearning to know why that story is true and the reason to accept it.
A typical example is when a child asked the Sunday school teacher; “who created God?” A question which in years past in the local settings was strange. Due to secularization, belief systems such as atheism, agnosticism and Buddhism have invaded our culture, challenging the Christian faith.
Apologetics is needed in addressing the Islamic and traditional sects of the country. For Islamic religion, most Christians have the fear to engage their Islamic counterparts due to their, Christians, shallow faith and relationship with them. Most Christians portray lifestyles rarely depict what they profess to believe. A lot of missionary work is done in the rural areas of the country where traditional practices are eminent.
The converts from these traditional beliefs need their faith well established not only on the stories they were told from the bible but also given them the reason to believe what they now believe. This will help them to withstand the text of time.
Ghana has come a long way in history where its foundation has been rooted in Christian beliefs in building it economically, politically, and socially. But, its foundation has now faced turbulence in these recent times amidst all these worldviews that have great influence on the economic and political structure of the world.
Apologetics is a necessity to revive and restore the country to the former days so as not to experience the western religious downturn.
Thank you for making time to read, join us every Saturday at 6pm as we delve into Christian apologetics.
By DESMOND ATO KOOMSON