Is There a Difference Between Apologetics and Evangelism?

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By Robby Hall

Many have an idea that the discipline of Apologetics is limited to showing some esoteric point to be true or getting into long debates with atheists. The truth is, apologetics is about one thing ‚Äď bringing people to Christ. Some see evangelism and apologetics as differing from each other in their end goal. But is this the case?

Is There a Difference Between Apologetics and Evangelism

The late Dr. Francis Schaeffer referred to apologetics as “pre-evangelism”. He believed that most were not ready to hear the Gospel as they had many questions or objections that were in their way. Apologetics was the way to prepare the person to hear the Gospel so that they could respond without the obstacles of those questions. One could say that apologetics correctly done would be the “handmaiden” of evangelism. Apologetics is there to help our evangelistic efforts, not to get into fights over doctrine or ideas about evolution.

In, The God Who Is There[1], Dr. Schaeffer wrote:

‚ÄčThey (non-Christians) are valuable, so we should meet them in love and compassion. Thus, we meet the person where he or she is. Consequently, if I were with Paul and Silas in the Philippian jail, and the Philippian jailer said to me, ‚Äúsir, what must I do to be saved?‚ÄĚ for me to start talking about epistemology would be horrible. I would say what Paul said, ‚ÄúBelieve on the LORD Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved‚ÄĚ because the jailer was, on the basis of previous knowledge and events, ready for that answer.¬†¬†‚ÄčNow on the other hand, if we are dealing with someone who has honest problems and who really believes that truth is truth ‚Äď things are true and things are false, it would then be a different need.¬† In that situation, if he or she had questions on the historicity of Christ‚Äôs resurrection and so on, we would deal with those questions ‚Äď because he or she already accepts that truth is truth.

Evangelism and Apologetics go hand in hand and we should, as Christians, be prepared beforehand to engage in both disciplines so that we can follow the command of Christ to make disciples of all nations.

Notes

[1] Scheaffer, Francis A. , The God Who Is There, InterVarsity Press, 1968.

 


Robby Hall is in the Secure Access industry for Information Technology. He has been married for 3 years and has just welcomed his first child, Bridget. He is graduate of the Cross Examined Instructor’s Academy and leads apologetics small groups at his local church.

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