To answer the question, “what is Christian apologetics?” some ancient history awareness is required. The origin of the term Christian apologetics is based on the Greek term “apologia,” which means defense, such as was often employed in the court of law. One of the most prominent examples of apologetics used in its original Greek interpretation is Plato’s Apology, in which Socrates raised defense against charges that he was of an atheistic faith.
In the simplest terms, christian apologetics is a field of Christian theology aimed at serving as a form of defense against certain objections that may be brought up against it. The defenses that christian apologetics use for the faith are largely based in evidential and historical reasoning.
The term Christian apologetics shouldn’t be confused for something that means the literal act of apologizing, but rather something more akin to the concept of rationalizing or clarifying.
Christian apologetics is not only something that serves to work as a defense for Christian values, but also one that should ideally work as a form of positive foundation-setting for the faith as well. Many devout Christians see both the defense and support of Christian apologetic reasoning as not just a practice, but an obligation.
As a concept, Christian apologetics has been adapted to fit the mold of multiple different interpretations over the centuries. Since his earliest iteration in the early church, through the age of Enlightenment to the modern era, the forms in which Christianity has been defended by authors and speakers alike have been expressed in countless different ways from countless different angles.
The central hub of publicized Christian apologetics generally circulated around North America and Europe, though outside of these zones, apologetics is not seen to have quite as much backing in terms of publication.
Though much of the Christian apologetic literature has been argued from a strictly moral standpoint, there has also been a significant showing of legal substantiation for Christian apologetics followers who identified as legal scholars.
The historical line of Christian apologetics included Jay Warner Wallace, a homicide detective. Through legal evidentialism, forensic investigators such as Wallace have purported that the historicity of certain events in the Bible could be substantiated through legal evidence. In addition to legally substantiating matters such as the resurrection of Christ, legal evidentialism and has also been used as a way of formulating hypotheses for the origin of the religion itself.
In areas outside of legal evidence, Christian apologetics may also be employed as a form of defense for the notion of miracles. Rather than seeing miracles as an ineffable occurrence, Christian apologetics illustrate the miracle as being something plausibly facilitated by an autonomous higher power.
Christian apologetics not only employ their evidentialism for the explanation of events that occur in the past, but also make an attempt to clarify the ambiguity of the future and the notion of its relationship with prophetic fulfillment. Authors such as Peter Stoner have expressed apologetic sentiments in writings that suggests an all-powerful creator both knows the future and facilitates happenings that culminate in the fulfillment of prophecies.