What Are Apologetics and Polemics?

By on

Many Christians now are interested in apologetics. Others don’t know what the term means. Does it mean we are apologizing for being Christians? Absolutely not!
Even fewer know what polemics are, although many practice it.

In this video we explain that simply put:

  • Apologetics – is defending your beliefs
  • Polemics – is finding problems with other people’s beliefs

Apologetics differ depending on who is attacking your faith. For example, if you are defending the Christian faith from atheists you will present different material than if you are defending against Muslim attacks. So, it is good to learn defenses which are specific to the kind of people you are having discussions with.

Polemics also differ depending on to whom you are speaking. The challenges you would give atheists are not necessary for Muslims. Finding fault with Islam and other religions usually requires a bit of study to understand what they believe. First, learn how it differs from your beliefs. Then, look into things they believe that contradict what you believe and find reasonable ways you can question those or challenge them.

Many people who are brave enough to share their faith only want to talk about God’s love and the gospel. Sometimes that is enough to bring a person to Christ. But now, with people from so many backgrounds living in the West, we need to both explain the gospel in a way that makes sense to them, defend it against their stumbling blocks. Beyond that as Brother E who trained Dr. C says that when we are reaching Muslims,

“Sooner or later we need to expose Islam and challenge them. It is so difficult for Muslims to leave Islam that they must be totally convinced that it is wrong before they have the courage.”

As we often explain, our activities with Muslims, and anyone, fall into three categories:

  1. Building Bridges
  2. Sharing Truth
  3. Challenging Falsehood

Our videos and study guides show you in detail how to do these things. We prefer to do them in that order: build, share, and then challenge. If you have a good bridge, or relationship with someone, you can say almost anything without causing trouble if you say it in love. But there are a few settings where the order changes, such as in a debate or online.

Whatever the setting however, be sure to pray before you do any of these. Remember, when you are arguing to defend the Christian faith or challenge Islam that God loves everyone. He loves them despite the foolish or evil things that they believe. We need to represent God well, as his ambassadors, regardless of the setting we are in.