Apologetics is the well reasoned defense of things believed or claimed to be true. It can deal with matters of faith, like doctrine; or it can deal with matters of philosophy that have implications for doctrine, like human knowing or the relationship between faith and reason; or it can even address prudential decisions affecting the life of the Church that were made in specific historical circumstances like: the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, or the Nazi threat. While apologetics can treat a very broad range of questions, it is important to remember that its place is forever secondary to understanding and preaching the truths of the Gospel in love and with one’s life.
One cannot develop a full appreciation of the faith only from answering the challenges put to it. While the debate may be useful to some, because the clarification of concepts, terms, and propositions by any discussion does enhance the understanding of specific matters, we know that Christ came to us as a man, living the love of God for all to see for roughly 33 years. At times it required answering challenges put to him, but the example he set was to preach the Good News in love and to let the Holy Spirit move those of godly heart to respond. Understanding the tenets of the faith is important, but it will always be directed in service to living the faith and expressing it in love. May your practice of apologetics be exceeded by your love and the example of a godly life.
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