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Forensics and Faithfulness

Defense in the Context of the New Testament
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Over time apologetics has become quite an elaborate affair. The term is now shorthand for almost any intellectual engagement with non-belief. A Scripture passage cited frequently as a justification for apologetics is 1 Peter 3:15. What would Peter have had in mind when he urged Christians to make a defense? Since ἀπολογίᾳ is a legal term, it is instructive to look at this Scripture passage in light of the larger witness motif in the New Testament. I conclude that defense in the New Testament, including the defense Peter had in mind, is incomplete by itself; it is in the service of bearing witness for Christ. Thus, there is no question of whether apologetics and evangelism go together; they are a package deal. I will draw primarily from A. A. Trites’ study, The Concept of Witness in the New Testament, and will conclude with a consideration of how this might color apologetics today.

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