View Full Version : What's an Apology ?

10-23-2006, 09:20 AM
From this morning's Christian Soul Food (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/christiansoulfood/):

What's an Apology ?

The greek word for 'a well reasoned defense' (apologia) is found both in ancient greek literature all throughout the ancient world. The word is a legal term, found frequently in official proceedings and ancient court documents. One of the more popular 'apologies' written was Plato's Apology, in which Socrates defended himself against charges of corrupting the youth of Athens and not believing in the traditional gods.

In the early church, men like Justin Martyr wrote book-length defenses of the Christian faith to respond to questions and charges against Christians. Justin, for example, wrote his famous "Dialogue with Trypho" (A 2nd Century Jewish Philosopher).

Irenaeus, a mid to late 2nd century church father, church wrote an entire document in defense of Christian beliefs and refuting the early heresy of Gnosticism called "Against All Heresies". Irenaeus' work sought to cover all areas of Christian theology.

Irenaeus' mentor, Polycarp (who was a disciple of John) was martyred during his 86th year of life for refusing to blaspheme Christ and 'Caesar is Lord', stood before the authorities, under thread of wild beasts and burning to death, Polycarp answered "Eighty-six years I have been His servant and He has done me no wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me ?" Polycarp even told the Proconsul that if he wished to become a Christian and learn of Christianity, set a date and time and he would present a defense of it to him.

In 1521, Martin Luther came before the church synod the Diet of Worms (diet being another name for church council) to defend the doctrine of justification by faith and the scriptures as the final infallible authority for the believer to the Roman Catholic church. Rome refused to hear the words of scripture and excommunicated Luther.

All of these historical examples should give you a very good example of what an apologia is. In Christianity and when discussing Christian theology, belief and practice, apologetics is a well reasoned defense for what you believe. It's knowing what you believe, why you believe it and being able to defend it when questioned.


10-23-2006, 09:46 AM
Yup. I remember when I first started my college work, I thought "apology?" I figured it out real quickly, and then words like "apologist" etc started making more sense. Funny how we use language differently, and even forgo some fairly traditional concepts as time emerges.