Monday, February 12, 2007

What is apologetics?

"Always be prepared to give a reason for the hope that you have..." 1 Peter 3:15

Have you ever been challenged about your Faith? Have you ever had anyone ask you whether or not you were saved... why Catholics baptize infants...

why Catholics honor the Virgin Mary... why we obey the Pope... why we call our priests Father when Scripture tells us 'call no man father'?

For some people, it is enough just to say--"I am Catholic, my parents were Catholic, and it's good enough for me." Or, they will just consider asking their pastor some time. However, in today's world, such an attitude is not good enough. All Catholics have an obligation to learn about their faith and WHY they believe what they believe. Part of the mission of the laity is to evangelize. How can we evangelize if we do not know the reasons for our beliefs?

The term "apologetics" is derived from two Greek words meaning "to speak from." Catholics speak from the position of their Faith which they seek to explain and defend. There are three branches of apologetics: Natural apologetics builds the case for truths we can know from the "natural" light of reason (the existence of God, the spirituality of the human soul, etc.). Christian apologetics builds the case for divinely revealed truths common to all Christians (biblical miracles, divinity of Christ, the Resurrection, etc.). Catholic apologetics focuses more on specific truths of the Christian faith that are unique to Catholics (the Sacraments, the papacy, teachings about Mary, the Catholic Church founded by Christ, etc.). Scripture itself exhorts us to know and be able to defend our Faith: "Always be prepared to give a reason for the hope that you have..." (1 Peter 3:15).

See below for links to various apologetic website and books:


Journals/magazines (paid subscriptions, OR some of these have websites with searchable database of old articles on-line for free):

This Rock magazine (

Envoy Magazine (

The Catholic Answer (Our Sunday Visitor):

Books (these are just some... there are many that can be listed!... the Catechism of the Catholic Church, of course, is foundational to any self-study)

  • Handbook of Christian Apologetics: Hundreds of Answers to Crucial Questions, Peter Kreeft & Ronald Tacelli (InterVarsity Press) [touches no natural apologetics and Christian apologetics]
  • Fundamentals of the Faith: Essays in Christian Apologetics, Peter Kreeft (Ignatius Press) [included articles on the major world religions and how they compare to Christianity]
  • The Essential Catholic Survival Guide: Answers to Tough Questions About the Faith, Staff of Catholic Answers (Catholic Answers)
  • Catholic and Christian: An Explanation of Commonly Misunderstood Catholic Beliefs, Alan Schreck (Servant) [highly recommended brief, readable book]
  • Catholicism and Fundamentalism: The Attack on 'Romanism' by 'Bible Christians', Karl Keating (Ignatius Press)
  • Born Fundamentalist Born Again Catholic, David B. Currie (Ignatius Press)
  • Why is That in the Bible?, Patrick Madrid (Our Sunday Visitor)
  • Why is That in Tradition?, Patrick Madrid (Our Sunday Visitor)
  • Catholic Doctrine in Scripture: A Guide to the Verses That Are Key to Affirming the Faith, Gregory Oatis (CHResources)
  • Catholic for a Reason: Scripture and the Mystery of the Family of God, Scott Hahn and Leon J. Suprenant, Jr. eds. (Emmaus Road)
  • Not by Scripture Alone: A Catholic Critique of the Protestant Doctrine of Sola Scriptura, Robert A. Sungenis (Queenship Publishing)
  • Not by Bread Alone: The Biblical and Historical Evidence for the Eucharistic Sacrifice, Robert Sungenis (Queenship Publishing)
  • Not by Faith Alone, Robert Sungenis (Queenship Publishing)
  • Jesus, Peter & the Keys: A Scriptural Handbook on the Papacy, Scott Butler, Norman Dahlgren, and Rev. Mr. David Hess (Queenship Publishing)
  • The Divine Primacy of the Bishop of Rome and Modern Eastern Orthodoxy: Letters to a Greek Orthodox on the Unity of the Church, James Likoudis (St. Martin De Porres Lay Dominican Community)
  • Pope Fiction, Patrick Madrid
  • Ending the Byzantine Greek Schism, James Likoudis (St. Martin De Porrest Lay Dominican Community)
  • The Salvation Controversy, James Akin (Catholic Answers)

Many publishers also have cassete and CD presentations and Catholic-Protestant debates, check out Catholic Answers (, St. Joseph Communications (, and Patrick Madrid's sites ( for such items.

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