Explaining & Defending the faith
The term Apologetics refers to the structured discipline of defending religious doctrines through systematic argumentation and discourse. The original Greek word apologia (ἀπολογία) meant to defend oneself by a formal verbal defense in response to an accusation. In the Classical Greek legal system, the prosecution delivered the kategoria (κατηγορία), the accusation or charge, and the defendant replied with an apologia, the defense. In the 2nd century, Christians were severely persecuted by the Roman Empire and many charges were brought against them. The ancient Roman historian Tacitus wrote that Emperor Nero fabricated charges that Christians started the burning of Rome (Tacitus, Annals 15:44). Other charges included cannibalism (due to a literal interpretation of the Eucharist) and incest (due to early Christians’ practice of addressing each other as “brother” and “sister”). Early Christian writers such as Justin Martyr, Theophilus of Antioch, Irenaeus of Lyons, Tertullian, and Origen of Alexandria began developing and writing systematic defenses of their beliefs against the authorities and critics of their time. These writers became known as Apologists.
“After we have thus washed him who has been convinced and has assented to our teaching, we bring him to the place where those who are called brethren are assembled, in order that we may offer hearty prayers in common for ourselves and for the baptized… those who are called by us deacons give to each of those present to partake of the bread and wine mixed with water over which the thanksgiving was pronounced, and this food is called among us Eukaristia [Eucharist], of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration [Baptism].”
-Justin Martyr “First Apology, Chapter 65-66″
(Written 148 A.D.)
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