“Always be prepared to give an answer.” This could be called a biblical rallying cry—a motto of the Christian apologist—and it’s found in 1 Peter 3:15-16:
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”
1 Peter was written to people who were experiencing persecution and suffering for doing good. Followers of Jesus were being admonished to be prepared to give an answer to the questions which the world was throwing at them (and I would add, to the questions they threw at themselves). Not just any answer would do. God’s people, both then and now, are called to give respectful, reasoned answers so that they can maintain a clear conscience before God and their hearers; and, ultimately, so their hearers can come into a saved relationship with God. According to Webster’s Dictionary, apologetics is “the branch of theology which defends Christian doctrine on the grounds of reason.” The passage above is a call for followers of Jesus to be apologists. This book is intended to help believers toward that goal.
John has used the title Field Manual for Christian Apologetics because this book covers such a broad area of topics and it will hopefully serve as a useful tool for believers who want to engage their own doubts and provide reasonable answers to a culture that is inquiring about God.