Monthly Archives: September 2014

What’s the Point?


Studying by Skakerman, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   by  Skakerman 



What’s the point?

Maybe you’re a first-year Apologetics competitor who was forced to participate in Apologetics by your parents. Maybe you’re a second-year student who never really cared too much about the event. Maybe you’re that parent who forced your child to do Apologetics, but has had a difficult time convincing them that it is worth their while.

No matter who you are, this article is for you. What’s the point of Apologetics? Why do the leagues offer it, anyway?

In my book Defend, there is one particular section which sheds some light on the issue:

According to the NCFCA, the goal of Apologetics is ‘to motivate students to study the core issues of the Christian faith and be prepared to articulate a defense of what they believe.’ Stoa says that the goal of Apologetics is to ‘motivate students to study and articulate the core issues of their faith in a knowledgeable, sincere, and winsome manner.’

To summarize the statements above, I believe that there are two reasons that the leagues offer Apologetics as a competitive category. These are unique benefits that Apologetics provides. I like to refer to these benefits as ‘motivate and articulate.’ Notice that these words occur in both descriptions of the goal of Apologetics: to motivate students to study the core issues of Christianity and to enable them to articulate a defense of that faith. Let’s look at each of these in turn….”

As Apologists, we should be passionate about knowledge. But this is not knowledge for the sake of knowledge, oh no. We aim not for puffed-up heads. Rather, we aim that the hot air inside our heads emerge as we speak, thawing the icy hearts of our hearers. Of course, the Holy Spirit does the thawing–but his melting work is accomplished through our speaking work. “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”

This dual goal of motivation and articulation is what Apologetics is all about. It’s the answer to the question, “What’s the point?” Facing the possibility of drawing any of 100+ topics, students have a good motivation to start studying. Hopefully, at some point the student’s motivation will shift–shift from merely competitive success to spiritual success. And that success comes when the second goal of Apologetics comes to fruition: articulation. The spoken word of God is powerful, and it is both an honor and a privilege to repeat God’s words after him. All the learning in the world is useless–until it is put to use. When a properly motivated student opens his mouth to articulate God’s truth, the point of Apologetics has truly been achieved.

It’s Not Impromptu Apologetics

Alien research lab by Paul Albertella, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License by Paul Albertella 


This past Thursday was the first meeting of the year for the speech and debate club that I co-coach. We had a great time getting to know one another and laying the foundation for a solid year of competition. The group of students competing in Apologetics are excited and ready to begin their preparation for tournament season, which will be here before we know it. These next few weeks will be full of writing cards–a unique feature of Apologetics. See, in the other Limited Preparation events (Impromptu and Extemporaneous), you have no idea what you will end up speaking on when you enter the room. Only in Apologetics do you receive an exhaustive list of topics that you can research extensively. Here’s how I explained this idea in Defend:

“When it was first introduced in the NCFCA, Apologetics was called ‘Impromptu Apologetics’. It was a wild card event back in 2004. Its first year, Impromptu Apologetics was such a success that it was changed from a wild card category into a regular category. The event’s name was changed to Apologetics—the ‘Impromptu’ part was dropped—and it became a permanent event. Mrs. Teresa Hudson, the president of the NCFCA, says, ‘Apologetics is no longer Impromptu Apologetics for a reason.’ By that, she is saying that Apologetics is not an Impromptu speech—you actually get to prepare your material beforehand.”

While it is a Limited Preparation event, the preparation for Apologetics can be much less “limited” than for Impromptu and Extemporaneous. You have a list of all of the topics. Now the only question is, “How can I research all of them?” You can try to research each one individually, spending hours upon hours preparing 100 different 6-minute speeches. Or, you can invest in a system that allows you to cover the 100 topics by writing cards on the 25 key concepts that encapsulate them all. If you’re interested in saving time in Apologetics preparation without sacrificing the quality of the end result, click here to learn more about Thoroughly Equipped.