We may distinguish four functions of apologetics, though not everyone agrees that apologetics involves all four. Such opinions notwithstanding, all four functions have historically been important in apologetics, and each has been championed by great Christian apologists throughout church history.
- The first function may be called vindication of proof, and involves marshaling the philosophical arguments as well as scientific and historical evidences for the Christian faith.
- The second function is defense. This function is closest to the NT and early Christian use of the word apologia, defending Christianity against the plethora of attacks made against it every generation by critics of varying belief systems.
- The third function is refutation of opposing beliefs. This function focuses on answering the arguments non-Christians give in support of their own beliefs.
- The fourth function is persuasion. By this we do not mean merely convincing people that Christianity is true, but persuading them to apply its truth to their life.
– Dr. Kenneth D. Boa, The Apologetics Study Bible, “What is Apologetics?”, page xxv