Apologetics are a tool. They can not produce faith. They in themselves are not sufficient to lead someone to Christ. Ultimately a person will need to exercise faith to believe in Christ’s death and resurrection and receive Him by faith.
Apologetics are necessary though as an intellectual defense of the faith. They, at times, help people overcome intellectual roadblocks to faith.
C. Michael Patton recently wrote:
I agree with Os Guinness who says that we don’t have any right to the culture if we cannot intellectually defend our faith. I believe that God often uses apologetics as a means to bring someone to the faith just as he uses the words of men to proclaim the Gospel. God does not really need either, but He uses both. I think it was Aquinas who said, “God has not only chosen the ends, but also the means of salvation.”
Therefore, I strongly believe that you and I are to be clear when we present the Gospel and intellectually compelling when we defend it. Apologetic sloppiness and intellectual laziness is not an option for the Christian.
Patton gives some examples of what he calls pseudo-apologetics which he defines as, “a false way to defend the faith based upon naive or misleading ‘evidences’ that only serve to take focus away from true apologetics.”
Some of his examples:
“I believe Christianity is true because I read this book where someone died, went to heaven, and came back.”
“I believe Christianity is true because there are secret codes found in the Scriptures.”
“I believe Christianity is true because there are no better options and I have nothing to lose.”
He goes on to explain why these are to be considered pseudo-apologetics and then gives others. Be sure to read the whole post.