Apologia: A Feminine Noun

Defending the faith is not an exclusively male activity. I’m not sure why anyone would ever think it is. In fact, the Greek word apologia, from which we get our English word apologetics meaning defense, is a feminine noun. It should come as no surprise to know that there is a growing number of female scholars defending the Christian faith.

The April 2015 edition of Christianity Today profiles several leading female apologists in the article “The Unexpected Defenders.” The feature introduces Melissa Cain Travis, Kristen Davis, Amy Orr-Ewing, Nancy Pearcey, and Mary Jo Sharp. The article gives a summary of their respective areas of expertise ranging from engineering, literature, and genetics to name just a few. More importantly it recounts their powerful testimonies of how the gospel broke through their doubts and how their intellectual journey to faith now offers them a platform for ministering to skeptics.

I’m indebted to many female apologists. I’ve long been a fan of Dorothy Sayers. I find her prophetic speech “Creed or Chaos” to be as timely today as it must have been when it was first delivered in the early 1940s. The book that first opened the world of worldview thinking for me personally was Nancy Pearcey’s Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity. And I’ve heard more stories than I can recount of the impact of the recent book The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An English Professor’s Journey into Christian Faith by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield.

That’s why I’m not at all surprised to read of the rise in scholarship among female defenders of the faith. After all: apologia is a feminine noun.