Okay. Thanks Genesis and Tim. I think I have a better understanding. Certainly the church as a whole is called to apologetics. I think we all agree on that! But it is also true that we have different callings and gifts. Some, for instance, have the gift of mercy. Yet, that doesn’t mean that each individual doesn’t have the responsibility to show mercy. Instead, I would suggest we are all called to show mercy; some are, however, particularly gifted at it. So in regards to your specific question, we might say that some are particularly gifted in engaging with others verbally with evangelism and apologetics. Yet, all of us are to be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks for a reason for the hope you have (1 Peter 3:15). This doesn’t mean that everyone needs to be a scholar–keep the context of 1 Peter in mind and you will quickly see that Peter is not giving specific instructions on how one might answer (the focus is not on what should be said by how we should say it - “with gentleness and respect”). These answers for why we have hope in Christ will look pretty different–and this is not a bad thing. The church would be pretty one dimensional if everyone had the same interests and gifts. Thank goodness God has not made everyone like me!
I think it would help if we broaden our view of apologetics. I mentioned the context of 1 Peter in the previous paragraph and I think this helps us open our minds to what apologetics should be. Peter is writing to a church going through persecution, a community of believers who feel the sociological and psychological pressures of living in a culture hostile to the gospel. His advice to them was to cling to the gospel and be a different type of people: a holy nation and a kingdom of priests. People who have changed lives and who treat people with mercy, because they know they only stand forgiven because they have received mercy. This is the context for the great apologetic call of 1 Peter 3:15. Once we take stock of this, we see that when the church as a whole lives our calling out, we are, as the missionary/theologian Lesslie Newbigin would say, “the hermeneutic of the gospel.” What he means by this is that our lives actually allow people to make sense of and understand the gospel. When we show mercy, when we love one another, when we sacrifice for others, when we love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, when we care about the windows and the orphans, when we stand up for the oppressed and the downtrodden, we are living arguments for the gospel. This does not downplay verbal apologetics arguments and in anyway suggest that they are not needed. Instead, this emphasizes our lives as a living apologetic appeals, which serve as the context by which our verbal arguments are made plausible. Once we see apologetics as integrated with our discipleship and theology of the church, then we see that, of course, everyone is called to apologetics–because we are all responsible to be prepared give an answer for our hope in our own particular contexts (1 Peter 3:15) and because we are all called to show mercy and live out the gospel, which is vital to the task of defending the faith and making an appeal to believe the gospel.