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“How do I Learn to Give a Defense of the Faith?”

January 28, 2015

Apologetics Course Basic

Unit 3 Handout: “How do I Learn to Give a Defense of the Faith?”

  • Questions and Answers from Last Week’s Discussions and the Readings for This Evening
  • Quiz and Review of Quiz
  • Questions and Answers: Chapter 14: Methodology
    • The Toolbox
    • Classical Apologetics
    • Evidentialism
    • Presuppositionalism
    • Fideism
    • Interaction and Critique
    • Integrative Apologetics
    • Conclusion
  • Article: Coulter, “Introduction to Christian Apologetics,”
  • Approaches to Apologetics
  • Common Objections from the Bible
    • The Bible does not need to be defended
    • God cannot be known by human reason
    • Natural humanity cannot understand God’s truth
    • Without faith one cannot please God
    • Jesus refused to give signs to evil men
    • Do not answer a fool according to his folly
    • Apologetics is not used in the Bible
  • Objections from Outside the Bible
    • Logic cannot tell us anything about God
    • Logic cannot prove the existence of anything
    • No one is converted through apologetics
    • Different Approaches at different stages
  • Introduction: The Cosmological Argument
    • Existential Questions:
      • What/Who Am I?
      • How is it that I Exist?
      • How is it that Anything Exists?
    • Why is there Something instead of Nothing?
  • 5 Things the Scientific Method Can’t Prove (Craig)
    • Logic and Mathematics
    • Metaphysical truths
    • Ethical beliefs
    • Aesthetic judgments
    • Science itself
  • The Mystery of Existence
  • The Cosmological Argument (Kalam Argument from Contingency)
    • The universe either exists necessarily or contingently
    • The universe is not necessary
    • Therefore the universe is contingent
  • Four Possibilities for the Existence of the Universe
    • All that exists is merely an illusion.
    • The universe created itself.
    • The universe is eternal.
    • The universe was created by an outside eternal being (God)
  • Objections
    • Schoolboy objection: What caused God?
    • How can we ever know the universe needs a cause?
  • For Next Week
    • Reading from the Holman text: Chapter 2: The Cosmological Argument
    • Online Article: SEP, “Cosmological Argument”
  • Conclusion

What (Good) is Apologetics?

January 19, 2015
Apologetics Course Basic

Unit 2 Handout: “What (Good) is Apologetics?

1.        Questions and Answers from Last Week’s Discussions and the Readings for This Evening

2.        Quiz and Review of Quiz

3.        Chapter 1: What (Good) is Apologetics?

a.        Supermarket or Antidote?

b.        Apologetics is for Believers as Well

c.        Apologetics in the Bible

d.        Use and Abuse

e.        Tollers and Jack

f.        Conclusion

4.        Article: Edgar, “No News Is Good News,”

5.        Review: Defense, Answer, Explanation (Story); Pre-Evangelism and Affirmation

6.        100 percent “Proof” versus leading the honest truth-seeker to an openness where the Gospel is shared

a.        Romans 10:17

b.        2 Corinthians 10:5

c.        Ministerial verus Magisterial Use of Reason (Martin Luther)

7.        Christian Apologetics Styles / Viewpoints

a.        Thomistic/Classical tradition

i.        Based on philosophical arguments for God’s existence, then specific case for Christian revelation claims. Deductive reasoning.

b.        Evidentialist tradition

i.        Empirical arguments about the life, miracles, death, resurrection of Christ, fulfilled prophecies

ii.       Uses probabilistic proofs (Inductive reasoning)

c.        Presuppositional tradition

i.        Belief in God and His Word is presupposed

ii.       Depends on the inspiration of the Holy Spirit

iii.      Non-theistic assumptions/worldview proven to be false

d.        Fideist tradition

i.        God-consciousness is an common experience common to most people.

ii.       Rational arguments are not necessary.

e.        Reform tradition

i.        Belief in God is “properly basic”

f.        Compare: “Natural Theology” and the primary arguments for God’s existence

i.        Cosmological argument: Beginning of the universe

ii.       Teleological (Design) argument(s): Design and order in the universe, e.g Anthropic Principle; Design of life

iii.      Moral argument: Moral law implies a moral law giver

8.        The Starting Point of Apologetic Methodologies

a.        Psalm 8; 19; 33:6 and 119:105 & 130

b.        Proverbs 1:7; 5:12; and 9:10.

9.        The Means of Apologetics

a.        Matt. 22:37 – Using reason and logic

b.        Jude 3: Battling for the truth

c.        Acts 17:2-4: Explaining and demonstrating the Gospel

d.        Acts 17:11: Searching the Scriptures and seeking truth

e.        Acts 17:17: Answering the questions of believers & skeptics alike

f.        Acts 17:23: Finding common ground

g.        2 Tim. 2:15: Imparting God’s word accurately and clearly

h.        Romans 12:2: Using our mind to reason

10.      For Next Week

a.        Reading from the Holman text: Chapter 14: Methodology

b.        Online Article: Coulter, “Introduction,”

11.      Conclusion

Why NOT do Apologetics?

January 10, 2015

Apologetics Course Basic

Handout 01: “Why NOT do Apologetics?” 

1.         Introduction: What is Apologetics?

  • a.         1 Peter 3:15: Defense, Answer, Explanation
  • b.         Preparedness (Eph. 6:15)
  • c.         Defense (Acts 25:16 ; 2Co 7:11 ; Phil. 1:7 , 16 ; 2Ti 4:16)
  • d.         Answer (Acts 22:1 ; 1Co 9:3)
  •  e.         Reason (Matt 5:32; Acts 10:29)

2.         Review of Syllabus

3.         Why NOT Do Apologetics?

  • a.         From the Non-Christian Questioner’s Perspective
    •  i.         The Atheist Perspective: No God
    •  ii.        The Humanist Perspective: I am God.
    •   iii.       The Relativist Perspective: No Truth
    •   iv.       The Materialist Perspective: No Future
    • v.         The Wishful Thinker’s Perspective: No Facts
    • i.       The Sceptic’s Perspective: No Good News
    • vii.      The Cynic’s Perspective: No Credibility
    • viii.     The Post-Modern Perspective: No Story
  • b.         From the Christian Questioner’s Perspective
    • i.         Worldly Perspective: Colossians 2:8
    •  ii.        Is “Faith Seeking Reason,” Faith? (Sola Fide)
    •   iii.       Is “Reason Seeking Faith,” the Gospel? (Sola Scriptura)
    •   iv.       Is anything but “Christ and Him Crucified” the Gospel? (Solus Christus)
    •  v.         Is “the Hope” comprehensible? (Sola Gratia)
    • vi.       Doesn’t apologetics make use of the “Wisdom of the World” (e.g. philosophy)? (1 Corinthians 1:18-25)
  • c.         Why bother? Why be bothered?
  • d.         Traits and Triggers

4.         “The Hope”

  • a.         What Exactly Is “The Hope”? (Experiential/Existential)
    • i.         World View and Temporality
    • ii.        That which is and will be (ontology)
    • iii.       How to think about that which is and will be.
    •  iv.       Relationship
    • v.         Wonder, Awe, Mystery, Incomprehensibility
  •  b.         What Exactly Is “The Hope”? (Biblical)
    • i.         Being born again (John 3:3)
    •  ii.        Being a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17)
    •  iii.       Being united to Christ: Romans 6; 1 Corinthians 15
    •  iv.       Being a follower/slave to Christ: John 8:31-36
    • v.         Finding wisdom in Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30)
  •  c.         Faith is/as a Gift: Ezekiel 36:26; Matthew 11:25-27; John 3:3-8; John 6:44,65; Acts 13:48; Acts 16:14; 1 Corinthians 2:4-5, 14; 1 Corinthians 12:3; Ephesians 2:1-10; 1 Thessalonians 1:5,6; 1 Thessalonians 2:13
  •  d.         Biblical Epistemology
    •   i.         Fear of the Lord: Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 9:10; Proverbs 15:33
    •  ii.        God’s Word Judges All Human Affairs: John 12:48; 2 Corinthians 10:5
    •   iii.       Conclusion: Faith Governs Reason
      • (1)       Believers: God’s Rationality –> Human Faith –> Human Reason
      • (2)       Nonbelievers: Human Reason –> Human Religion
    • e.         The Noetic Effects of Sin: “Wisdom” of the World: 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:16; 3:18-23; 8:1-3
  • i.          Compare: Luke 16:8; Matthew 23:2-3; Mark 1:24

5.         For Next Week

  •  a.         Reading from the Holman text: Chapter 1: What is Apologetics?
  •  b.         Online Article: Frame, “No News Is Good News,”

6.         Conclusion

Readings for Upcoming Course on Apologetics

October 4, 2014

Apologetics Course BasicIn response to several inquiries about the upcoming course on Apologetics, planned
for the Free Seminary program at Cornerstone
Baptist Church
starting in January 2015, I am posting this Schedule
of Reading Assignments.
This is not the entire syllabus, but
it does include all of the reading assignments that participants
will read prior to each class. You can start reading now if you
Required Textbook and Readings: Doug Powell, Holman
QuickSource Guide to Christian Apologetics
TN: Holman Reference, 2006). ISBN: 080549460X; ISBN-13: 9780805494600 / 978-0-8054-9460-0 (Referred to as the Holman text).
Can be ordered from the Book Rack bookstore at Cornerstone Baptist Church for less than is often found online.

  • Other readings, in the form of weekly assigned readings from online scholarly journals and from apologetics websites are also
    required for this course (fourth column, below).
  • The Bible will also be used extensively in this course, so please plan to bring your Bible to class.
  • Plan to come to class prepared by: having read the assigned readings, having made notes of questions or concerns (with page
    numbers referencing the specific material about which you have a question), and having absorbed carefully the overall content of
    the readings (i.e., read with pencil/pen in hand).
Schedule of Reading Assignments
Class Date Question on the Table Holman Text
Reading Prior to Class
Other Reading(s) Prior to Class (Click on Link)
01/13/2015 Why NOT do Apologetics? None. None.
01/20/2015 What (Good) is Apologetics? Chapter 1, What is Apologetics? Edgar, “No News Is Good News,”
01/27/2015 How do I Learn to Give a Defense of the Faith? Chapter 14, Methodology Coulter, “Introduction”
02/03/2015 Does the Universe “Prove” God’s Existence? Chapter 2, The Cosmological Argument SEP, “Cosmological Argument”
02/10/2015 Does Intelligent Design “Prove” God’s Existence? Chapter 3, The Design Argument Gebhard, “Intelligent Design”
02/17/2015 Does Morality “Prove” God’s Existence? Chapter 4, The Moral Argument Copan, “Moral Argument”
02/24/2015 Aren’t All Religions Essentially the Same? Chapter 5, Which God Exists? Farinaccio (Through page 54)
03/03/2015 Isn’t the New Testament a corrupted, unreliable text? Chapters 6 & 7: Origin and Reliability of the N.T. Butt, “That Which We’ve Seen”
03/10/2015 Isn’t the Old Testament a corrupted, unreliable text? Chapter 8: Origin and Reliability of the O.T. Brantley, “Dead Sea Scrolls”
03/17/2015 Doesn’t Science Disprove Miracles? Chapter 9: Do Miracles Happen? Montgomery, “Science …”
03/24/2015 Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead? Chapters 11 & 12: Jesus’ Resurrection & Deity Habermas, “Case for Resurrection”
03/31/2015 Doesn’t the Existence of Evil Disprove God? Chapter 13: How could God Allow Evil? Howard-Snyder, “Evil/Suffering”
04/07/2015 How Do You Actually Do Apologetics? Farinaccio (Page 57 to End)
Koukl, “Common Objections”
04/14/2015 Make-up date if a previous meeting date is canceled for any reason.

So, What Do You Expect from a Person Who Is Not (Yet) a Follower of Christ?

August 16, 2014


  • What do we know about human nature generally?
    • What usually happens when the curses of Genesis 3:16-19 (especially the part about the need to work hard) are removed and we are enabled to “Maximally satisfy our considered desires”?
    • A “Thought Experiment:” What if Jesus HAD continued to feed and heal the crowds, HAD allowed them to make Him king … and HAD overthrown the Romans? Would the crowds have been satisfied (or would they have remained content)?
    • Why did the Jews of Jesus’ time “miss” the “suffering servant” role of the Messiah?
    • BACKGROUND: During the time of Jesus, every Jew was waiting for the Messiah.
      • In front of Adam and Eve, the Lord said the seed of a woman would crush the serpent’s head (Genesis 3:15).
      • Job said he knew that his Redeemer lives, and that in the end He would stand upon the earth (Job 19:25).
      • Abraham was told all nations on the earth would be blessed through him (Genesis 12:3).
      • Judah was told the scepter will not depart from him (Genesis 49:10).
      • Balaam prophesied of a star rising out of Israel (Number 24:17)
      • Moses told Israel that God was going to raise up a prophet like him, whom God will use to call men to account (Deuteronomy 18:15-19).
      • God told David He would establish the throne of his kingdom forever (2 Samuel 7:16).
      • Isaiah prophecied of a virgin who will conceive and give birth to Immanuel, which means “God with us” (Isaiah 7:14).
      • Micah prophecied that a ruler from eternity would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).
      • David prophesied about the cross (Psalm 22).
      • Isaiah prophecied about the cross and the suffering servant (Isaiah 53).
      • Jesus’ geneology lined up with these Messianic expectations.
  • What do we know (from the Bible) about those who are not (yet) born-again?
    • Their spiritual incapacity (1 Corinthians 2:14)
    • Their spiritual/perceptual inability (John 3:3)
    • Their blindness/spiritual darkness (John 3:18-19; Ephesians 5:8)
    • Their nonrecognition of sin, judgment and eternity (Isaiah 28:15)
    • Their avoidance of these spiritual realities (e.g., Felix, Acts 24:24-25)
    • Their lack of spiritual knowledge (Colossians 3:10)
    • Their lack of motivation to seek God (Romans 3:11)
    • Their bondage to Satan (Ephesians 2:2)
    • Their genetic connection to Satan (John 8:43-44)
    • Their hardened heart (Ephesians 4:18)
    • Their intellectual futility (1 Corinthians 3:20-21)
    • Their lack of 3-way conviction by the Holy Spirit (John 16:7-11)
      • The gravity of sin (Acts 2:36-37)
      • The desperate need for Christ’s righteousness (Matthew 5:6; Colossians 3:11)
      • The inevitable judgment
  • Besides, some are simply not chosen/elect. (John 6: 37, 44)
  • So, if it’s that bad, why bother?
  • What is the role of:
    • You and me?
    • The Holy Spirit?
  • So, when it comes to our expectations when we witness/share the Gospel:
    • What should we NOT expect?
    • What SHOULD we expect?
    • How should this affect HOW we go about witnessing/sharing the Gospel?

SpiritualBlindness01Man, by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation; so as a natural man, being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto. Westminster Confession of Faith, 9:3.


Why did Jesus refuse to be a “rock star”?

August 2, 2014

KeepCalmStopSellingGospelStudy Outline

  • Pop Trivia: Who said that their rock group was more popular than Jesus?
  • Background: What is the Great Commission?
    • Matt. 28:18-20
    • Mark 16:15
    • Luke 24:48-49/Acts 1:8
    • John 20:21
  • How are the Great Commission and the Gospel related to each other?
  • Why isn’t the Gospel more “appealing” to nonbelievers?
  • What does John 6 tell us about what the crowds looking were for when Jesus was preaching?
    • The word on the street (6:1-2)
    • The most spectacular miracle (6:10-13)
    • Jesus escapes the crowd (6:14-15)
    • The hunt (6:22-25)
    • Jesus preaches the Gospel (6:26-29)
    • Jesus explains the Gospel and election I (6:30-40)
    • The crowd’s ad hominem insults (6:41-42)
    • Jesus explains the Gospel and election II (6:43-51)
    • Jesus explains the Gospel and election III (6:53-58)
    • Jesus explains the Gospel and election IV (6:61-65)
  • CBC Trivia: Who said “Jesus doesn’t say things for effect. He doesn’t say things for drama.”
  • Was Peter’s “minimal response” to all of this (6:68-60) a “sufficient” faith-response?
  • What, in the Old Testament, may have fueled the Jews’ expectation of an earthly revolutionary-king?
  • CBC Trivia: Who said “It is impossible apart from the grace of God to repent.”
  • Thought-provokers:
    • When Jesus preached and explained the Gospel, what were the “benefits” he emphasized?
    • How did Jesus “under-sell” the Gospel? theBeatles
    • How did Jesus react when is “pitch” was rejected?
      • Why?
  • Why did Jesus refuse to be a “rock star”? 
  • How does the concept of “election” affect our response to the Great Commission?
  • Next week: Why did Jesus say “Don’t tell anyone”?

Evangelism v. “Selling” the Gospel: What’s the Difference, Anyway?

July 23, 2014



  • What are typical “selling” approaches used in business?
  • How are “selling” approaches and techniques often used by:
    • Churches
    • Individual Christians
  • What is “the Gospel”?
  • What is NOT “the Gospel”? (1)
    • The therapeutic gospel redefines the nature of the fall of mankind.
    • The judgmentless gospel denies the final judgment.
    • The moralistic gospel depicts Christ’s work as merely good advice.
    • The quietist gospel identifies good news as a message of personal experience.
    • The activist gospel unites the church around many things that are not the cross.
    • The churchless gospel–neglects the role of the church in the gospel message.
  • What is the Great Commission?
  • How are the Great Commission and the Gospel related to each other?
  • What is the difference between “selling” and evangelism?
  • What is the difference between evangelism and discipleship?
  • Summary: What’s wrong with “selling” the Gospel?
  • Upcoming Lessons in This Series:
    • Why did Jesus refuse to be a “Rock Star”?
    • Why did Jesus Tell People Not to Tell after Performing Miracles? (Parts 1 & 2)
    • Conversational Evangelism, Jesus-Style (Parts 1 & 2)
    • What is the Role of the Holy Spirit in Evangelism?
    • Conclusion: Toward Biblical Evangelism

1. Trevin Wax, Counterfeit Gospels: Rediscovering the Good News in a World of False Hope (Chicago: Moody, 2011), 14-15.


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