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Apologetics: The Basics*

July 12, 2015

Giving_an_Account_for_the_HOPE_CBC_ABFs

Lesson Two – Apologetics: The Basics*

  • Aspects of Apologetics / Levels of Apologetics (Review)
    • Level One: Apologetics as Personal Testimony. Giving one’s personal testimony, and sharing the Gospel, as an explanation of the hope that is within the follower of Christ.
    • Level Two: Drawing from special revelation (i.e., the Bible) and general revelation (i.e., creation, see Romans 1:20) to explain what we can know about God, the Gospel, and redemption. This will be the primary emphasis of this series.
      • Apologetics as Proof by offering reasons for accepting the truth-claims of the Gospel and Christianity. E.g., 1 Corinthians 15:1-11.
      • Apologetics as Defense by offering rebuttals to objections made by skeptics, unbelievers and critics of Biblical truth-claims. Philippians 1:7, 16.
      • Apologetics as Offense by pointing to the fallacies, faulty logic and overall foolishness of non-Biblical and anti-Christian worldviews and belief systems. 2 Corinthians 10:5.
    • Level Three: “Digging deeper” so as to be able to humbly engage in rigorous and thoughtful discussions about such things as cosmology, teleology, the moral argument and the problem of evil.
  • Taking Into Account Differing Worldviews (Presuppositions)
    • A follower of Christ is an alien in this world. 1 Corinthians 1:18-22; 10:31. He or she:
    • A nonbeliever, on the other hand, does not have such fear of the Lord, and cannot see the Kingdom of God. John 3:3.
    • As a result of the radically different presuppositions of the biblical worldview, as compared to any and all other worldviews, there is no “neutral ground” in apologetics. In other words, we cannot and must not abandon our biblical, Christ-centered worldview and presuppositions even as we engage in intellectual, philosophical and scholarly discussions with nonbelievers.
  • Circular Argument?
    • This does not mean apologetics is impossible; it simply means that we cannot possibly arrive at a final and complete agreement about basic spiritual and philosophical presuppositions unless and until the Holy Spirit intervenes. Until that happens:
      • We should remember that nonbelievers do have, embedded in their hearts, some level of consciousness of God’s revelation. Romans 1:18-21.
      • We should faithfully rely on the work of the Holy Spirit, in conjunction with God’s Word, as we attempt to communicate with nonbelievers. 1 Corinthians 2:4-5; 2 Corinthians 3:15-18
      • We should not attempt to second-guess God’s timing; after all, God in His grace might choose to remind the nonbeliever of our words and our apologetic/evangelical discussions at some point in the future (e.g., at a future time of personal crisis or catastrophe).
      • We should learn to ask questions, find whatever common ground we can, and draw upon different apologetics approaches so that we can keep the discussion going (and going forward).
  • God’s Responsibility and Ours
    • God is the persuader-converter, but from time to time He works through our testimony.
    • The apologist seeks to combat the unbeliever’s false impressions and present to him the word as it really is. It is to this testimony that the Spirit also bears witness.
      • Sola Scriptura requires that in theology and in all other disciplines, the highest authority, the supreme standard, be Scripture and Scripture alone.
      • Natural revelation, rightly understood through the “spectacles of Scripture,” points to God; so, the obedient Christian apologist will show the unbeliever the various ways in which nature reveals God, without claiming neutrality and without allowing the use of non-Christian criteria of truth.
  • The Value of Apologetics: God may use apologetic reasoning to sweep aside rationalizations, arguments by which the nonbeliever resists conversion.
  • The Dangers of Apologetics
    • It is interesting that in 1 Peter 3, Peter does not urge apologists to be intelligent and knowledgeable (although such qualities are certainly helpful), but to lead consistently godly lives. Indeed, as teachers, apologists must be mindful of the warning aimed at teachers in James 3:1.
    • Ephesians 4:15 calls upon us to speak the truth in love.
      • Too often, the apologetic motive has led to doctrinal compromise.
        • Contributing to such failures arc other sins: misdirected love, underestimation of human sin (as if what the unbeliever needs is merely a better argument), ignorance of God’s revelation (especially of biblical presuppositionalism), and intellectual pride.
      • In addition, unfortunately, many contentious or quarrelsome people are attracted to the discipline of apologetics.
  • Conclusion

*Drawn from Frame & Torres, Apologetics: A Justification of Christian Belief  (P&R Publishing, 2015), Chapter 1, “Apologetics: The Basics”

One Comment leave one →
  1. bobbyv231 permalink
    July 12, 2015 11:50 pm

    Great blog, thanks for sharing!

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