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Lesson Six: Apologetics As Proof – Theistic Arguments A

August 16, 2015

Giving_an_Account_for_the_HOPE_CBC_ABFs Lesson Six: Apologetics As Proof (Part 3A) (1)

  • Keep in Mind when having an “apologetics” type of conversation with a nonbeliever:
    • Your goal should be to keep the dialogue going (and moving forward), in love.
    • Remember that at the end of the day, only the Holy Spirit can soften or harden the nonbeliever’s heart. Pray.
    • Also remember it is the nonbeliever’s (profound and ultimate) decision to make.
    • Faith is a gift: be a representative of God’s love and grace.
    • Be content if your are able to articulate that faith is not “blind,” and that there is reasonable doubt for the “implausibility” of the Gospel truth-claims.
  • Transcendental Argument for God (TAG): Without God, there is no meaning (truth, rationality, etc.); therefore, God exists.
    • The Bible presupposes God as the source of all reality and truth; these are attributes of God’s nature.
    • Logic demands the existence of God
    • Ethics demands the existence of God
    • Science demands the existence of God
  • The Lordship of Christ over all is always the “bottom line” of the transcendental argument. For example:
    • Lordship over wealth and economic life (Matt. 19:16-30).
    • Lordship over our intimate relationships (John 4:7-26).
    • Lordship over our intellect (1 Corinthians 1:18 – 2:16).
  • Certainty and Probability
    • Relying on the Holy Spirit and the Word, we need to be certain of the truth of Christ (Luke 1:4) and of our own salvation (1 John 5:13).
      • The believer is assured by the supernatural factor of God’s Spirit concerning both the truth of the gospel (1 Cor. 2:4-5; 1 Thess. 1:5) and his own relationship to Christ (Rom. 8:16).
      • It is true that believers do sometimes doubt both the truth of God and their own salvation, but they have the resources and the right, both logical and supernatural, to come to full assurance on at least the major points of the gospel message.
    • General revelation is so plain and clear that it obligates belief and obedience – leaving us without excuse (Rom. 1:19-20).
      • John speaks of Jesus’ miracles (“signs”) as warranting belief (John 20:30f.), and Luke speaks of the “convincing proofs” (Acts 1:3 NIV) that Jesus presented to the disciples after the resurrection.
      • The evidence for Christian theism, therefore, is “absolutely certain.” Or, to put it in moral terms, there is no excuse for disbelief. The evidence obligates belief.
    • Compare: The thrust of many “negative” apologetics discussions (i.e, discussions with skeptics who want to argue that the claims of the Gospel and of Christianity are implausible) may be to simply show that such claims are not implausible.
      • Mere possibility, if no plausibility, is sufficient in order to challenge the unbeliever to give careful consideration to the claims of the Gospel and of Christianity.
  • Theistic Arguments for God
    • Authentic moral standards reflect God’s nature. (Lev. 19:2; Matt. 5:48; 1 Peter 1:16).
      • One’s dominant beliefs about morality will most often or most profoundly govern their behavior. (Matt. 7:20)
    • There are no agnostics
      • In one sense, we are all agnostics to the extent that we do not have God’s omniscience.
        • However, Scripture denies that anyone can be truly agnostic about God or morality.
        • God is clearly revealed to all (Rom. 1:18-20), so that all know him (v. 21), although they repress the truth (vv. 2lff.).
        • Most professing agnostics are not trying frantically to hedge their bets; they behave exactly like atheists, not as if they were in some halfway position between atheism and theism.
          • “True” agnostics are truth-seekers, and their openness to the Word of God will mean that they may not remain agnostic forever (Joshua 24:25; Matthew 6:24; Matthew 12:30; John 7:17).
    • Introduction to The Moral Argument: Morality is personal, not impersonal
      • Obligations and loyalties arise in the context of interpersonal relationships.
        • How can an impersonal structure such as fate create obligation?
        • If obligations arise from personal relationships, then absolute obligations must arise from our relationship with an absolute person.

1. Drawn from Frame & Torres, Apologetics (P&R Publishing, 2015), Chapter 5, “Apologetics as Proof: Theistic Arguments”


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