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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Christian Apologetics, chapter three

"...there is nothing impious in using arguments with unbelievers that employ their God-given reasoning abilities. Good reasoning is not 'autonomous' or 'apostate,' but rather a God-given way to discover truth." p. 63

"Simply put, if a worldview fails to explain what it promises to explain, fails to make sense on its own terms (internal consistency), fails to describe what is there (objective and inner reality), fails to give intelligible meaning to life, or fails to be intellectually and culturally productive, it is disqualified from consideration.  I will argue that Christianity passes these tests better than any of its competitors." p. 72

Friday, August 24, 2012

Apologetic Method

Much ink has been spilled over apologetic methodology.  Various schools have contended that their way is superior to others.  Some apologists have spent as much or more time attempting to refute their fellow apologists’ methods than they have in attempting to bring apologetics to the people who need it most:  unbelievers and doubting followers of Jesus.  Evangelist Dwight L. Moody was once criticized by another Christian for his approach to evangelism.  Moody’s response was that he liked the way he did evangelism better than the way his critics didn’t do evangelism.  This lesson applies to apologetic method as well.

But please read the entire chapter three, which explains in depth and detail, my own apologetic method.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

‎"There is something which unites magic and applied science while separating both from the “wisdom” of earlier ages. For the wise men of old the cardinal problem had been how to conform the soul to reality, and the solution had been knowledge, self-discipline, and virtue. For magic and applied science alike the problem is how to subdue reality to the wishes of men: the solution is a technique." - C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man

From Christian Apologetics

The Biblical Basis for Apologetics

            Is the Christian worldview true and rational? Is it worth believing and living out? Within these questions resides the discipline of Christian apologetics. It offers answers based on rational arguments, yet these arguments can never be divorced from the apologist’s personal character. Therefore, apologetics is necessarily both theoretical and personal, both intellectual and relational. Along with the method of the apologetic argument comes the manner of the apologist himself. Both are equally vital, as we will see.
                        The word “apologetics” is often used today in a derogatory way to mean a biased and belligerent advocacy of an indefensible position. Yet the idea of presenting a credible “apology” for a legitimate position or viewpoint has a long and rich history. For example, the American founders presented an apology (or apologetic) for what would become the American form of government in The Federalist Papers. These learned and eloquent apologists explained and rationally defended a political perspective in the face of objections. An apologist, then, is a defender and an advocate for a particular position. There are apologists aplenty for all manner of religion and irreligion.
            Christian apologetics is the rational defense of the Christian worldview as objectively true, rationally compelling, and existentially or subjectively engaging. The word apologetics comes from the Greek word apologia, which can be translated as “defense” or “vindication.” In the days of the New Testament “an apologia was a formal courtroom defense of something (2 Timothy 4:16).”[1] The word, in either the noun form apologia or the verb form apologeoma, appears eight times in the New Testament (Acts 22:1; 25:16; 1 Corinthians 9:3; 2 Corinthians 7:11; Philippians 1:7, 16; 2 Timothy 4:16; 1 Peter 3:15). The term is used specifically for a rational defense of the gospel in three texts: Philippians 1:7, 16 and most famously in 1 Peter 3:15-16.[2]
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer [apologia] to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
Because Jesus, echoing the Hebrew Scriptures, affirmed that we should love God with all of our being, including our minds (Matthew 22:37-39), believers should defend God’s truth when it is assailed. Jesus himself did just this throughout his ministry. He was an apologist and a philosopher, although these categories are rarely applied to him today.[3]

[1] L. G. Whitlock, Jr., “Apologetics” in Walter Elwell, ed., Evangelical Dictionary of Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1984), 68.
[2] See Kenneth Boa and Robert Bowman, Faith Has Its Reasons: An Integrative Approach to Defending Christianity (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2001), 17-18.
[3] See Douglas Groothuis, “Jesus as Thinker and Apologist,” Christian Research Journal.

Christianity and the Fall

The fall of humanity is admittedly difficult to fathom; however, once it is admitted into our worldview, the enigmas of the human condition are explained and the human landscape is illuminated as never before. Douglas Groothuis, Christian Apologetics.

Guest Post?

If anyone in Facebook land has a blog, I'd be happy to do a guest post taken from Christian Apologetics. Let me know.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Don’t belittle knowledge in order to minimize your own lack of understanding. There is far more at stake than your own reputation.--Sarah Geis.

Biblical Inerrancy

1. Meaning of the term inerrant: The sixty-six books of the Protestant canon are divinely-inspired, and therefore inerrant (since God cannot lie) in the original writings (autographs). This process of inspiration is confluent: God used the writers to communicate exactly what God wanted, yet did so without overriding their personalities. For a detailed analysis, see Carl Henry, God, Revelation and Authority, volumes 2-4 especially.
2.       There are cogent arguments from nature and humanity that an personal-infinite God exists.
3.       If (2), then this God could inspire writings to say what he wants them to say. See Part II of Groothuis, Christian Apologetics and Francis Schaeffer, “Is Propositional Revelation Nonsense?” in He is There and He is Not Silent.
4.       The text of the New Testament has been reliably transmitted to us today (textual criticism). See chapter 19 of Christian Apologetics.
5.       The New Testament passes the tests of reliable history. See chapter 19 of Christian Apologetics.
6.       The New Testament presents Jesus as God-incarnate, given Jesus’ claims, credentials, and achievements
7.       Jesus endorsed the divine authority of the Old Testament, directly and indirectly. See chapter 20 of Christian Apologetics.
8.       Therefore, the Old Testament is divinely inspired/inerrant. See chapter 20 of Christian Apologetics.
9.       Jesus authorized the Apostles to preserve his teachings. See chapter 20 of Christian Apologetics.
10.   Therefore the New Testament, which is apostolically authorized directly or indirectly, is divinely-inspired/inerrant. See chapter 20 of Christian Apologetics.
11.   Therefore, the sixty-six books of the Bible are divinely-inspired/inerrant. See chapter 20 of Christian Apologetics.
12.   Bonus, while textual transmission has not been inerrant, it has been very reliable. Thus, we can say that the best translations today are infallible; that is, they will not mislead us on anything to which they speak.
13.   I wrote this from memory, but every Christian should have some understanding of the epistemological basis of their worldview! No “leap of faith” is needed.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

On Jesus

Does Christianity have any intellectual clout?
Can we look to Jesus as a model intellectual?
Would you like to discover an aspect of Jesus often neglected?

These and other pertinent questions are answered in my book, On Jesus, published by Wadsworth (2003) as par of their Philosopher Series. To my knowledge, it is the only book of its kind by a single author. If you have any comments on this work, please post them here or on Amazon. If you have read and like the book, please make that known on Amazon. Why do I write this? See Matthew 6:33.