Saturday, January 12, 2013

Biblical Apologetics

Here is an excellent sketch on Presuppositional apologetics by Sye Ten Burggencate.

Some helpful material I compiled from Van Til, Bahnsen, Anderson, Lisle, and Cheung.

5 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to

make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you;

yet do it with gentleness and respect" 1 Peter 3:15

As this verse says "make a defense" that comes from the Geek πολογία which

means to give an argument or reasoned response. Thus as Christians we are to be

ready to give an argument for our faith with Christ at the center of it. Our

argument is to honor Christ's lordship and our actions are to exemplify

likeness of Christ. We are to be gentle and respectful to all who ask of us a

justification of our faith.

"2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach

all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God's

mystery, which is Christ,

3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." Col 2:2-3

"7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and

instruction." Proverbs 1:7

"1 The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, they do

abominable deeds, there is none who does good. " Psalm 14:1

Biblical Guidelines

"1. That we use the same principle in apologetics that we use in theology: the

self-attesting, self-explanatory Christ of Scripture.

2. That we no longer make an appeal to "common notions" which Chris- tian and

non-Christian agree on, but to the "common ground" which they actually have

because man and his world are what Scripture

says they are.

3. That we appeal to man as man, God's image. We do so only if we set the

non-Christian principle of the rational autonomy of man against the Christian

principle of the dependence of man's knowledge on God's knowledge as revealed

in the person and by the Spirit of Christ.

4. That we claim, therefore, that Christianity alone is reasonable for men to

hold. It is wholly irrational to hold any other position than that of

Christianity. Christianity alone does not slay reason on the altar of "chance."

5. That we argue, therefore, by "presupposition." The Christian, as did

Tertullian, must contest the very principles of his opponent's position. The

only "proof" of the Christian position is that unless its truth is presupposed there is no possibility of "proving" anything at all. The actual state of affairs as preached by Christianity is the necessary foundation of "proof" itself.

6. That we preach with the understanding that the acceptance of the Christ of

Scripture by sinners who, being alienated from God, seek to flee his face, comes

about when the Holy Spirit, in the presence of inescapably clear evidence, opens

their eyes so that they see things as they truly are.

7. That we present the message and evidence for the Christian position as

clearly as possible, knowing that because man is what the Christian says he is,

the non-Christian will be able to under- stand in an intellectual sense the

issues involved. In so doing, we shall, to a large extent, be telling him what

he "already knows" but seeks to suppress. This "reminding" process provides

a fertile ground for the Holy Spirit, who in sovereign grace may grant the

non-Christian repentance so that he may know him who is life eternal. "[1]

An easy apologetics outline: AIM

A- Arbitrariness=Expose the unbelievers assertions that have no justification.
I- Inconsistencies= Expose any inconsistencies in what the unbeliever says.

M- Mistaken foundations for knowledge. One must demonstrate only the Christian

worldview can provide the necessary foundations or presuppositions for knowledge. Only from the Christian worldview can one claim to have knowledge (i.e. justified true beliefs) for two reasons:(1) The absolute triune God has
revealed truth to us in His Word and continues to illuminate our minds by His Spirit (2) Scripture tells us all mankind are the image bearers of God and hence possess intellects and wills that can reliably acquire knowledge.[2] The goal is to show the unbeliever must assume the Christian viewpoint to know
anything with certainty. If any unbeliever claims to have knowledge of anything, he can never be certain since one must either be God or know God to have knowledge of anything. That is because one must be everywhere at once, be outside of time and control everything in order to know something. Since all facts are related to each other. And in order for one to know a fact in its proper context one must know them all.

   Unbelievers either reason in a circle putting human reason or experience on the

throne as ruler and ultimate standard of their knowledge. We must show only God

and His Word can rightly be the ultimate standard and authority. Only God can

give us knowledge. Christians, too, argue in a circle. But our circle from God’s

Word provides the necessary foundations/assumptions for knowledge. Moreover, the

circle is rational since the authority appealed to as ultimate is in fact

Ultimate, namely God. Unbelievers are forced into skepticism and/or fideism.[3]

  If a Christian gets stumped he can always resort to these questions that can

be phrased in different forms.

“1. Why? A question that demands reasons for whatever is asserted by the

unbeliever so the mistaken foundation can be exposed.

2. So? This question seeks to counter irrelevant things the unbeliever asserts.

3. Really? The question exposes the fact Christianity is the truth and the

unbeliever ought to reexamine his view. But most of all it gives Christians

opportunity to show the unbeliever the necessity of presupposing the Christian

worldview in order to have knowledge.”[4]

   [1] Cornelius Van Til. The Defense of the Faith, 3rd ed. rev. (Nutley, New Jersey: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1967), pp.298-99.

[2] I made my own acronym from Jason Lisle. The Ultimate Proof Of Creation. (Green Forest: Master Books, 2009),pp.84-95.

[3] James Anderson via email

[4] Vincent Cheung. Students in the Real World. p.76.

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