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Unit One: Intro to Apologetics

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matt koons

on 27 August 2018

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Transcript of Unit One: Intro to Apologetics

Unit One: Introduction to Apologetics
Question One: What is apologetics?

Etymology of the Term: The word apologetics comes from apologia which means to give a reason for or defense of.

Definition of the Term: “Apologetics is that branch of Christian theology which seeks to provide a rational justification for the truth claims of the Christian faith.” (Craig, Reasonable Faith, 1994, p. xi).

2. What does defending the faith as true, rational, and pertinent to all of life involve?
Apologetics is like a Courtroom
a. Offer positive evidence or reasons for it being true.
b. Defend it against the attacks form others.
c. Refute other options
d. Persuasion
e. Strengthen commitment

3. Apologetics is primarily a theoretical discipline with practical application.
“In addition to serving, like the rest of theology in general, as an expression of our loving God with all our minds, apologetics specifically serves to show to unbelievers the truth of the Christian faith, to confirm that faith to believers, and to reveal and explore the connections between Christian doctrine and other truths” (Craig, Reasonable Faith, 1994, p. xi).
Unit One: Introduction to Apologeticts
Main Idea
Idea 2
Idea 3
Idea 4
Unit One: Introduction to Apologeticts
Main Idea
Idea 2
Idea 3
Idea 4
Unit One: Introduction to Apologeticts
Main Idea
Idea 2
Idea 3
Idea 4
Unit One: Introduction to Apologeticts
Main Idea
Idea 2
Idea 3
Idea 4
Unit One: Introduction to Apologeticts
Main Idea
Idea 2
Idea 3
Idea 4
Unit One: Introduction to Apologeticts
Main Idea
Idea 2
Idea 3
Idea 4
1. Working Definition:
Apologetics is the defense of the Christian worldview as TRUE, REASONABLE, and PERTINENT to all of life. (Groothuis)

Part One: True is to say that what we believe about God, Jesus, and the world are the way it actually is

Part Two: Reasonable is to say that what we believe is a perfectly rational belief which makes sense in light of the evidence. Our beliefs are backed by reasons and evidence. Even if we cannot prove that our position is absolutely true, it could be beneficial to show that it is at least a perfectly reasonable option for belief.

Part Three: Pertinent to all of life is to say that our beliefs matter greatly. In fact whether you reject or accept them they are important. This is no merely some academic debate but it impacts all of our lives and choices.

This might be a disappointment to some.
Example: Why are some Christians hypocrites?

4. Apologetics cannot answer every question.
The Bible does not need to be defended (Heb. 4.12)
God can’t be known by human reason
Natural humanity can’t understand (I Cor. 2.14)
Without faith one cannot please God (Heb. 11.6)
Apologetics is not used in the Bible.
You can’t prove God by reason
No one is converted through apologetics
Reason is useless in religious matters
Logic can’t tell us anything about God.
See Principles of Reality and Demonstrating God Existence
Objections to Apologetics
(Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, 1999, p. 37-41)

God Commands Apologetics (I Peter 3.15; Philippians 1.7, 16; Jude 3; Titus 1.9)
Reason Demands Apologetics (I John 4.6; Matthew 22.36-37)
The World Needs Apologetics

The Reasons for Apologetics
Discussion Question #1: Can people who don’t have any access to the Bible know anything about God?
Discussion Question #2: What can they know?
In apologetics we are trying to give people reasons for why they should believe in the Christian God. It is important then that I know what sort of evidences do we have. Where might we have people look, to see God. For Christians then the question is where has GOD revealed Himself to humans. Then we as apologists try and point people to those sources. Some sources are external, outside of us and some are inside of us.

What is General Revelation?
Definition: General Revelation is the ways God has revealed Himself to ALL people, in ALL places, at ALL times.
It is His Universal Revelation of Himself that is ALWAYS accessible.
This obviously makes it a great candidate for apologetics because ALL people can see it and understand it.
General Revelation is also called Natural Theology.
i. Theology is the study of God.
ii. Natural Theology is what can be known about God from only using General Revelation.

Methods of Apologetics

What is Special Revelation?
Definition: The way God has revealed Himself to particular people, in particular places, at particular times. So, it is not universal but selective, not everyone has access to it.
Where does it come from?

Where does it come from? Sources?
Creation (Ps. 19.1-6; Romans 1.19-20)
Morality (Romans 1, 2)
Reason (Men as the rational animal)
Spirituality – the tendency to worship something
Provision – Common Grace

List all the things that we can know about God through general revelation.

Sources of Special Revelation
Jesus, the living word of God (Heb. 1.3; Jn. 14.7, 9)
The Bible, the written word of God (II Tim. 3.16)
Miracles: (John 20.31)
Theophanies/Visions (Ex. 3; Gen. 32)
History (Ps. 136)

Classical Apologetics
Seeks to prove God’s existence without the use of special revelation.
Stress arguments for the existence of God (cosmological, teleological, etc.)
Examines historical evidence (e.g. If the theistic God exists miracles are possible.)
Two Step Approach: Prove God, then evidential arguments (e.g. the Bible is the WOG and works to substantiate Christianity to be true)
Proponents: Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Craig, Geisler, Lewis, Moreland

Evidential Apologetics
1.One Step Apologetic: Stresses the need for evidence to prove Christianity is true.
2.The Evidence: historical, archaeological, etc.
3.Some Tenets of an Evidentialist Methodology
The Need for History:
The Need for Negative Apologetics: Evidentialists participate in “negative” apologetics
The Need for God: “It is impossible to force anyone into the kingdom of God by our use of logic and evidences. The reality of sin separates persons from God and plays a monumental role in how God’s truth is viewed by the unbeliever (Romans 1.18-32; I Cor. 2.14). Human agency is not responsible for regeneration.”
The Need for Facts: The believer ought to use reliable evidential data that can be objective to even the unbeliever as evidence for Christianity.
The Need for the Holy Spirit: The HS uses apologetics to bring unbelievers to Himself (Acts 17.1-4). “Without the interceding of the HS, no one comes to God.”

4.Proponents: John McDowell – Evidence that Demands a Verdict

Cumulative Case Apologetics
1.No Step Approach
2.General Definition: An informal argument that draws from a number of elements in our experience, none of which exerts authority over the others which points to the truthfulness, not only of theism but of Christianity also.
What disciplines are a primary part of CC? “The model for defending Christianity is not to be found in the domain of philosophy or logic, but law, history, and literature. This does not mean that the apologist may ignore the deliverances of philosophy or logic, but that the nature of the case of Christianity is to be found in a different field.”
3.Two Approaches/Goals of Apologetics:
Demonstrably Sound Arguments: A central task of apologetics is to offer demonstrably sound arguments. That is to say, “arguments which are logically valid and have premises that can be shown to be true. A demonstrably sound argument is coercive in the sense that anyone who wants to retain rationality must accept the argument.”
Probable Case Arguments: When one begins to see the problems with Demonstrably Sound Arguments, “We will begin to relax the standard and give up the search for absolute certainty. While we cannot prove that God exists and that Christianity is true, we can at least show that it is probable, maybe even very probable (here one might argue Teleological or Design arguments)."
The problem: While this argument holds a grip on theists, it is less persuasive for nontheists. What persuades many atheists to reject this argument is that there is an entirely acceptable (and perhaps equally probable) alternative explanation for any order that we find in this universe, namely, evolutionary forces.”

Experiential Apologetics
1.Some focus on mystical experience as an evidence for Christianity.
2.This view is connected to Fideism
3.Mormon View of the Book of Mormon
4.Proponents: Soren Kierkegaard, Rudolph Bultmann, Karl Barth

Presuppositional Apologetics
A presuppositionalist assumes the basic truth of Christianity and then proceeds to show that Christianity alone is true.
Rational Presuppositionalist: Begins with the Trinity revealed in the Bible. The test is LNC. Christianity demonstrates its own truth in that, of all religions, it alone is internally consistent.
How is this view connected to a strong Calvinistic position?
Proponents: Cornelius Van Til, John Frame, Gordan Clark, Carl F.H. Henry
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