Apologetics - Lecture 1 - Introductory Matters

Apologetics Study

 

Session Notes

Introductory Matters

Apologetics – Session 1 – 12/1/21

 

**Much of what I will be using comes from a series of Apologetics lectures given by Dr. Timothy Paul Jones in Spring 2019 at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Additionally, I utilized material in the book “Apologetics at the Cross” by Joshua Chatraw and Mark Allen for this teaching.**

 

What is Apologetics?

  • Apologetics isn’t:
    • Learning how to destroy people’s ideas so you can win an argument.
    • Learning a bunch of knowledge so you can do nothing with it.
    • Convincing teenagers of a bunch of information so they don’t walk away from Christianity if they go to college.
  • What is Apologetics? How would you define Apologetics?



  • Apologetics Definition (Dr. Jones):
    • “Apologetics is the reverent, reasonable, humble defense – through our words and through our lives – of the hope we have in the risen Christ, as this hope has been revealed in His word and in His world.”
    • Defense
      • ἀπολογία = a defense, argument
      • Acts 22:1; Acts 25:16; 1 Cor 9:3; Phil 1:16
      • 1 Peter 3:15

Apologetics Methods

  • Why do methods matter? (3 reasons)
    • Congruity
      • Apologetics methods help you make certain that your approach to defending the faith matches your theology.
    • Humility
      • Past Christians have testified faithfully to the gospel and the truth of Scripture using apologetics methods. We don’t need to be innovative.
    • Intentionality
      • Apologetics methods help you to have a strategy when you encounter objections to the truth of Christianity.
    • Classical Apologetics - “two step approach”
      • Argues first for theism. (Prove there is a God)
      • Then for Christianity. (Prove that the God of the Bible is God)
      • A person must first accept that there is a God before they can put their trust in Him.
      • This method assumes that reason and evidence can establish theism and Christianity.
    • Evidentialist Apologetics - “one step approach”
      • This approach bypasses the need to argue for theism, this approach sees proving theism as optional, and goes straight to arguing for a historical case regarding, typically, one of the following:
        • The reliability of the Bible
        • The identity of Jesus
        • The resurrection of Jesus.
      • This method believes historical evidence concerning these topics may be sufficient enough to convince someone of Christianity without having to first establish theism.
    • The weaknesses of Classical and Evidentialist Apologetics
      • They appeal to people as primarily thinking beings who can be convinced by mere rationality of argument. If the argument is logical, they ought to simply believe it.
      • Our postmodern society has moved authority out from being external to internal
        • “The truth isn’t outside of me, it is what I deem as truth, my truth.”
        • Relativism in society prevents these logic based approaches from ultimately being as effective as they should be.
      • Presuppositional Apologetics
        • “Presuppositional apologetics is an approach to apologetics which aims to present a rational basis for the Christian faith and defend it against objections by exposing the logical flaws of other worldviews and hence demonstrating that biblical theism is the only worldview which can make consistent sense of reality.”
        • In Presuppositional Apologetics, you recognize that someone’s beliefs are filtered through the lens of their presuppositions or assumptions. People view the world through their preconceived notions.
        • Thus, we must help them to see that the Christian worldview is the only worldview that is logically consistent.
        • Example:
          • Morality
        • In Presuppositional Apologetics, we listen for someone’s presuppositions, expose them to them, and then help them to see the inconsistencies in their view so we can present the Biblical worldview.
      • Ultimately, I favor both Classical Apologetics and Presuppositional Apologetics. There are times for both Methods.

Purpose of Apologetics (4 Purposes)

  1. Tolerance
    1. The defense of Christian practices for the purpose of preserving the free proclamation and practice of the gospel.
  2. Protection
    1. The defense of Christian doctrine for the purpose of safeguarding the faith of believers.
  3. Rationality
    1. Philosophical arguments for Christian theism for the purpose of strengthening the faith and worship of believers.
  4. Evangelism
    1. The defense of Christian truth for the purpose of calling unbelievers to faith in Jesus.

 

Apologetics and Evangelism are Partners