Defending The Truth
Welcome to Apologetics.
When we talk about defending the truth which is the Bible (or the Gospel), we’re really drawing from a term called apologetics. Apologetics is the branch of Christian theology that is concerned with giving a reasoned defense for the truth of the Gospel. A key word to focus on is the word truth. The apologist, one who practices apologetics, seeks to give a defense for truth.
The word apologetics comes from the greek word Apologia which is defined as giving a reasoned, verbal defense of one’s position or view.
In Christianity there are
4 truth claims that are being made known. So what are these truths?
1.That an eternally existing, all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving, just, perfect, holy, merciful and righteous God exists.
2.That this God created all things that exist. This includes the Heavens and the Earth and everything therein including mankind, all created in 6 actual 24hr days.
3.That this God has revealed Himself to all mankind through His wonderful creation including mankind in the person of Jesus Christ who lived and walked on the earth, through scripture and lastly through the Holy Spirit within every believer.
4.That the historic claims that Christianity presents in the bible are actual events that happened in space-time and not fictional or mythical accounts.
While there are others, generally apologetics falls into 4 main types.
“And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures,” (Acts 17:2)
A presupposition is a position that one holds that assumes or takes a certain condition for granted. For example, the question: “Are you still having problems with your car?”, presupposes that the person being addressed has had previous car problems.
Everyone’s world view consists of presuppositions; beliefs that support how they view the world, reason about things, interpret evidence and for the Christian, read the bible. Presuppositional apologetics is giving a reasoned defense of Christian beliefs based on God’s Word. So for the Christian, our entire world view is grounded in the absolute truths of the bible. This position reasons that it is impossible for anyone to account for anything in life apart from God and what He has revealed in His Word. Things like reason, morality, logic and beauty amongst other things, simply can not be accounted for apart from God. It makes the case that apart from God life simply consists of relativism. That everything means only what it means to each individual and that there is no objective truth. This is precisely the presupposition of an atheist. They presuppose that there is no God, truth is relative and that man is the determiner of all things that exist. Things like morality, logic, and truth are all determined and defined by him in a relativistic fashion.The early apostles were known to use Presuppositional Apologetics. Paul demonstrated this in Acts 17:2.
Also Mars Hill in Athens, Greece when he preached to the greeks who were worshipping an unknown God.
“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man,” (Acts 17:24)
It is important to realize in presuppositional apologetics proof or evidence does not attempt to prove the existence of God. Instead it starts from the position that God does exist because nothing can be accounted for without a personal agent such as God. And only His Word, the bible, has been able to give true revelation for this accounting.
“For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,[a] in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20)
Evidential apologetics seeks to give a reasoned defense of the Christian faith based on evidences. These evidences included things like the miracles of Jesus, fulfilled prophecies, resurrection and biblical historical evidences. Evidential apologetics rest mainly on data used to support these evidences.
Cosmological, Teleological (Design), Ontological, Moral
Classical apologetics starts by stressing rational arguments to establish the existence of God. Typical arguments used by classical apologists are the cosmological, teleological (Design), ontological(conceiving a greater being) and moral arguments to prove God’s existence. Once it has been established that the existence of God is true or the most plausible explanation the classic apologist will then move on to present evidences such as fulfilled prophecy and historic scriptural evidences as to why Christianity is the one true religion.
Properly basic belief
Reformed Epistemology states that it is not irrational to have a belief apart from evidence. A belief in God does not necessarily need evidence for the belief to be rational. It considers the belief in God as a properly basic belief. That some beliefs simply can not be inferred from other justified beliefs but they are epistemically justified.
Example: One can believe it is noon and this belief could be justified by other beliefs, but what justifies the other beliefs? What justifies the beliefs that infer these beliefs? And so on. It calls for a more properly basic belief, stating that it is improper to assume the belief in God is irrational without evidence for God’s existence.