INTRODUCTION TO APOLOGETICS II

 

CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS

Rev. J. Djan



INTRODUCTION TO APOLOGETICS II


What is Apologetics?

Apologetics comes from the Greek word apologia  which simply means "verbal defense" or "a reasoned statement or argument".  Here the mind or intellect is employed in a spiritual duty. 2Tm. 2:15,  Matt. 22:37, hence Christian Apologetics is an intellectual defense of the Christian Truth.

CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS is a branch of Theology that focuses on the defense of the Christian Faith however it does not preclude evangelism .  In fact It is a mode of evangelism that begins with the defense of the faith in order to make the gospel a viable option to the skeptic or gainsayer.

SCOPE :

Because the Word of God is Sovereign above all creation and reigns over every aspect of human life and creation,   apologetics  is needed in every area of human  knowledge and accountability to give an answer to any opposition, and to cast down imaginations, and false reasonings  and bring every thought to the obedience of Christ.


VARIOUS BRANCHES.

It is hard to give specific classifications of the branches because of overlapping and overarching of some of the terminologies


1. CLASSICAL APOLOGETICS:  This approach uses reason to prove Biblical Truth or Claims, by first establishing the proof of the existence of  God through philosophical argument such as ontological, teleological , cosmological arguments etc.   It contends  that the Christian faith is not a blind faith but a reasonable one.


2. EVIDENTIAL APOLOGETICS: 

Evidentialists use reason or evidence to prove the existence of God without first trying to prove the existence of God through such philosophical arguments from ontological, teleological evidence  etc .

                                                      

3. PRESUPPOSITIONAL APOLOGETICS: 

In this approach the apologist assumes from the starting point that the knowledge of the existence of God is inborn and that the bible is  divine revelation  therefore everybody knows that there is God and the denial of such is disingenuous .

The  apologist tries to deconstruct counter presuppositions of the unbeliever and bring their thoughts into the obedience of Christ.


4.PHILOSOPHICAL APOLOGETICS: 

 ( The Wisdom of God vs Wisdom of Man.  Deut: 4:5-6,  Col.2:8. Job:38). 

 Here the apologist  uses philosophical arguments: natural, moral or metaphysical to prove the existence of God. ( knowing that Christianity as a philosophy surpasses the philosophies of the world)

"Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the Lord my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people." (Deuteronomy 4:5, 6 KJV)

This passage declares that the philosophy of God given to His children is better than the philosophies of the world. 

 More scriptures that warrant the Christian's involvement in apologetics:

"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. "(Colossians 2:8 KJV)

"We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. "(2 Corinthians 10:4, 5 NLT) 

1. Some arguments used by philosophical apologists to proof the existence of God are: 

(a) Cosmological argument.  The apologist centers on the universe to argue that the universe has a first uncaused cause and that uncaused cause is God

(b) Ontological argument :is the argument for the being of God , reasoning that if God is the greatest perfection that we can think of in our minds then there is the necessity of his existence.

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(c) Teleological argument:  Argument from the idea of "design" by reason that the  complexity of the world is by design and a design has a designer who is God.

(d) Axiological argument:  This is the moral argument contending that God is the moral giver.

(e) Anthropological Argument : The argument from humanity.

2. Examination and  Response to world philosophies: eg: Post Modernism , Naturalism, Existentialism , Determinism , Epicureanism , Stoicism, Secular Humanism .etc


5. SCIENTIFIC APOLOGETICS:

The theme here is that true science proves or confirms God because all truth must lead to God.    

Where there is a conflict it is due to lies, false science or misinterpretation of the Scripture.

Scientific apologetics uses science to prove the existence of God.  Eg.  Physics, Biology, Intelligent design, Evolution , Creationism, 


6. HISTORICAL APOLOGETICS: Using historical evidence to prove biblical claims and content. Historical apologetics is widely overlapped by biblical apologetics.


7. BIBLICAL APOLOGETICS:   The Authenticity of the Bible, Manuscripts, Archaeological proof, Philological proof, Prophecy, The Canon, Biblical Hermeneutics , Biblical claims (Genesis account, Jesus, Heaven and Hell, ), Seeming Contradictions of the bible.


8. EXPERIENTIAL APOLOGETICS: (Taste and see.... Psalm 34:8)  The true Born again experience and the change that has come with it  in testimonies,  Evidence of miracles,  Demonology, Testimonies , Fruits of Christianity 


9. CREATION APOLOGETICS : should we defend the Genesis account or allow runaway theories to undermine the integrity thereof and thereby sow seeds of unbelief in the entire Bible.  If the Genesis account of creation is wrong then goes every major doctrine of the Christian faith including the mission of Christ and the  the necessity of salvation. 

This field holds the argument that the universe was created by an intelligent being who is God.

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10. THEOLOGICAL APOLOGETICS:   Which god is the True God: studies

 of the cults and doctrines in comparison to Christianity and proof that the the Christian Faith  is unique and the God of Christianity is the True God.


11. CHRISTIAN POLEMICS:  This is what we may call the "internal apologetics" because it is the defense within the faith especially against heresy.


12. POLITICAL APOLOGETICS ?  Why not? : 

In Ps. 2 :2-3 it says:

The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,

3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.

The is a political rebel against God and this is more serious because it imposes upon the people to worship false gods.

Many political regimes have tried to seize authority to deny the sovereignty of God over the people  (His Creation) and positioned themselves as the sovereigns who must be obeyed. They take away the God given rights of the people of freedom of religion and coerce the people to serve another God or themselves as God's.  

Right here in America we are seeing a gradual deliberate denial of religious freedom. The mention of anything pertaining to Christianity in public places has been labeled as crime or some sort of violation.  Public stores are afraid to display the scene of nativity and the public is afraid to say merry Christmas.

We saw the persecution of Christians by the Roman Empire which sought to coerce the worship of Roman Emperors and their gods, which led to the defiant  response of apologists among the church fathers, eg Justin Martyr, Aristedes,   Clement , Augustine,  Origen etc.

Russia banned Christianity from  the times of their Revolution until recently.

The Christian apologist must challenge the legality, morality, wisdom and justification of such authority claimed by the powers that be.

Conservatist talk show host and constitutional lawyer Mark Livine rightfully   challenged liberal governor Andrew Cuomo when he made the false claim that our rights come from man . Mark argued that even the Declaration of Independence clearly asserts that our rights come from our creator-God. 

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There is always the question" should a Christian or the church be involved in politics ?  Some answer emphatically no, some are skeptical and others say yes. The reason is that there is not clarity as to what is being asked. What does the clause "involve in politics" mean?

Politics:

 There are  two essential definitions , one is positive and the other is negative and it is because of their understanding of the negative only, that some say no to politics . But with the understanding of the positive, the answer is "yes" 

 1. (The positive definition of the word "politics")  (a) The science of Government, the affairs of the state such as the structure, the administration the state and its relationship with other nations. (b) Political principles or opinions

2.  (The Negative definition of the word "politics":)  using  intrigue or strategy to obtain a position or business etc.

Involve:  Involvement is the next area of confusion.  To what extent should a Christian be involved in politics? There is an posteriori fear in the heart of some, due to the church's imposition over government, church interest in temporalities and corrupt doctrines and practices which resulted in the Renaissance and the Enlightenment  and the almost total  rejection of the church.

The church's involvement should therefore not be state or government imposed ; however  that does not mean that the Christian should neither be involved in giving his opinion in the affairs of the state nor  involved  in the  administration of the state .

For it is his constitutional right and mandate as a citizen to participate in a democratic or republican system of government and in any system of government whereby the constitution of that state allows him. It is also his religious mandate  to shed light for the direction of his country.

Supposing the Christian is the light and the world is darkness, would it not be sinful for the one with the light to stay passive while the world gropes in darkness.?

Evil prevails when the righteous remains silent.  In the American system, the

Christian has both the biblical and constitutional mandate to be involved in politics in the positive sense.

What would be the scope of Political Apologetics in America ?

In the post Apostolic age , the Christians were persecuted by governments  

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through politics. They were accused of cannibalism because of the Eucharist,  incest , because they called one another brother and sister;  and were also blamed for setting Rome on fire .

William Wilberforce , by his conviction of the bible fought to end slavery. 

It is clear to see that if there were Christian apologists in the governments, they could have defused most of the persecutions nevertheless they stood up later to do so.

In America , issues like: Roe  v Wade (Abortion) , Gay Marriage, Human Embryonic stem cell research,  Prayer in School, Bible out of Schools, Censorship of public prayer, God censorship in the Military, Chaplains censored from praying in the name of Jesus,  Sexualization of our public schools,  America's dedication to God,  America a Christian Nation or not, Separation of Church and state, the ENDA act, DOMA, PROPOSITION 8,  Implications of Hate Crime, Move to Ban 'gay to straight counseling,  Banning religious display and religious Free Speech,  Discrimination and censorship against Christian students in the Academia; are constantly on debate.

 The christian owes duty to his God and Country to contribute his light (biblical world view) on these issues for the betterment of the nation. 

"Cursed be he that doeth the work of the Lord deceitfully, and cursed be he that keepeth back his sword from blood. "(Jeremiah 48:10 KJV)

Scripture  compels the Christian : 

1. To seek the peace of the land even if he is a sojourner :

"And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare." (Jeremiah 29:7 NLT)

Christ says his kingdom is not of this world but he did not say we should be silent or passive whiles the nation is desperately searching  for a peace and prosperity through the political process which may even involve voting, lobbying, peaceful protests, debate, and law suits which are all sanctioned by the constitution for the guidance of our country.

2 .To be the light: 

"Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, That I might

 make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee? "(Proverbs 22:20, 21 KJV)

"Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it 

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giveth light unto all that are in the house." (Matt.5:15 KJV)

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: " (2 Timothy 3:16 KJV)

I believe Christians can save this nation if the majority of them understand  the political process and the issues at stake and not only present but stand for the Christian world views on those issues by supporting candidates and legislations that agree with them . Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach.

Biblical Mandate for Apologetics in general:

 The biblical mandate for Christians to be apologists is universal .  1Pe. 3:15 : "But sanctify The Lord of God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear" 

2Cor.10:5 " Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ"

It is understandable that some have special calling to be apologist but at least every Christian must have some basic knowledge to ward off or buffer opposition.

Other scriptures concerning apologetics include :  Jude 3, Titus 1:9-11,  Acts 17:2-4, Mk.12:30 . Pro.22:20-21, Phi1:7, Phi. 1:17 etc

WHY APOLOGETICS? :

(1).  It is a Biblical mandate. Jude 3. Titus 1 :9-15, 1Pe.3:15, 2Cor.10.4-5 , Pro.22:20-21,  26:4-5

2. Besides the Biblical mandate stated above, the current rise of anti Christian hostilities  such as : defamation of Christianity, the onslaught of secularization of Christian domains, the attack against our God and Christianity in the Academia, the media and the entertainment industry, the attack on the Genesis account of

                                                   

 creation , and the authenticity of the Bible;  demand a response in order to make Christianity a viable option to many skeptics.

Examples : Going by the current trend, the average atheist believes that he is 

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righteous but Christianity is evil . He supports his argument by citing the inquisition, the crusades, colonization , slavery, the problem of evil and the corruption of church domination over countries. The average skeptic believes that Christianity is an organized religion used to control people.  God is blamed for the problem of evil.

There is also a concerted effort to secularize  our students in schools.

It is recorded by statistics that by their second year in college about 80% of Christian students abandon their faith.

Here are some excerpts coming from the Secular: ( thanks to the various Internet websites)


 1: John Dunphy: 

"I am convinced that the battle for humankind's future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly perceive their role as the proselytizers of a new faith: a religion of humanity that recognizes the spark of what theologians call divinity in every human being. There teachers must embody the same selfless dedication of the most rabid fundamentalist preacher, for they will be ministers of another sort, utilizing a classroom instead of a pulpit to convey humanist values in whatever subject they teach, regardless of the educational level -- preschool, daycare, or large state university. The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and the new -- the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with all its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of humanism, resplendent in its promise of a world in which the never-realized Christian ideal of 'love thy neighbor' will finally be achieQuote by:

John J. Dunphy: Humanist author:

Source:

"A Religion For A New Age," The Humanist magazine, January-February 1983 [Volume 43, Number 1]



". . . we try to arrange things so that students who enter as bigoted, homophobic, religious fundamentalists will leave college with views more like our own ... we do our best to convince these students of the benefits of secularization. We assign first-person accounts of growing up homosexual to our homophobic students for the same reasons that German schoolteachers in the postwar period assigned The Diary of Anne Frank... You have to be educated in order to be ... a participant in our conversation ... So we are going to go right on trying to discredit you in the eyes of your children, trying to strip your fundamentalist religious community of dignity, trying to make your views seem silly rather than discussable. We are not so inclusivist as to tolerate intolerance such as yours 

... I think those students are lucky to find themselves under the benevolent Herrschaft 

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[domination] of people like me, and to have escaped the grip of their frightening, vicious, dangerous parents ..." - Richard Rorty, former philosophy professor at Princeton University – ‘Universality and Truth,’ in Robert B. Brandom (ed.), Rorty and his Critics, pp. 21-22.

"…some children are raised in such an ideological prison that they willingly become their own jailers…forbidding themselves any contact with the liberating ideas that might well change their mind." – Daniel Dennet, Breaking the Spell, pp. 324, 326.

"The contents and prospects of religion remain thoroughly problematic—and fascinating. Even within a world dominated by self-created technology, humans still will not easily accept that constructs of sense reaching out for the nonobvious are nothing but self-created projections, and that no other signs from the universe around are there to be perceived except for the irregularities resounding from the first big bang."  –Walter Burkert, Creation of the Sacred, p 179.



"For the foreseeable future, [conservative parents] will continue to drop off their children at the dorms. After a teary-eyed hug, mom and dad will drive their SUV’s off toward the nearest gas station, leaving their beloved progeny behind. And then they all are mine." - Bill Savage, Lecturer at Northwestern University (article "Lessons Learned.").



According to Janet Napolitano the former secretary of DHS department of homeland security the potential Terrorists to be watched by government includes: 

( a). Those who believe in end time prophecies, (b) Those who are opposed to the New World Order, One World Government, RFID implantable biometric chip,  Abortion etc. These certainly are the Christians.


In my own hearing a member of my congregation testified that her college professor asked the class who is a Christian in the class. The student raised up her hand and the Professor said " you have a weak mind"



(3)  Apologetics Strengthens one's faith

(4) It preserves the truth .  Deut.4:2, Re.20.18-19 

(5) It gives morale for witnessing 

(6) It  breaks the fortresses of strongholds in the unbelievers mind and paves the 

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way for the acceptance of the Gospel 

(7) It prevents souls from losing their faith due to misunderstanding. (Matt. 13:19)

(8) It shapes culture.

                                                      

IS APOLOGETICS NECESSARY FOR SALVATION ?

No .

Salvation is by Grace through Faith : It is of God.

However God can use anything to bring one to the faith. God can use miracles, dreams, visions, knowledge, understanding and many other means to bring a soul to the faith.  

Examples: Many Muslims have come to the Faith in Christ when they claimed to have seen  or heard The Lord calling them in their dreams or visions .( you can check for testimonies on the Utube)

Some come to Christ because they were healed or saw another healed

Many have come to Christ's through debates or after receiving answers to their questions

In the minds of many skeptics are arsenals of strong holds made of hostile presuppositions serving as " the wall of  Jericho " against the Gospel. The task of apologetics is to break this wall and bring all captive to the knowledge of Christ. ( 2Cor10:5).  Hence it is safe to say emphatically that the Holy Spirit uses apologetics to bring who He wants to the faith.

THE CHAPLAIN AND APOLOGETICS: 

The problem of man is sin. Sin leads to death and between sin and death lie all problems including diseases and sickness as a result of the Fall. What led to the fall was the believing of lies from the devil.

In Titus 1:15 the apostle emphasized that false doctrine or false belief system defiles the mind and  the conscience of a person.

Can you think of what a defiled mind or a defiled conscience can do.?  Consider the rationale and the mindset of a prostitute, gangster, substance addict, a sexual pervert,  the "feel good do it  philosophy", the unforgiving : and consider the social problems ,  diseases, emotional sicknesses and psychological problems that are associated with those with that mindset.  You will see a negative correlation between these symptoms and that of somebody with sound belief in God.  This means the more a person believes in the TRUTH  the lesser  the negative symptoms . 

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  It concludes that the belief system of a person greatly influences how he lives 

                                                   

his  life and the problems involved.

Since the chaplain's ministry is ministry to the soul ( psyche, soul or mind,) ,it behooves the chaplain not to ignore the belief system of his client, which is mostly the root cause of many problems, physically socially and spiritually .

It takes apologetics to deconstruct the false belief in order to make truth 

                                                      

acceptable to many before they can be set free.

THE  SCIENCE  AND ART OF APOLOGETICS:

Apologetic starts from knowing what you believe and why you believe it: 

Knowing and believing  the Essential Christian Doctrine cannot be compromised.

 "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needed not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2Tim 2:15)

It involves deep studies of the subject. It requires deep research with biblical discipline , intellectual disciple, academic discipline .  It is not enough to know what you believe but also what others belief so you can correct their error.

 Knowledge of the subject is important but knowing how to communicate the message is also very important.

( "....that I should know HOW TO speak a word IN SEASON to him that is weary" Isaiah 50:4) 

Personal accountability of the apologist to the gospel and social humility

Knowing how to engage your audience or opponent.

Paul said in 2Cor 9:19-23 "...I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some". 

The art of communicating ,debating such as knowing logical fallacies , persuasion , counseling .

Knowing when to use Pathos , Ethos or Logos

Knowing when to use positive apologetics which is by asserting the truth and benefits of the faith and when to be negative which is to deconstruct the opponent's view or give a response in defense .

Keeping in mind the counsel from 1Peter 3:15  ..".with MEEKNESS AND FEAR"

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