Apologetics 1 Introduction
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Introduction to Christian apologetics. Biblical support for apologetics and some of the challenges to apologetics.

Introduction to Christian apologetics. Biblical support for apologetics and some of the challenges to apologetics.

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  • sophist <br /> ancient Greek philosopher: a member of a school of ancient Greek professional philosophers who were expert in and taught the skills of rhetoric, argument, and debate, but were criticized for specious reasoning. <br /> somebody using clever talk to deceive: a deceptive person who offers clever-sounding but flawed arguments or explanations <br /> http://www.bing.com/Dictionary/search?q=define+sophist&qpvt=sophist&FORM=DTPDIA

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  • 1. Third Column Ministries www.slideshare.net/ThirdColumnMinistries www.facebook.com/LearnApologetics | Twitter: @LApologetics www.ThirdColumnMinistries.org This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License..
  • 2. Course Objectives At the completion of this course the student will be able to: • Discuss the biblical basis for apologetics, the benefits for ministry, and the role in the Christian faith. • Describe different apologetic methods. • Understand and describe major worldviews. • Develop their own approach to apologetics based on gentleness and respect. • Understand the difference between faith and reason and how they work together. • Understand the basic tools of logic employed in apologetics. • Recognize the major historical and philosophical arguments for God’s existence. • Recognize the major historical and philosophical arguments for Christianity. • Develop passion and skill for engaging in conversations about the Christian faith.
  • 3. Required Texts • Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions, by Gregory Koukl – (Available at Amazon.com and christianbook.com, also available in electronic format from Amazon [Kindle]) • Love Your God With All Your Mind, by J. P. Moreland – (Available at Amazon.com and christianbook.com, available in electronic format from Amazon [Kindle], also available in audio format from Audible.com)
  • 4. Optional Texts • Why I Am a Christian: Leading Thinkers Explain Why They Believe, by Norman L. Geisler & various authors – (Available at Amazon.com and christianbook.com, also available for Logos Bible Software) • Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics (Baker Reference Library), by Norman L. Geisler & various authors – (Available used, available in electronic format from Amazon [Kindle], also available for Logos Bible Software) • Hard Sayings of the Bible, by Walter C. Kalser Jr. et. al.
  • 5. Optional Software • Prepared Defense: Christian Apologetics Software by Clay Jones – WORDsearch
  • 6. Optional Library for Logos Bible Software • The Norman L. Geisler Apologetics Library (13 vols.) [For Logos Bible Software] King James Version Answering Islam, 2d ed. Why I Am a Christian Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics When Cultists Ask Roman Catholics and Evangelicals When Critics Ask Miracles and the Modern Mind When Skeptics Ask Come Let Us Reason Worlds Apart: A Handbook on Worldviews Introduction to Philosophy Christian Apologetics http://www.logos.com/product/8810/the-norman-l-geisler-apologetics-library
  • 7. Class Scope • Apologetics 1 – Defending Your Faith – Introduction to apologetics – Tools and technics for apologetics • Apologetics 2 – World religions and other worldviews
  • 8. Class Discussion • Have you ever found yourself in a conversation where you did not have good answers to tough criticism of Christianity? • Do you feel that some people are hostile to Christianity? • Do you see people making outrages claims against Christianity that you knew were not true but did not know how to address them? – How did you handle those situations? • Do you believe polite people should not discuss politics or religion?
  • 9. 1 Peter 3:14 “And who will harm you if you are deeply committed to what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear or be disturbed, but honor the Messiah as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. However, do this with gentleness and respect, keeping your conscience clear, so that when you are accused, those who denounce your Christian life will be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.” - 1 Peter 3:13-17 (HSCB)
  • 10. Be Ready • What do you think Peter means by “be ready”?
  • 11. Be Ready • What do you think Peter means by “be ready”? – Opportunities will come up unexpectedly – We don’t need to worry we need to prepare – “The question you need to answer in advance is, ‘When God opens that door, will I be ready?’” – Greg Koukl – “This means you ought to know more than a little about the Bible.” - J. Vernon McGee
  • 12. Give a Defense • What do you think Peter means by “give a defense”?
  • 13. Give a Defense • What do you think Peter means by “give a defense”? – Greek word Apologia means a defense a reply to an accusation – In this situation the ‘always’ and ‘everyone’ shows that this is meant for more than just accusations – “Both ‘make a defense’ and ‘question’ can indicate formal legal or judicial setting, but they were also used for informal and personal situations. The ‘always’ and ‘to all’ in this passage indicates that the latter is in view.” – Peter H. Davids
  • 14. Anyone who Asks • What do you think Peter means by “to anyone who asks for a reason”?
  • 15. Anyone who Asks • What do you think Peter means by “to anyone who asks for a reason”? – Honest inquires – “…if someone wants to hear about the faith, a believer should not remain silent or avoid the subject.” – David H. Stern – “Their interest should gladly be grasped as an opportunity for a positive, reasoned presentation of the gospel.” – I. Howard Marshall
  • 16. Gentleness and Respect • What do you think Peter means by “with gentleness and respect”?
  • 17. Gentleness and Respect • What do you think Peter means by “with gentleness and respect”? – A Christians’ general pattern of behavior – Never disrespectful or harsh – “Peter may have been alluding to the occasion when he denied Christ out of fear, in words that were neither gentle nor respectful.” - The Bible Knowledge Commentary
  • 18. Clear Conscience • What do you think Peter means by “a clear conscience”?
  • 19. Clear Conscience • What do you think Peter means by “a clear conscience”? – In the context of the Greek culture in New Testament times, it is important to note that Sophists in Ancient Greece used deceptive argumentation techniques, with the purpose to persuade (win the argument at all costs) not get at the truth. – We should not attempt to ‘trick’ people. – Keep your conscience clear by being honest and avoiding deceptive tactics.
  • 20. Jude 1:3 “Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” - Jude 3-4 (ESV)
  • 21. Contend Earnestly • What do you think is meant by contend earnestly?
  • 22. Contend Earnestly • What do you think is meant by contend earnestly? – ἐπαγωνίζομαι (epagōnizomai) – “…to contend with intensity and determination…” Wuest – “…emphasize that the defense of this faith will be continuous, costly and agonizing…” Michael Green
  • 23. 2 Corinthians 10:5 • “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV) • “destroying speculations” “demolish arguments”
  • 24. Colossians 4:6 • “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” (ESV) • “Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.” (NLT)
  • 25. Ephesians 4:29 • “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (NIV)
  • 26. Paul to the Jews • “And Paul entered, as he usually did, and for three Sabbaths he reasoned and argued with them from the Scriptures, Explaining [them] and [quoting passages] setting forth and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, This Jesus, Whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ (the Messiah). And some of them [accordingly] were induced to believe and associated themselves with Paul and Silas, as did a great number of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women.” Acts 17:2- 4 (AMP)
  • 27. Paul to the Jews (cont.) • “And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and tried to persuade Jews and Greeks.”- Acts 18:24 (ESV)
  • 28. Paul to the Jews (cont.) • “Then Paul went to the synagogue and preached boldly for the next three months, arguing persuasively about the Kingdom of God. But some became stubborn, rejecting his message and publicly speaking against the Way. So Paul left the synagogue and took the believers with him. Then he held daily discussions at the lecture hall of Tyrannus.” – Acts 19:8-9 (NLT)
  • 29. Paul to the Jews (cont.) • Notice here that Paul reasoned and argued from scriptures in the synagogue. He was providing them with evidence. Notice his endeavors lead some people to belief in Jesus as the Messiah and sometimes it did not. • The Greek word used in these examples for reasoned is dialegomai, which means to discuss with reasonable discourse.
  • 30. Paul to the Greeks Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you. “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.” When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject.” At that, Paul left the Council. Some of the people became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others. – Acts 17:22-34
  • 31. Paul to the Greeks (cont.) • The "Areopagus" is where the philosophers of Athens could meet to discuss new ideas. • Paul quotes from the Cretan philosopher Epimenides and from the Cilician Stoic philosopher Aratus (Acts 17:27). This is often called contextualization. • Paul used what they knew to make a convincing argument for them. • He did not presuppose the scriptures when he made his case. • His proof was instead the resurrection • Notice again that some believed and some didn’t.
  • 32. Early Church • Early creeds – as answers to alternative belief systems • Against Heresies 5 volumes by Irenaeus – Apostle John → Polycarp → Irenaeus – Irenaeus was an early church father and apologist – Wrote against Gnostics, Marcionites and others • Ambrose – Wrote against Arianism (Jesus subordinate to God the Father)
  • 33. Early Church (cont.) • Titus Flavius Clemens “Clement” (150 - 215) – ‘Protrepticus’ – against Greek paganism – ‘Paedagogus’ - against Gnostics - Clement argues that faith, not esoteric knowledge [γνῶσις], is required for salvation – ‘Stromata’ – against various such as Gnostics, Marcionites, Greek Paganism and the followers of Xenophon
  • 34. Early Church (cont.) • Justin Martyr (103–165) – First Apology addressed to Antoninus Pius, his sons, and the Roman Senate – Second Apology addressed to the Roman Senate – Other works are lost to us, he wrote against a number of other heresies including the custom of exposing unwanted infants – Justin is mentioned by Eusebius, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Hippolytus, and others
  • 35. Apologetics • Apologetics “New Testament Ministry which seeks to provide rational grounds for believing Christianity in whole or in part and to respond to objections raised against Christianity in whole or in part.” - J. P. Moreland • “The goal of apologetics is to persuasively answer honest objections that keep people from faith in Jesus Christ.” - Five Views on Apologetics • Apologetics is “providing a defense of the truthfulness of the Christian faith for the purpose of convincing unbelievers.” Wayne A. Grudem
  • 36. Greg Koukl • Diplomacy not D-Day • Ambassador vs. Soldier
  • 37. The Task of Apologetics • For the unbeliever – “Removal of barriers to belief” – Kelly James Clark – Answering emotion doubts – Answering intellectual doubts • For the believer – Learning why we believe what we believe – Answering doubts and strengthen faith
  • 38. Obstacles to Belief Jesus Intellectual Barriers Emotional Barriers Spiritual Barriers Unbeliever
  • 39. Removing Obstacles Jesus Intellectual Barriers Emotional Barriers Spiritual Barriers Unbeliever
  • 40. Our Task • “Our job, then, is to be the best witness to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord that we can be.” - James Sire • “One of the few things in life that cannot possibly do harm in the end is the honest pursuit of the truth.” - Kreeft and Tacelli
  • 41. Modes of Apologetics • Offensive Mode – “Make a positive case for Christianity by offering, for example, evidence for the existence of God, for the resurrection of Christ, or for the Christian faith through fulfilled prophecy.” (G. Koukl) • Defensive Mode – “Answers challenges to Christianity like the attacks on the authority and reliability of the Bible, answering the problem of evil, or dealing with Darwinian macro-evolution.” (G. Koukl)
  • 42. Related Fields of Study • Evangelism • Theology • Philosophy • Epistemology • Statistics • Sociology • Psychology • History • Science (Biology & Physics) • Pastoral care • Communications • Legal • And the kitchen sink
  • 43. Class Discussion • What is the difference between knowing and showing that Christianity is true?
  • 44. Challenges • Relativism • Pluralism • Monocultural secularism • Postmodernism • Christian Indifference* • Christian Irrationalism* • Christian Ignorance* • Christian Cowardice* • Christian Arrogance* • Superficial Answers* *Groothuis, Six Enemies of Apologetic Engagement
  • 45. Anti-Apologetics • Fideism – “Fideism is an approach to apologetics that argues that the truths of faith cannot and should not be justified rationally. Or, to look it another way, fideists contend that truths of Christianity are properly apprehended by faith alone.” (Boa and Bowman 364) – “If we are going to be wise, spiritual people prepared to meet the crises of our age, we must be a studying, learning community that values the life of the mind.” – J. P. Moreland
  • 46. Anti-Apologetics • Fear of fighting (Argue Phobic) – Value relationship or peace over truth – In these situations the truth is sacrificed to keep the peace – We should be able to disagree without being disagreeable
  • 47. Argue Phobic • “There is a difference between an argument and a fight. Unfriendly quarrels are not productive. If anyone in the conversation gets mad, then you lose. Arguments, on the other hand, are good things. Indeed, arguing is a virtue, because it advances clear thinking. If done well, it helps refine our understanding of truth.” - G. Koukl
  • 48. Anti-Apologetic Passages • Matt 12:38-40 • Luke 16:19-31 • Luke 23:8-12 • John 20:24-29 • 1 Corinthians 2:2-5
  • 49. Matt 12:38-40 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.” But He answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation demands a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. – HCSB
  • 50. Matt 12:38-40 • What is the context of the confrontation? • Is this passage even about apologetics? • “Jesus understands the heart condition of his audience and knows that nothing will satisfy their skepticism. They have not responded to the Word of God or the signs already done by Jesus. …It is not the request for evidence that he rebukes but the corruptness of the heart that lies behind the question.” (Geisler and Zukeran, The Apologetics of Jesus 131)
  • 51. Luke 16:19-31 Jesus said, “There was a certain rich man who was splendidly clothed in purple and fine linen and who lived each day in luxury. At his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores. As Lazarus lay there longing for scraps from the rich man’s table, the dogs would come and lick his open sores. “Finally, the poor man died and was carried by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and his soul went to the place of the dead. There, in torment, he saw Abraham in the far distance with Lazarus at his side. “The rich man shouted, ‘Father Abraham, have some pity! Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. I am in anguish in these flames.’ “But Abraham said to him, ‘Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted, and you are in anguish. And besides, there is a great chasm separating us. No one can cross over to you from here, and no one can cross over to us from there.’ “Then the rich man said, ‘Please, Father Abraham, at least send him to my father’s home. For I have five brothers, and I want him to warn them so they don’t end up in this place of torment.’ “But Abraham said, ‘Moses and the prophets have warned them. Your brothers can read what they wrote.’ “The rich man replied, ‘No, Father Abraham! But if someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will repent of their sins and turn to God.’ “But Abraham said, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t listen even if someone rises from the dead.’ ” NLT
  • 52. Luke 16:19-31 • In Luke the example in verse 31 says that they will not believe even if someone rose from the dead. • This is prophetic because that is what Jesus did. He rose from the dead and people still find reasons not to believe. • The question then is, are they honest seekers?
  • 53. Luke 23:8-12 When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform some miracle. He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer. The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him. Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate. That day Herod and Pilate became friends—before this they had been enemies. - NIV
  • 54. Luke 23:8-12 • Herod asked Jesus to perform a miracle for him. • It was simply to entertain Herod. • Jesus does not give evidence for people who simple want to be entertained. • Was Herod an honest seeker?
  • 55. John 20:24-29 Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” - ESV
  • 56. John 20:24-29 • Jesus apparently rebuked Thomas who was looking for evidence. However notice that Jesus provided the evidence for Thomas. Why Thomas and not the Pharisees? • “Jesus refuses to present evidence to the hard-hearted Pharisees (Matt. 12:38-39), but he responds to Thomas’s request because he is open to God and seeking the truth.” (Geisler and Zukeran, The Apologetics of Jesus 135)
  • 57. 1 Corinthians 2:2-5 For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God. - NLT
  • 58. 1 Corinthians 2:2-5 • Read ‘wise and persuasive words’ as empty rhetoric. • Paul quotes Greek philosophers In Acts 17:22- 34. • Paul gives many reasons using logic in his apologetic approach. • Paul does not use the sophist approach.
  • 59. Sophist • ancient Greek philosopher: a member of a school of ancient Greek professional philosophers who were expert in and taught the skills of rhetoric, argument, and debate, but were criticized for specious reasoning. • somebody using clever talk to deceive: a deceptive person who offers clever-sounding but flawed arguments or explanations http://www.bing.com/Dictionary/search?q=define+sophist&qpvt=sophist&FORM=DTPDIA
  • 60. Class Discussion • Are you an apologist? If not why? • Share some way in which you as a believer have been strengthened through the study of Apologetics. Be specific. • Why is it shortsighted to depreciate the value of apologetics because “no one comes to Christ through arguments”? • Why should we not be discouraged if many unbelievers remain unconvinced by our apologetic arguments? • Has your view on apologetics changed since the beginning of class?
  • 61. Apologetic Approaches • Evidential – Classical – Cumulative – Historical • Presuppositional • Combinational • Missional • Integrative
  • 62. Classical Existence of God Christianity is True Two part process. First establish that there is good evidence for the existence of God. Second show that Christianity is the true understanding of God. This approach is best for Atheists who deny the existence of God.
  • 63. Cumulative Truth of Christianity Historical Evidence Resurrection Evidence Biblical Evidence This method seeks to create a case based upon the preponderance of the evidence. Much like a court case the point is to out weight any other opposing view. This view is good for people who already believe in a god but not Christianity.
  • 64. Historical Gospels Extrabiblical Sources Church History This method makes a case for Christianity based upon the historical evidence available. This include the biblical account, other extrabiblical (non-Christian) sources and Church history. This view is good for people who already believe in a god but not Christianity.