Apologetics 1 Lesson 2 Apologetic Approaches


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Lesson 2 of a multipart series. Approaches to Apologetics. Covers different styles of apologetics including evidential, presuppostional, missional, integrative, and combinational.

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  • Baker encyclopedia of Christian apologetics (42).
  • Augustine, Anselm, Thomas Aquinas, William Paley, John Locke, C. S. Lewis, B. B. Warfield, John Gerstner, R. C. Sproul, William Lane Craig, J. P. Moreland, Winfried Corduan, Stuart Hackett, Peter Kreeft, and Norman L. Geisler
  • Salvador Dali Crucifixion (Hypercubus)
  • Apologetics 1 Lesson 2 Apologetic Approaches

    1. 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. 2. Approaches • Apologetics can be divided into two competing camps – evidentialism and presuppositionalism • Or some may say it is more of a spectrum between the two • For some, this is more of an academic debate • We cover apologetic approaches because you will come across this the more you study
    3. 3. Apologetic Approaches • Evidential – Classical – Cumulative – Historical • Presuppositional • Missional • Integrative • Combinational
    4. 4. Evidential Apologetics • Stresses the need for evidence in support of the Christian truth claims • The evidence can be – Rational – Historical – Archaeological – Experiential – Prophetic • It is so broad that it overlaps with other approaches to apologetics – Classical apologetics is considered a subset of evidential
    5. 5. Classical Apologetics • “Classical apologetics stresses rational arguments for the existence of God and historical evidence supporting the truth of Christianity.” • “Stress is placed on miracles as a confirmation of the claims of Christ and the biblical prophets and apostles.” • “Classical apologetics is characterized by two basic steps: theistic and evidential arguments.” • Baker encyclopedia of Christian apologetics (154)
    6. 6. Classical Apologetics 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.
    7. 7. Classical Apologists • Augustine • Anselm • Thomas Aquinas • CS Lewis • William Paley • John Locke • BB Warfield • RC Sproul • William Lane Craig • JP Moreland • Norman L. Geisler
    8. 8. Acts 14:8-18 “Now at Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet. He was crippled from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul speaking. And Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well, said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he sprang up and began walking. And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” Even with these words they scarcely restrained the people from offering sacrifice to them.” (ESV)
    9. 9. Acts 14:8-18 • Notice in this account that Paul addresses people who are not Jewish and don’t have the Jewish scriptures. • You will notice in verse 15 he starts with God as the creator of the universe.
    10. 10. Historical Apologetics • Stresses historical evidence as the basis for demonstrating the truth of Christianity • Uses historical records including the Bible – The writings of Apostles, i.e. Bible – The writings of early Church Fathers – The writings of non-Christians, i.e. Josephus
    11. 11. Historical Gospels Extrabiblical Sources Church History This method makes a case for Christianity based upon the historical evidence available. This include s 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.
    12. 12. Historical Proponents • Tertullian • Justin Martyr • Clement of Alexandria • Origen • John Warwick Montgomery • Gary Habermas
    13. 13. 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 weigh any other opposing view. This view is good for people who already believe in a god but not Christianity.
    14. 14. Presuppositional • Presuppositionalists begin with the assumption that God exists and Christianity is true. • “Usually, a presuppositionalist presupposes the basic truth of Christianity and then proceeds to show (in any of several ways) that Christianity alone is true.” • They believe there is no meaning to “facts” apart from the Christian worldview. – Baker encyclopedia of Christian apologetics
    15. 15. Presuppositional Verities • Revelational – You have to presuppose the Triune God has revealed himself in Holy Scriptures before it is possible to make any sense out of the universe, life, language, or history • Rational – Christianity alone is internally consistent – All other systems break the law of Noncontradiction because they are not true
    16. 16. Presuppositional Verities • Systematic Consistency – Like rational – With the added point that it must also be existentially relevant in that it meets life’s basic needs • Practical (Francis Schaeffer) – False systems are unlivable – Only Christian truth is livable
    17. 17. Proponents • Revelational – Cornelius Van Til, Greg Bahnsen, and John Frame • Rational – Gordon Clark and Carl F. H. Henry • Systematic Consistency – Edward John Carnell and Gordon Lewis • Practical – Francis Schaeffer
    18. 18. Missional Apologetics • Missions based • Cross-cultural • Contextualization • Relationship • Reason and emotion • Listening • Living example • Patient • Honest with limitations • Safe environment • Non-judgmental • Sociologically informed • Encourages dialogue • Humble • Dynamic, not static http://missionalapologetics.com/
    19. 19. Combinationalism • Combinationalism – Balanced approach to apologetics – Using Presuppositional and Evidential approaches together – A synthesis approach – None of these approaches is sufficient enough to stand alone as the only way
    20. 20. Integrative • Integrative – An approach that combines or integrates elements of more than one approach – Situation and person specific – Know the strengths and weaknesses of each and apply as needed – Adaptation and flexibility – Using all of “these approaches to commend Christian faith to others” (Boa)
    21. 21. Experiential Apologetics • Experience is a way we can ‘know’ something • Appeal primarily, if not exclusively, to experience as evidence for Christian faith • Some focus on mystical experiences • Fideism – Matters of faith and religious belief are not supported by reason • Mormon’s will often use this approach – “Burning in the bosom”
    22. 22. Experiential Apologetics • Some people reject purely experiential arguments because they are: – Unverifiable – Subjective • How can you know how to interpret someone experience? – What if you have a similar experience? – Who’s experience is better? – How do you know?
    23. 23. Dialogical Apologetics • “The contexts provided by the conceptual, attitudinal, cultural, and psychological aspects of real people in discussion are generally ignored. • Apologetics has traditionally centered on the philosophical to the exclusion of the personal.” (Clark viii) • “…dialogical apologetics is audience-sensitive or personal-centered apologetics.” (Clark ix) Clark, David K. Dialogical Apologetics: A Person-Centered Approach to Christian Defense
    24. 24. Imaginative Apologetics • Things can be known by our imaginations • The idea is to bring the truths of Christianity to the world through the arts – Poetry – Music – Painting – Graphic Arts – Literature – Multi-media • Malcolm Guite’s Faith, Hope and Poetry • Nancy Pearcey’s Saving Leonardo • Imaginative Apologetics, Theology, Philosophy, and the Catholic Tradition by John Hughes and Andrew Davison
    25. 25. Literary Apologetics • Literary apologetics is a subset of imaginative apologetics that specifically focuses on literature. • Great examples – G. K. Chesterton, C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, Holly Ordway, Sean McDowell, Paul L. Maier • Teaches the truth of Christianity through fiction literature http://www.hieropraxis.com/2011/05/what-is-literary-apologetics/
    26. 26. Homework • Exercise: Practice Active Listening – Discover and listening exercise, talk with someone about their beliefs without opinion. – Just ask questions and listen. – Try to find out what they believe and why. – Remember, this is not a witnessing exercise; this is a discovery and listening exercise.