Couse Texts Tuesday, Jun 3 2008 

Course Texts

 

Streams of Confusion, by Brad Scott, published by Crossway,

ISBN 1581340591

 

Seven Men Who rule the World from the Grave, by Dave Breese,

ISBN 0802484484

 

How Should We Then Live, by Francis A. Schaeffer, published by Crossway Books, ISBN 0891072926

 

Reading List

 

Barrett, Earl. A Christian Perspective of Knowing. Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill, 1965.

 

Blamires, Harry. The Christian Mind: How Should A Christian Think? Ann Arbor: Servant Books, 1978.

 

Bruce, F.F. The Defense of the Gospel in the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1960.

 

Carnell, John. An Introduction to Christian Apologetics. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1948.

 

Dulles, Avery. A History of Apologetics. New York: Corpus Books, 1971.

 

Geisler, Norman. Christian Apologetics. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1976.

 

Geisler, Norman. Miracles and Modern Thought. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1982.

 

Guiness, Os. The Dust of Death. Downers Grove, Ill.: Inter Varsity, 1972.

 

Hudson, Winthrop. Religion in America. New York: Macmillan, 1987. 4th Ed.

 

Kreeft, Peter. Between Heaven and Hell. Downers Grove, Ill.: Inter Varsity, 1982.

 

Lewis, C.S. Mere Christianity. New York: Macmillian, 1943.

 

McDowell, Josh. Evidence that Demands A Verdict. San Bernardino: Here’s Life, 1979. Rev.

 

Nash, Ronald. The Concept of God. Oxford, England: Oxford University, 1987

 

Ramm, Bernard. Varieties of Christian Apologetics. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1962.

 

Roushdoony, Rousas. By What Standard? Fairfax, Va.: Thouburn, 1974.

 

Schaeffer, Francis. The Complete Works of Francis Schaeffer (5 vols.). Westchester, Ill.: Crossway Books, 1982.

 

Van Til, Cornelius. The Defense of the Faith. Nutley, New Jersey: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1955.

 

Woodbridge, John. Biblical Authority. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1982.

Advertisements

Lesson Seven Tuesday, Jun 3 2008 

Lecture number Seven

 

The foundational goal of this course was to prepare you for the passing of the Biblical message to those you minister to now and in the future. To do that effectively the student would need to understand the mindset of those you are communicating with. Much of your reading has been about the rise of rationalism. Our discussions have helped us see how this point of view has affected our present society. The exchanges you have provided have sharpened your skills to do this in the future.

 

If I were to give all of you one encouragement it would be about your natural responses. I would hope that in the future when you are asked a question or faced with an opportunity to explain something that you would think first with a biblical mind. The student’s tendency is to offer an opinion and support it with a rush of proof texts. That only falls into the hands of the committed liberal mindset. Our goal is to be extremely confident that God has an answer and He doesn’t need our ingenuity, only our obedience. Go directly to His Word and let it speak for itself.

 

Apologetics isn’t about winning an argument. You can win arguments without any help from God. This course is about learning to pass truth to man from God. That makes us only the channel, not the source of truth. My prayer would be that you would begin looking for things to practice on. I read them everyday. The news is full of them. Take each and every advantage that God opens up for you to defend the faith in this manner. If you live in the real world you will see God and the Bible offended every day. Step up to the plate. This is your ball to hit out of the park.

 

I want you to be keenly aware of your own spiritual gift and the way God has made you. Do not try to be like someone else and do not try to make someone do apologetics your way. God has a plan for each of you, listen to Him. Some of you will be soft spoken and reach certain kinds of people. Others will be outspoken and reach others that the soft word will not penetrate. At the same time all of us must be honest, polite and respectful.

 

Thank you for being in this class. Each of you, have been a blessing to me personally. You have a lot to accomplish this week so get it done as quickly as you can. I will be here guiding through those projects.

Lesson Six Tuesday, Jun 3 2008 

Lecture Six

 

The formal issues of Apologetics have been covered in the notes that you have been reading each week. However, for the sake of review, this lecture will cover terms that define the nature of the debate.

 

For instance, Epistemology is the study of how we know what we know. Ontology is the study of the nature of being, whereas cosmology deals with the cause of being. This leads us to the first question that we must answer for ourselves and be prepared to communicate to the independent man. (1) Does God exist? For a believer that question is answered by faith in the Bible. “In the beginning God” is sufficient for us. What follows in the Bible is a continued revelation of Himself.

 

Our belief in God is “ a priori,” that is, knowledge that is absolutely independent of all experience. Knowledge which is empirically based on experience or synthetic knowledge is “a posteriori. We are grateful for supportive evidence and experience that clarifies our belief, but faith is first. Faith is also reasonable. That is, Hebrews 11:1 expresses, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” It is also the concept of Isaiah 1:18, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord, though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson they shall be as wool.”

 

A delightful exercise that might flow from this course is a search through the Bible for the texts that deal with reason and faith. One can hardly read the excellence of Romans and Hebrews without being impressed with the logical, factual and effective approaches taken by the author.

 

The second question (2) addresses the existence of evil. Why is it here in our universe? Who is responsible for the presence of sin? Is God the cause of sin? Someone has said that these are the wrong questions. He was not puzzled by the existence of evil but the existence of good. This should remind us that if we ask the wrong questions we will get the wrong answers.

 

Physician heal thyself

 

Since judgment should begin at home and we should cast the beam out of our own eye before looking to the speck in another’s eye, a couple of questions are in order. Shouldn’t the messenger take time to be prepared? This course has been about preparation of the mind, but the person defending truth should start with heart issues. Motive in our approach to Apologetics is everything. For instance, our reactions to the rejection of the message will tell us a lot.

 

Students often feel compelled to win arguments in class. Why is that? It could be they are not sure about their position. Perhaps they view themselves as the center of the issue. These and many more things are very telling and call for a checkup of the heart, the inner man.

 

The other issue is to be sure that we understand our own positions clearly and that those views rise from the Bible. Sunday School classes are places where many people express a lot of opinions as if they really knew what they were talking about. In reality they are often reading into the Bible what they think. What I believe is not as important as what the Scripture teaches. It is a serious thing to hold error; it is worse to attempt to prove it from Scripture, and terrible to try to pass it on to others.

 

Apologists for the truth must be comfortable that they are speaking from God’s point of view. The independent man is not dumb, he just holds erroneous views. If he catches the believer pretending or napping, you can be sure he will happily point it out. On the other hand, even an intellectual pagan will have to respect the person who says, “I don’t know the answer to that one.” If he thinks we are rewriting the Bible for God, he will quickly see that we serve the same god.

 

Students should review the subject of Logic and make sure that they are careful in their presentations. The best presentations are the simplest ones. Remember that our goal is to “simplify to clarify.”  Add to that the rule that “similarities are not equals.” A careless approach to your apologetic will cancel your effectiveness.

 

We should also summarize the matter of attitude in our defense of the faith. It is possible to say very strong things and express hard truth without anger. If someone gets the idea that you are glad they are going to hell, the door will close quickly. We live in the age of “sloppy agape.” Evangelicals often look like Liberals in this matter. Chapter 14 said, “It’s all about love.  That is one-sided and, therefore, without balance. There is no God of love if there is no God of justice. God does love, but He also hates. Our goal is to be like God: love what He loves and hate what He hates.

 

Churches are filled with this kind of error and it cancels their ability to be effective in communicating the Gospel and the surrounding truth of salvation. An article was sent our way entitled, “Let’s (not) just praise the Lord.” It was a play on a popular chorus as you could guess. This makes you wonder if anyone ever reads the words to songs before we sing them. We are imbalanced if we think all current music is bad, but music is a bad place to get your theology.

 

The prepared apologist is the most effective apologist.

 

Lesson Five Tuesday, Jun 3 2008 

Lecture Five

 

We are now approaching the end of the total rejection of God. Man in the place of God is a pitiful picture. He confesses that life has no meaning but then persists in man’s sovereign and independent state. But man does not appear to be as autonomous as it looks since his nature is determined by his environment or genes. The illusions extend to responsibility and free will. Finally, everything is relative, pluralistic and synchronistic.

 

It is both humorous and revealing that the independent man would say that “he is absolutely sure that there are no absolutes.” This is not a slip of the tongue, but a deep confession of where relativity leads. There is no such thing as values, morals, standards, faith, beliefs or truth itself. The position of the liberal view relative to history states this issue plainly. In concept it said that there is no real history. No one could ever write an accurate history so it is all flawed and we have nothing we could actually call history.

 

Men are animals

 

The foregoing tragic conclusion rises from the view that men are animals. They feed on each other. There is no love and so there need be no pity. There is no truth so there is no lie. That would mean that this mega-man could not tell the truth since there is none. In the preface your text quotes Rousseau: “Where is the philosopher who would not deceive the whole human race, without hesitation, for the sake of his own glory?”

 

This is our audience

 

There was a time when a believer could go to the door of a farm house in their agrarian society and everyone in the home believed in truth, hell, heaven, sin, God and the Bible. They may not have understood it but they had not denied it. With few exceptions that would have been the story of the majority of homes in that community. Often when the Gospel was given whole families would be saved in one evening. In small towns the majority of homes would have reflected a conservative response. That is not the case today. I doubt that anyone could fully demonstrate that the nation we live in is a Christian nation. That is unless of course we view faith and Christian as relative.

 

This course has given a clear picture of who we must reach with the Gospel. Once in a great while you will meet someone with tender and fertile heart and mind. In most cases however we have to understand the postmodern man. The media has staked out the biblical Christian as a whipping boy. Anything goes when believers are the target. The independent man decries “hate speech” unless it is being used against the worst enemy, biblical Christians.

 

Why is this attitude leveled at the true believer? Francis Schaeffer explains this on page 24 of the book I have recommended you read, How Should We Then Live, “Let us not forget why the Christians were killed. They were not killed because they worshiped Jesus… The reason Christians were killed was because they were rebels… First we can say they worshiped Jesus as God and they worshiped the infinite-personal God only. The Caesars would not tolerate this worshiping of the one God only. It was counted as treason.” 

 

The point of conflict

 

Evangelism demands that we explain that there is but one salvation and that there is one Savior. “Jesus said unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh to the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). This is absolutely unacceptable to the independent man.

 

This is where our apologetic begins. Today we must give the answer to those who have erased all that is above the line. How are we going to do that? The answer is that we must be skillfully confident in our defense of the faith. Our goal is not to win an argument; it is to dispense truth. Our work is not to change hearts and minds. It is to sow the seed and water it with our tears, but it is God who gives the increase.

 

One can only wonder if God has brought us to this place in history where we may not be able to brag so much about the notches on our “gospel gun.” Instead we must depend upon the Lord in our apologetic for and with the Gospel.

 

We witness to the human who has self-authority that rises from experience. He is filled with anxiety, dread, despair and meaninglessness. While communicating to such spiritually needy people we must not lose sight of the fact that the Gospel is what they need. With an eye to patience, it is what they want. That is what this course is about: Being an effective witness and making sure we understand how to do that.

Lesson Four Tuesday, Jun 3 2008 

Lecture Four

 

The chapters you are reading today focus on the main issue in rationalism. The goal of the philosophers was to destroy God. They attempt to do that by just saying, “There is no God,” and then attempt to explain what is where God is not. If that sounds confusing it is because that was their plan. Then the intellectual tries to explain how to get beyond the burden of religion.

 

Not only do they need to deny that God exists but they must destroy Christ. They blame him for the superstition in society and tell us that Science is the answer.

 

There are two books you should consider reading to assist your understanding of the historical process of destroying God. They are both in the bibliography of your syllabus. The first is: How Should We Then Live by Francis A. Schaeffer. On page 52 he described the painting by Raphael called, “The School of Athens.” Here the painter shows “Plato with one finger pointed upward, which means that he pointed toward absolutes or ideals. In contrast, he pictured Aristotle with his fingers spread wide and thrust down toward the earth, which means that he emphasized particulars.”

 

This showed the opposing views of faith and reason, universals and particulars. The give and take over the role of each of these continued in the slide toward relativism until the conclusion was reached there just was no God or absolutes. One wonders how this could have happened. Out of the many factors, Thomas Aquinas was a focal point. He followed the thinking of Aristotle but tried to bridge the two views. This was a tragic compromise because in the end the importance shifted to the lower rather than the higher.

 

This brings us back to our previous discussion. I suggest you take a piece of paper and draw a horizontal line. Keep this simple chart in your notebook. Above that line list everything you can think of that has to do with the heavenly, including what we have already studied. Below the line put those things that represent the physical or earthly.

 

Above the line you already have heaven, faith, grace, God, absolutes, universals, invisible, ideals, etc.

 

Below the line you already have particulars, physical objects, earth, visible, nature, creation, etc.

 

Now you cannot only see the tension but also understand what happens when the proper balance is upset.

 

Next it must be understood that all these things both over and under the line have religious significance. It is all about faith. Furthermore, everything in life relates to the view one holds about this ‘over and under’ concept. If you dismiss all that is over the line, your view will be different. That means that law, literature, art, medicine, music, even architecture, are affected.

 

Our present society is divided down the center. It has nothing to do with politics, or preferences. This is all about one’s view of God and man.

 

The current subjects

 

What we are reading in the text this week clearly illustrates all of the above. Chapter Eight and Nine describe that which is over the line as unconscious, primitive, superstitious, untenable, infantile and flawed. In other words, it is a total rejection of God and another view of faith. Under the line are mechanistic causation, human psychology, society and science.

 

One would think that this is a high view of man but in the end even that is not true. Since they have no authority base, all of this ends in despair. Man does not have an answer and therefore cannot find one that calms his being.

 

On the way to the college I pass a sign in someone’s front yard that reads, “War is not the answer.” That is more a confession than it is a statement. The person who rejects God hates war because he doesn’t understand what causes it. On the other hand, that person has no answer. Much of the material you are reading contains words that do not have the same meaning normally consigned to them. War may not be the best answer, but in history it ultimately was the only way to peace. Peace may be better than war, but peace is just a word until there is a directed action to bring it about. They would say war is not the answer; peace is. But what is peace? We suddenly realized the vacuum that the God-rejecter lives in. People who are pretending to have the answer are really crying for help.

 

Real Apologetics

 

That is what this course is really about: First understanding the Word of God and the Gospel, then understanding the mind and heart of those to whom we are going to give the answer. 

 

Book number two

 

The second book I would recommend you read is, Between Heaven and Hell, by Peter Kreeft. The author was a protégé of C.S Lewis, which helps us understand the setting of the book. Prologue: “On November 22, 1963, three great men died within a few hours of each other: C.S. Lewis, John F. Kennedy and Aldous Huxley. All three believed, in different ways, that death was not the end of human life.”

 

What the book does in a fictitious setting is suppose that all three men met somewhere between heaven and hell and had a conversation. The discussion opens wide our understanding of what I have described herein.

 

Read this book in some quiet place and contemplate the end of each view. 

Lesson Three Tuesday, Jun 3 2008 

Lecture Three

 

This week you are reading mega-idea five: “Man, Too Is an Animal.” In our God-given assignment to communicate Bible truth, this is a major issue. Almost everyone we know holds to this view. Obviously this is the Darwinian concept. The survival of the fittest may seem like a valid conclusion when one observes nature. That however is what happens when you separate God from nature (creation).

 

In your discussion question you have been asked to consider ways you would respond to human philosophies. Each of the mega-ideas in your text will require the same kind of response. It is not enough to be able to list some Scriptures to prove your point. What is needed is a systematic approach with truth so that your responses answer the real question that is being addressed.

 

This project then begins with where these mega-ideas came from. In fact, the mega-idea here has been part of human theory from the beginning.

 

A religious idea

 

The Scripture gives us a real view of man. Here we find his creation, fall, sin, his need and the answer, which is salvation in Christ. In these concepts it is clear who and what God is and who and what man is.

 

Man left to himself cannot and will not accept such an unreasonable religious view. If the God of the biblical Christian is accepted then man is not an animal left to chance. For that man then the only answer is to tamper with the view of God or to reject him outright. This is not as simple as it seems. The rejection of God takes many forms. This is what you will see as we progress in our reading of the texts.

 

Psalm fourteen begins with these words, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’.” The text actually reads, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘no God’.” Note that this is a religious decision. By faith the atheist has ruled out God. He has no scientific proof of this and in reality he does not really believe it. The apologist’s task is to expose such error. Note also that the text does not say, “has said with his lips.” The real error of the man who dismisses God is that the decision is made in his heart.

 

It seems to me that there are two kinds of atheists. (1) The “stated” atheists who say there is no God. These really represent a small number and a sad group of people. They have made their own religion without the sovereign creator-God. (2) The second kind of atheist is the “practical” one. Such atheists may not say there is no God, but they live as if there is no God. You can see that this includes most of the people you know. Many of them are members of our churches. A person is a fool who says or lives as if there is no God.

 

The point is that whoever has the last word is God. The final legislator, ruler and decision-maker is their god.  This then is a religious issue and that is why all of the mega-ideas you are studying in this course are religious points of view. That concept will make your task as a defender of the truth much easier to understand.

 

Two great religions

 

It is my view that there are only two categories of religions in the world. All religions fall into one of these two categories. Before you dismiss this as too simple, remember that this concept is clearly taught in the Bible. All of mankind fit into two groups. There are the saved and lost, righteous and unrighteous.

 

One of the things every student needs to learn is that the work of the apologist is to “simplify to clarify.” The tool of the foolish intellectual is to “complicate to confuse.” That is why they are “ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (II Timothy 3:7).

 

The two great religions are (1) Biblical Christianity and (2) ‘Humianity.’ Don’t waste your time on the spell check here. I made up that word. Don’t waste your time debating that because all words were made up by someone.

 

Biblical Christianity has as its authority the revealed Word of God. The God of biblical Christianity is the sovereign creator of all. Humianity has as its final authority human reason and their god is man. That makes all concepts in both religions religious views based on their faith.

 

The problem is that in practice there is no pure biblical Christianity. All of us are infected with some Humianity. One only has to visit one service of any church to see that human reason does exist there to the detriment of pure Christianity and, since we live in an imperfect world, this should be simple to see.

 

Finally, we can conclude that the idea that man is an animal is a religious idea that rises from human reason. That conclusion had to begin with the rejection of the sovereign creator-God. As we shall see, this is the end of the philosophical struggle of ideas between faith and reason.

Lesson Two Tuesday, Jun 3 2008 

Lecture Two

 

Our plan to study this course is to deal with several facets at the same time. That is why you are dealing with several subjects in different ways. Your discussion question deals with one of three issues you are reading about; your response paper deals with another; an additional note will deal with the background of Apologetics, and this lecture covers the other issue in your reading. With this in mind, what we are doing is allowing your study to blend all of this information at the same time.

 

While reading the text one must have a strong impression that they are reading a text on Liberalism. In fact, the author does indeed describe this system of thought that we face everyday.

 

Chapter Four in your text is titled, “Man is Good by Nature but Corrupted by Society.” Several of your assignments will allow you to pit these theories against the Bible. It is obvious that this particular view flies in the face of the book of Romans. Man is not good by nature and it is true he is corrupted by society, but that is not the root problem.

 

The system of thought that has produced such concepts is flawed because of its view of man and God. In fact, their conclusion in the matter makes man god. If it appears to the reader that these intellectuals are constantly apologizing for man, given his failure, you are right. This is blame-shifting and is exactly like what happened in the garden of Eden at the fall of man.

 

The condition of man

 

Adam was created in a state of untested innocence. He had not sinned but was capable of it. In the fall however he became totally depraved. He was affected by the fall socially, mentally, morally, spiritually and physically. He died spiritually and then possessed a sin nature and, therefore, therefore, became a sinner by act. Like our father Adam, we all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. All of us in this class were born in sin, possess a sinful nature, and have sinned. It is true that we are open to sin through the world, the flesh, and the devil, but that is not the root of our sin.

 

This certainly does not sound like what you read in chapter four of the text. While it is also true that man has worth, it does not mean he is worthy of what he needs as to forgiveness, holiness and salvation. One does not have to look far in our society to see the philosophies described in the text. They are everywhere in the media, entertainment, business, government and courts. What is stunning is the presence of these concepts in the churches. Our first response would be to describe the existence of these man-centered views in the liberal church. The sad truth is that these ideas have taken root in most of the evangelical and fundamental churches in America. All this is far too obvious in the current “marketing the church” movement. Here we have selling the Gospel, feel good theology; with all that rises from man-centered philosophies.

 

The positive side of it all

 

The marvelous thing about all of this is the power of truth. The truth that resides in the Word of God. That is the challenge of this course: learning to retrieve that information, learning to understand it, and finally communicating it. Later on in this course we will practice using this apologetic. Answering challenges from Scripture provides a deep confidence for the believer and that is the goal of this course.

 

Illustration

 

There is a debate about recognizing counterfeits. Some argue that one only needs to know the real and then counterfeits will stand out. Testing this in a military situation explains why knowing the enemy is so important. The believer needs to know the condition of the real world. This is a lost art in Evangelicalism. Students need to know the thought-process of those who err. It is only then that they can test their grasp of the truth that rises from Holy Writ. This is not to say our goal is to create those who can argue well. We really seek those who can communicate, explain, and answer with biblical truth sufficiently to silence the folly of men.

 

 

 

 

Lesson One Tuesday, Jun 3 2008 

In a changing society Christians continue to struggle with the ability to communicate the Gospel. This course is constructed in such a manner as to assist the believer in an effective presentation of the message that God has given. The Bible is the revelation of God himself. It is the very Word of God and requires of us the best we can give in passing on the absolute truth contained in it.

 

At the beginning

 

With this in mind, it is essential that we ask questions about the truth found in the Bible that we are required to transfer to those around us. To do this we must begin with some questions.

 

(1)            How did the truth get in the Bible? This question is answered clearly in II Timothy 3:16 and II Peter 1:20, 21. God used inspiration to accomplish this. Of course he used human writers but supervised the writing in such a manner that it was “God-breathed.” The writers were “borne along” in such a way that the material was of no private interpretation. That is how God’s truth entered the Bible.

 

(2)            The second question is: How can we get the truth back out of the Bible? Inspiration is limited to the original manuscripts, but the Holy Spirit is active in the process of retrieving that truth. In I Corinthians 2:13, 14 we find the Spirit as the Teacher and Illuminator of Scripture. His oversight is such that correct interpretation will allow the truth to come from the Scriptures in a trustworthy manner.

 

This process requires that certain rules be followed to ensure that we avoid private interpretation. In fact, if everyone would use the same rules for biblical interpretation, or a hermeneutic, everyone would arrive at the same conclusion.

 

How can we know what those rules are? The answer is that they are self-revealing; that is, they rise from Scripture.

 

Grammatical Interpretation. All literature must be understood in the grammar relating to the language in which it was written. So the grammatical rules and language usage of Hebrew (some Aramaic) and Greek are needed.

 

Contextual Interpretation. All literature is set in a context and for the original meaning to be kept it must be understood in its context, both macro and micro.

 

Historical Interpretation. All literature is written in a historical setting. The Bible can only be understood by accurately reviewing the setting of the text at the time of writing.

 

Literal Interpretation. All literature is expected to be literal unless the text reveals that it is poetry or fiction. While this is greatly misunderstood by some, the fact is that all Scripture must be viewed as literal. We expect the text to mean what it says. If the text tells us we have symbol or a picture that is literally what the text says. We let the text speak for itself. The interpreter has not right to the use of an allegorical system or a spiritualization of the text.

 

The Glory of God. The great centerpiece of the Scripture is not man but God. The primary subject and goal of all the Bible is the Glory of God. If this is first, all other things will follow. All other systems of interpretation are man-made and prevent the truth from rising out of the Scripture.

A Hermeneutical Summary

 

The one system of biblical interpretation that comes directly from scripture is the normal, ordinary, plain, consistent (literal) hermeneutic. The rules that the text requires you to use are grammatical, contextual and historical. The end result is the Glory of God.

 

The backdrop of Apologetics

 

The first step to an effective apologetic is a biblical hermeneutic. (1) This is the system by which we discover the truth in the Word of God. (2) What then follows is the discovery of truth and a theological content that leads to a system for theology. (3) Once these two are in place we are faced with the issue of how to utilize truth. That would mean: how to communicate this truth. That is, a practical view of apologetics is a system of communication.

 

This discipline is not meant to be only an intellectual exercise. It is not about quick tongues that can win debates. Apologetics is a process and system for the purpose of passing the truth of God’s Word to others. This is a skill to which all effective witnesses of the Gospel need to give attention. In the end, however, the believer must depend upon the Holy Spirit in transferring this life-giving message.

 

It is true that our communication of truth means that we share “the whole counsel of God” with others. Foundationally, it seems the Gospel is the centerpiece of this task. We may fail to convince someone about baptism, and that might end in disobedience. To fail in communicating the Gospel has eternal consequences.

 

Further definition

 

Apologetics is about communicating truth. It is also about defending truth. You will find this issue in many of the things you will read for this class. Apologetics is not a new concept, neither is the use of the word. To give an answer is also an apologetic.

 

The Bible uses the Greek word, apologia. gives some insight through the context of use. Acts 19:33; 22:1; 24:10; 25:8; 25:16; 26:1, 2 are just some of the places that illustrate this. These also demonstrate how this tool was used in biblical settings.

 

System of thought

 

Much of this course includes an attempt to understand how people think. The history of thought and the underlying conflict of thought are here as well. The reason for this emphasis, such as demonstrated in the text you are reading, is that all of the mega-ideas described are existent in society today.

 

Finally, the historical debate between “faith and reason” is primary as we set out to answer the world before us. The debate between the centrality of God and man is not new nor is the one between grace and nature. They all fall into the same genre. You will in the end of this course be able to access properly the ‘over and under’ concept that contrasted the views of Plato and Aristotle. We need to understand this because that is what you will face when you go out into the marketplace today to communicate the Gospel.