Apologetics

A Brief Summary of Presuppositional Apologetics

Many people have maybe heard of what is called presuppositional apologetics but have little idea what it actually is. This situation is made worse because some defenders of the Faith are labeled presuppositional but, in fact, aren’t. So how should I describe it?

The first thing I would say is that although I personally have few problems with it, “presuppositionalism” is not perhaps the best name for the approach. A more preferable title would be something like “theological apologetics.”

Nevertheless, we are stuck with the name so we better understand what we mean by it. In this approach a “presupposition” is not just a prior assumption which one brings to a problem. It is not, e.g., supposing that the Bible is God’s Word and seeing where that gets you. This only makes your presupposition a “hypothetical,” not a necessary stance. But a “presupposition” here means an “ultimate heart commitment” to some interpretation and explanation of reality.

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Communicating Biblical Worldview to Millennials & iGens (Part 3)

Read Part 1 and Part 2.

Conclusion: The Taste and See Apologetic

Psalm 34:8 invites the reader (or listener) to “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” In the context David recounts how God had delivered him from something he deeply feared, and he calls upon those who know God to exalt Him. The Psalm is a rich testimony of the faithfulness of God in the lives of those who depend on Him.

While it addresses “saints” (34:9), and is thus not inherently evangelistic, the theme, content, and delivery fits well Peter’s apologetic paradigm from 1 Peter 3:15. It certainly offers an account of the hope that was within the Psalmist. Again, even though David addresses saints in the near context, his invitation to “taste” in verse 8 implies that his intended audience in the immediate context had not yet tasted.

It is fitting, I think, to draw a secondary application of Psalm 34:8, suggesting that such an invitation would be fitting for an apologetic/evangelistic encounter – especially in engaging the common sentiments of Millennials and iGens.

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Communicating Biblical Worldview to Millennials & iGens (Part 2)

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Applying Peter’s & Paul’s Communication Model to Millennials & iGens

“We report, you decide.” It’s a slogan from a popular news outlet that positions itself as different from other agenda-driven media by its “fair and balanced” posture. How successful this network has been is a matter of debate, of course, but the formula is actually a good one for another mode of communication — especially for the emerging and distinct audience of the 21st century. In order to understand how that formula is especially fitting of this generation, we need a bit of context on how this present generation came to think that way it thinks. So let’s look back.

Following World War II and the culminating failure of the modern project, postmodernism rejected the idea of a grand narrative as a guide for humanity and culture. More specifically, postmodernism dismissed the modern metanarrative that discovery and technology would lead humanity to a utopian future. Technology had not succeeded in ushering in a golden age, instead it brought on the wings of the Enola Gay the most effective device for mass destruction the world had ever seen.

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Communicating Biblical Worldview to Millennials & iGens (Part 1)

Presented to the 2017 Calvary University Pastors’ Conference on Apologetics, Calvary University, Kansas City, April 20, 2017.

Biblical Models for Communicating Truth to the Unversed

Peter provides the only direct apologetic mandate in Scripture,1 reminding his readers in 1 Peter 3:15 to “sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.” The word translated defense is the Greek apologia, and it references a justification of a position or an argument upon which basis a position is to be preferred. Peter was talking to regular believers, challenging them to (1) have the proper perspective of and response to Christ, (2) to be always prepared to give an apologia, (3) in response to those who ask, (4) specifically providing an account for the hope within them, (5) with gentleness and reverence.

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The Apologetic Value of Paul's Epistles

(About this series)

CHAPTER IX — THE APOLOGETIC VALUE OF PAUL’S EPISTLES

BY REV. E. J. STOBO, JR., B. A., S. T. D., SMITH’S FALLS, ONTARIO, CANADA

“Paul is the greatest literary figure in the New Testament; round him all its burning questions lie.” “There is nothing more certain in ancient literature than the authorship of the more important of the Pauline epistles.” These utterances of Dr. Fairbairn in his “Philosophy of the Christian Religion” bring us face to face with the apologetic value of the writings of the Apostle to the Gentiles. The oldest Pauline epistle is divided by little more than twenty years from the death of Christ, and by a still shorter interval from the Epistle to the Hebrews and Apocalypse; so that Paul’s interpretation of the Christ has a distinct bearing upon the Gospels and later Christian literature.

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Answering Objections about the Problem of Evil & Suffering (Part 4)

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A Christian Answer to the Problem of Evil & Suffering

The Christian answer to the problem of evil and suffering begins with God himself. When we have a proper view of God, the apparent problems begin to melt away.

God’s Nature

First, God is the standard for his actions—whatever he does defines concepts of justice, goodness, love, and mercy. Too many times the supposed problem of the justice of God begins when we mistakenly believe that there is some standard of justice that stands above God and to which God’s actions must conform. Such a view reflects the philosophy of the ancient Greek philosopher, Plato. In reality, however, God is ultimate and his character sets the standard for what justice is. We can’t do all that God does, because of our limited knowledge and creatureliness, but God can do as he pleases and whatever he does is just.

Second, some people believe that God needs to justify certain actions recorded in Scripture. However, Scripture makes it clear that God does not need to defend his actions to us. He does not defend himself for giving Adam a wife who led him into sin (Gen. 3:12), or when he tells Abraham to sacrifice Isaac (Gen. 22), or when Job wants answers for his apparent unjust suffering (Job 23:1-7; 31:35ff; 40:4-42:6). God is the sovereign Almighty Lord who does what he pleases (Psalm 115:3; 135:6; Eccl. 8:3) and owes no one an explanation (Rom. 9:19-21).

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Answering Objections about the Problem of Evil & Suffering (Part 3)

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Non-Christian Answers to the Problem of Evil & Suffering

Several other attempts have been made to address evil and suffering in our world.

1. Non-Reality of Evil View

Some Eastern religions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism, deny that evil and suffering are any more than an illusion. By denying that evil and suffering are real, they attempt to avoid any dilemma between the deities in charge of the world and the way the world is. The problem for this view, however, is that the experience of suffering is universal and undeniable. Additionally, these same Eastern religions seek to end oppression and alleviate the very suffering that they deny exists. This is clearly self-refuting.

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Answering Objections about the Problem of Evil & Suffering (Part 2)

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The Problem Stated

Those who see an irreconcilable conflict between an all-powerful, all-loving God and evil and suffering in the world do so with several arguments. Some ask the thought-provoking question, “Couldn’t God have made a world in which evil and suffering don’t exist?” This is a troubling question, because the answer is certainly, “Yes.” As we will see later, this doesn’t mean that God is unjust, but this question does have a strong emotional impact.

Others argue, “I would never hurt my children needlessly, so why does God? If God is not even better than me, why should I worship Him?” This is an argument by analogy. By comparing human parenting to the Creator God’s relation to the world, these people use a well-known experience to evaluate a deeply spiritual and philosophical problem. Certainly, a parent-child relationship ought to be marked by gentleness, kindness, and protection from harm. If God cannot even live up to basic human expectations, how can He be worshiped?

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