The Kuyperian Commentary

Politics, Economics, Culture, and Theology with a Biblical Viewpoint

Archive for the tag “Apologetics”

A Prologue to Apologetics: A Layman’s Introduction to Presuppositionalism, Part II

Part I

In my first post on this Prologue to Apologetics series, I spoke about of the “big picture” of redemption. Now, admittedly, I left a number of things out. There’s only so much one can say in one sitting. Here I’ll expand on what I covered there: a biblical understanding of humans. First, it is of utmost important to note that humankind was created in the image of God. What does the image mean? Well, for one thing, it means we’re finite reflections of God. Of course, one could always ask, what does that mean? The biblical account highlights (among other things) two important notions that define the image of God. First, like God, we are to rule over creation, under God’s authority, and secondly, we are to fill the earth with more images of the creator. In theological terms, this is called Dominion and Dynasty. Much like the earthly rulers at the time of Moses who erected statues, or images, of themselves to represent their rule in their respective domains, God also placed images of Himself on the earth, to represent His rule.

The Tragedy of the Fall

Those who were to represent the divine King of the universe, the ones that were to fill the earth with godly offspring, were the very ones that cast off this honor and responsibility. The entire design of God’s creation is flipped on its head. The authority structure of God –> Adam –> Eve –> animal world is reversed. The serpent deceives Eve, Adam follows his wife, and then blames God! The entrance of sin into God’s good world is likewise described as the reversal of His design in Rom. 1:18-32. Scripture pulls no punches in describing the radical corruption of sin in the hearts of fallen humanity: mankind is evil from its youth (Gen. 8:21), has a heart that is deceitful above all things (Jer. 17:9), and loves darkness rather than light (John 3:19). We also find that their minds and consciences are corrupted (Titus 1:15), that they are by nature children of wrath (Eph. 2:3), of their father the devil (1 John 3:10), and sons of disobedience (Eph. 2:1).

Now we see the clarity of Jesus’ words in John 3, “That which is born of flesh is flesh” (v. 6). The natural, unregenerate, rebel sinner absolutely cannot, nor wills to become a regenerate, spiritual, servant of a holy God. We aggressively try to escape our design. Without a doubt, not one likes to hear this. But, we shouldn’t obscure what God has made clear. The instrumental reason that any person has ever had saving faith in, and love for, Christ is because of the gracious work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of God’s people. To state it in biblical terms, God’s removes the unrepentant sinner’s heart of stone and replaces it with a heart of flesh (Ezek. 36:26).

Why mention this in a prologue to apologetics? I’m convinced that unless the Christian has a biblically defined understanding of the unbeliever that he will ultimately develop an apologetic method that is not pleasing to our Lord. If you don’t know who you’re talking to, you won’t know how to address them. Read more…

A Prologue to Apologetics: A Layman’s Introduction to Presuppositionalism, Part I

Introduction

Both apologetics and evangelism have the same goal. Both witness to the truth of God’s word in Scripture to unbelievers. Both the evangelist and the apologist desire to be an instrument through which God powerfully draws a non-Christian to see and savor his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet, in distinction from evangelism, apologetics seeks to defend Christianity against various attacks from unbelieving thought, whether religious or secular. Apologetics is a term derived from the Greek word apologia. This word refers to a defense, a reason for holding some conviction. In 1 Peter 3:15 the Apostle states, “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” An ever-present danger in this field of study is that of defending or ‘proving’ the existence of a generically defined God, what I’ll call ‘theism in general.’

We need to allow the conclusions drawn from biblical study and exegesis to set the parameters of how we go about defending our faith. We must present to those whom we wish to evangelize God as He testifies to Himself in the Bible. God has given us valuable, life-giving, information, and we shouldn’t edit his word. Any God other than the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is an idol. So, if the Bible teaches a Trinitarian God, then we should settle for nothing less than persuading our listeners of that conviction.

In this introduction of apologetics we should cut the ‘apologetic pie’ into at least two pieces: defensive and offensive apologetics. Defensive apologetics is the apologist’s attempt to respond to attacks against the truth or/and rationality of the Christian faith. Offensive apologetics seeks to demonstrate the rationality, coherence, beauty, and truth of the biblical worldview. It presents positive reasons, and not simply defenses, why our listeners should adopt the Christian worldview as opposed to all the other philosophies of life available to them.

In summary, we’ve quickly looked at three things. First, apologetics is the form of Christian witness that seeks to engage in both rational defense as well as present rational proof for the truth of Christianity. Second, Christian apologetics, in order for it to be worth its salt, needs to defend Christianity as it’s presented in Scripture, not a generic, or possibly watered-down fashion that makes it easier for the unbeliever to accept. And last, the practice of apologetics can take one of two forms, defensive and offensive apologetics. The former “blocks” attacks against the faith, and the latter constructively builds a case for the Christian worldview.

The message of the apologist

Now that we’ve drawn a quick sketch of the discipline of apologetics, let’s take a quick look at what Scripture says about “the big picture.” After all, we need to know what it is that we’re called upon to present and defend. Here are a couple of notable points:

The ultimate purpose of God in history is to display His own beauty, majesty, and glory throughout the nations for His own exaltation and the good of His people. While mankind was created morally upright and pleasing to God, the sin of our first parents (Adam and Eve) has destroyed the fellowship that was enjoyed in the Garden of Eden. When our first parents rebelled they lost, and therefore could not pass on to us, that which would promote peace and joy with God, that crucial aspect of divine-human interaction, namely spiritual life. The results of the Fall had cosmic repercussions. Sickness, decay, ‘natural’ disasters, and death have affected us all in one way or another. On the individual level sin has ravaged us at our very core, the image of God that we bear. Since in one way or another we reflect who God is in everything we are (this is what is means to be created in God’s image), a defacing of this image likewise taints every aspect of our being. Our mind, will, and emotions are all effected in such a fashion that we now are quite comfortable in exalting just about anything to the status of godhood, whether that be self, money, image, sex, or power.

God is not pleased. We were created in order to reflect and echo His beauty, to “love God and enjoy him forever.” As rebels against His purposes, slandering His character and using His image to misrepresent Him, we must be punished; and rightly so. Since God is an infinite being, the very fountainhead and supreme standard for goodness and love, then to despise, revile, and reject Him is an equally infinite crime; it is cosmic treason!

Yet (thankfully!) God has not left us in this dismal state. God chiefly asks but one thing of us, obedient childlike trust. As the One who created both us and the universe around us God knows exactly what it is that we need. We can liken God to a doctor who knows just what ails us and provides life to all who would follow His prescription. Unfortunately mankind has decided either 1) we’re not really diseased, or 2) we’re not really that diseased and can help ourselves. We can’t follow either one of these paths. We trust not only in God’s diagnosis but also His cure. We look to the perfect life, which demonstrated the truth of God’s supreme value and worth, and to the punishment-absorbing death of Jesus Christ, the Jewish Carpenter who walked the dusty roads of Palestine two thousand years ago.

It is our firm belief that in the Bible, God speaks to us of only one way of connecting our cancer to His cure, namely a loving and trusting reliance upon the completed work and guidance of God’s only unique Son, Jesus Christ.

Guest Post by Joe Torres. Mr. Torres earned an M.A. in Christian Thought at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. He blogs at KingdomView

Audio Series: How to Read the Bible for the First Time…Again

Just this past weekend (04/22/2013), Steve Jeffery, minister of Emmanuel Evangelical Church in Southgate, North London, England, hosted a colloquium for those who wish to experience the Word of God with new eyes.
The event featured special guest speaker Reverend James B Jordan, director of Biblical Horizons and soon to be joining Dr. Peter J Leithart at the Trinity House Institute for Biblical, Liturgical, & Cultural Studies in Birmingham, AL, who gave a four-part lecture entitled How to Read the Bible for the First Time…Again. Read more…

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