12 October 2008
Apologetics is devotional, worshipful, and radically sanctifying…
…if it’s done properly.
Most Christians find that statement surprising. Christians tend to respond to challenges to their faith by succumbing to one of two temptations. On the one hand, the gung-ho debaters among us seize on the opportunity to score a few points on the forces of unbelief, and there are some serious temptations that go with that. These folks, however, are only a tiny minority — and even they wouldn’t normally describe their experience as devotional and worshipful.
Then there’s everyone else — those who dread a serious challenge to their faith. These are the people who get past the local freethinkers’ society table at the county fair by walking fast and not making eye contact, who respond to Jehovah’s Witnesses at the door by pretending that nobody’s home, who retreat from serious discussion with a skeptical friend by saying “I don’t know how I know it’s true — I Read the rest of this entry »
15 July 2008
It seemed appropriate to add a little more about the nature of my approach to apologetics, since what we’ll be doing is a little uncommon.
My basic orientation on apologetics is that it’s all of a piece with theology, evangelism, and culture. Having a gleefully Christian take on everything from anchovy migration patterns to Zulu cooking is an integral part of defending the faith, not to mention a very persuasive witness in itself. Of course, no one person can know about everything, so learning how to construct a Christian approach to the subject at hand is terribly important.
Read the rest of this entry »
13 July 2008
A local church here has agreed to host a four-week series on apologetics, taught by yours truly and starting this coming Friday (18 July), 7-9 pm in Orange, CA. Sorry about the short notice; we just got the details nailed down Friday night.
I’m titling the series “Biblical Apologetics for Busy Believers.” A rough, and tentative, outline follows:
Session 1: Start with God (Genesis 1-3) — All thinking must start with God, and the nature of God’s claims is such that no one can be neutral. A Christian must always begin with this understanding; to fail to start everything with God’s revelation is to make the same mistake that Eve made in the Garden of Eden. (As an example, we’ll consider a Christian response to the claim that there’s no good historical evidence for Jesus.)
Session 2: Without Excuse (Romans 1) — Unbelief has no excuse whatsoever; the unbeliever really does know the Christian God. To the extent that he refuses to acknowledge the triune God of the Bible, his Read the rest of this entry »
13 July 2008
If you’re looking for encyclopedic, facts-and-figures resources, there’s a ton of them on the market, and Josh McDowell’s material is still some of the best. A recent publication, Evidence for Christianity, combines and updates the evidential material from a number of previous works, and that’s the one I’d recommend, if you haven’t already got a few of McDowell’s works on the shelf.
Facts and figures are important, but in this post I want to address resources for how you use them. McDowell was never the best source for this — he’s more of the “make a bigger pile” school of thought. Until very recently, all the really good basic instruction on how to use the facts was on audio, but there wasn’t a book that did the job effectively and accessibly. Gary DeMar at American Vision has changed all that by transcribing and editing a series of talks Greg Bahnsen did for high school and college students back in the early nineties. The resulting book, Pushing the Antithesis: The Apologetic Methodology of Greg L. Bahnsen, is a gem. It’s accessible, relatively simple, and it has study questions at the end of each chapter. It’s also a little spendy, but it’s worth it. Bahnsen’s other basic book, Always Ready: Directions for Defending the Faith, is cheaper, but it’s a set of course syllabi edited together by Robert Booth. It’s much denser, and because the material was designed to be accompanied by live instruction, it’s much harder to plow through without help. Thanks to Pushing the Antithesis, the necessary help is now available in print.
Read the rest of this entry »