Christian Apologetics Free Course 07, Lesson 1
The Tools of Christian Apologetics, Lesson 1
Every person who is interested in Christian Apologetics has surely read one or more articles and books on apologetic topics. All of them generally delve directly into refuting error or expounding the truth, or both. However, almost none of them try to introduce the tools and techniques to be used by apologists. In fact, they do not even mention that there are tools.
Most books on Apologetics do not discuss the tools because of historical reasons. So far most attacks coming against the Christian faith could be handled without any specialized tools. The attacks were mostly general and the counterattacks also could be kept at the general level, so that almost any motivated apologist could handle the job without detailed and specific study or preparation. Tools devoted to the specific task of Apologetics were not a pressing need. However, this scenario started changing from the nineteen fifties onwards.
The nineteen fifties saw the rise of highly organized opposition to the Christian faith. The opponents formed numerous organizations worldwide, launched many bulletins, magazines, and journals, and began capturing key Christian seminaries and publishing houses. Even one of the key persons in the United Bible Societies was almost an atheist, and published his testimony in a book titled, “Leaving The Fold”. The book was released by Prometheus, the largest atheist publishing house in the world. Many large and aggressive rationalist and atheist
publishing houses and book clubs also sprang up around the world. This was also a time when techniques of propaganda, mind-manipulation, and debating were pressed into service against the Christian faith, and highly refined for this task.
The coming together of all these movements resulted in a synergy against the Bible and the Christian movement. This combination gave them great insights and helped them to refine the methodology of attacking the Bible. Instead of using general attacks, they became more specific. Using the insights gained from studies of propaganda techniques, methods to harness mass-movements, fuzzy-logic, and numerous other techniques, they started attacking the Christian faith in a more sophisticated way.
The last half of the twentieth century saw the rise of specialization in every field of science, technology, and social sciences. The tools used also became refined and sophisticated and this refinement and sophistication became the norm in anti-Christian movements of this period. Radicals, rationalists, and atheists developed specialized fields, techniques, and tools for attacking the Christian faith. Communist propagandists from the former USSR, China, and other Marxist countries greatly helped to refine and consolidate the techniques. Only an equal level of sophistication and specialization in the Apologetic camp could meet this new wave of assault.
For example, Prometheus, a publishing-house for atheist and radical books, has widely promoted many of their techniques and strategies through books like The Atheist Debater’s Handbook, The Encyclopedia of Biblical Errancy, etc. Written by experts in the art of debating an average apologist would stagger before the techniques and strategies presented in these books. Detailed and in-depth analyses of similar works have been refining these Tools Of Apologetics for more than two decades.
Just as there is a time-gap between the appearance of new diseases and an effective treatment or antidote, there was a gap between the refined attack from the anti-Christian establishment and the Christian apologists. This is why most books on apologetics at the turn of the twenty-first century do not talk about the tools of apologetics. Tools only began to emerge in the nineteen eighties, and will take some more decades to become widely talked about. The first attempt to develop specific tools was made by Dr. Johnson C. Philip of Calvin Research Group. In the 1980s he started an analysis of the sophisticated techniques used by the radicals and rationalists. He also searched through the techniques used and proposed by Apologists before him. In the early 1980s he published the results of these analyses and proposed effective tools and strategies for counter-attack through a large number of publications. Over the years he refined these tools and strategies further, based upon extensive reading and analysis of techniques used by radical and atheists. Input was given by other apologists worldwide.
The tools and strategies presented here are the result of all these refinements. Why use Tools? Much can be done in any field without any tool or without proper tools. For example, a stone can be used to drive in nails, or a different heavy tool can also be used to do the same. But the efficiency takes a quantum leap when a hammer of the proper size and shape is used for the same job. Similar is the situation in Christian Apologetics.
When a question or attack using a specific strategy is brought against the Christian faith, Apologists without proper tools can take a stand and do something, but they will never be able to refute error and support the Bible efficiently. The more discerning inquirers will not be satisfied if the Apologists’ approach lacks efficiency. Thus the use of tools is essential for effectiveness. This is seen frequently these days in public debates and discussion fora where everybody tries to play an apologist, only to be humiliated by opponents of truth who are well prepared. It is not Truth that loses, but carelessness. But Truth does suffer because of it.