Christian Apologetics Free Course 07, Lesson 2
The Tools of Christian Apologetics, Lesson 2
Introduction To The Tools: Close to ten tools have been developed and refined so far. Two more are under development. We shall briefly mention the developed tools here and then readers can study the tools in depth by going to the write-up on each individual tool.
While the Tools of Apologetics can be studied in any order, it would benefit Christian Apologists more if they study them in the order in which we have arranged them, because each builds on principles and insights previously taught, and if they are studied in the proper order, one’s ability to understand and use them is maximized.
One of the first tools you should study is known as “Analysis of Errors of Interpretation”. It deals with Bible interpretation. Each book needs to be interpreted in the light of the culture in which it was written and the values which it reflects. More so with a book like the Bible, which reflects values and attitudes totally at variance with the common secular values and attitudes. What’s more, it records the customs and culture of hundreds of different people-groups over 4000 years of history. Many objections raised against the Bible are deeply rooted in thinking totally contrary to the Bible, which is what the secular mind does. These errors are analyzed and exposed with the help of this tool.
Many who attack the Bible, such as the Cultists, Muslims, and Occultists, interpret select passages of the Bible to mean what they wish them to mean. They always present their claims with such clever and believable interpretation of Biblical passages that even mature believers are not able to counter these arguments easily. Such is the level to which deliberate misinterpretation has been refined.
Many Christian writers, the most notable being James W. Sire, have explored the depths of deliberate misinterpretation or Scripture Twisting. These observations are presented in a more refined and accessible manner in the tool known as “Analysis of Scripture Twisting”.
Scripture Twisting and Errors of Interpretation often look as though they are one and the same, but they are different. True, some of their outcomes are similar, but only some, not all. This is because Scripture Twisting is always deliberate and subtle, while errors of interpretation are often unintentional and more crude. The former is used by clever debaters while the latter is used by all kinds of anti-Christian elements.
Apologists need to know both, and they should counter with appropriate strategies. A common method of attacking the Bible is to focus on what can be called “Bible difficulties”. For example, some may want to know who Cain’s wife was, while another person may ask how many times Peter denied Jesus. Yet another person may ask whether Jesus was really in the grave for three days and three nights.
What they wish to imply is that if Cain married his sister, the Bible endorses incest; since Peter seems to have denied more than three times Jesus lied; if Jesus were buried on Friday He could not have been in the grave for three days and three nights as stipulated. In turn they imply that the Bible is full of errors and contradictions, and therefore it cannot be a divinely inspired book. This problem is handled with the tool that we call “Analyzing Bible Difficulties”.
While almost all Christians can try their hands at tackling Bible difficulties, they will soon be worn out and will make mistakes if they do not approach the problem methodically. This tools comes to their help in this matter. Instead of handling each and every difficulty [which never seem to come to an end], this tools helps the Apologist to handle them in a small number of categories and deal effectively even with the most determined opponent.
Today we live in an era saturated with science and technology. Everyone is dazzled by the daily reports of scientific developments and breakthroughs. Critics of the Bible are quick to use this veneration of science to harness science against the Bible.
While most educated people can answer some of these objections, nobody can adequately handle all the science-based objections without preparation. Science is a highly specialized activity, and it has become highly complex from the twentieth to twenty-first centuries.
Attacks against the Bible using science are handled with the tool and strategy known as “Analysis of Scientific Information”. This tool in our Tools Series will help even a person without a formal science background to hold the fort against those who attack.
Of the various divisions of science or scientific knowledge, the most fundamental ones are called the Normative Sciences. These lay down the qualitative and quantitative norms and standards for objective evaluation and deduction of information. Mathematics and Logic are the most important Normative sciences.
Aesthetics and Ethics are also Normative Sciences, but being related to non-physical entities, it is difficult to understand or define them with the precision of Mathematics and Logic. Of the Normative Sciences, Logic is important to arrive at right and valid deduction on any subject whether it be Physical Science, the social sciences, or even Bible Interpretation. Logic and its rules need to be followed in a strictly laid down Protocol if these deductions are to be valid. However, it is easy to err in Logic in any discussion. This can happen randomly, due to ignorance, or even due to the complexity of the topic under discussion. Worse, debaters and propagandists can deliberately mislead people using fallacious logic, and the audience will not even dream that it is being led into a bottomless pit of logical errors.