Christian Apologetics Free Course 02, Lesson 7

Christian Apologetics Free Course 02, Lesson 7

Presupposition and Classification In Apologetics

Branches Of Christian Apologetics

board-96597_640Christian Apologetics is not a narrow subject that deals with the Bible and science alone, but is a vast subject with several branches dealing with various opposing views against the Christian faith.

As learning increases, opponents of the Christian faith continue to present an ever widening array of questions against the Bible.  Thus the task of the Christian Apologist also keeps widening, with new topics coming into prominence in each generation. The hundreds of topics that today constitute Christian Apologetics can be classified into the following broad categories, with each of them having several sub categories.

  • Philosophical/Theological Apologetics
  • Historical/Legal Apologetics
  • Rational/Scientific Apologetics
  • Interdisciplinary Apologetics

Consideration of each of the above groups is helpful. More detailed discussion is presented in the following chapters.

Philosophical/Theological Apologetics: Many attacks against the Christian faith are philosophical in nature. Erroneous philosophy can be countered only with right philosophy, and thus the need for philosophical apologetics. Theological apologetics begins with an analysis of worldviews, and then proceeds to other aspects of non-Christian philosophies.

Philosophies against the Bible can be divided into four categories: theistic, atheistic, occultic and non-theistic philosophies. The major groups that fall into these four categories are listed below

THEISTIC PHILOSOPHIES: Groups holding theistic philosophies include Hinduism (made up of at least six different philosophies), Islam, Jainism (some branches), Buddhism (some branches), Taoism, Shintoism, Sikhism, Bahai, Zoroastrianism, Christian Cults, Non-Christian Religious Cults, and many Occult Cults.

ATHEISTIC PHILOSOPHIES: Groups holding atheistic philosophies include Hinduism (the materialistic philosophy), Jainism, Buddhism, Rationalism, Atheism, Secular Humanism, Nihilism, Marxism, and Existentialism.

OCCULTIC PHILOSOPHIES: Groups holding occultic philosophies include Animism, Tantric Philosophies, Ancestor Worship, New Age Movement, Rosicrucianism, many of the Holistic Healing Systems, Satanism, Spiritism, Devil’s Church, etc.

NON-THEISTIC PHILOSOPHIES: Non-theistic philosophies neither affirm nor deny the existence of God. However, many non-theistic philosophies tend to be atheistic. The notable ones are Theosophy, Agnosticism, and Nihilism.

Philosophy is important for gaining insight, but is not a tangible subject like physical science. Consequently, philosophical arguments can be unnecessarily prolonged. Since philosophy-based discussions are easier than science and technology-based discussions, many Christian apologists confine themselves to philosophical apologetics. Self-taught lay people may also find philosophical apologetics an easier area than the more technical types of apologetics.

Philosophical apologetics was prominent in the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth centuries. However, from the middle of the twentieth century most attacks directed against the Bible and the Christian faith have had their origin in the more tangible fields of science and technology. Thus for success in the apologetic task today apologists need to be equipped in the other branches of apologetics. At the same time the revival of philosophical religions of the Orient demands that Christians apologists should not overlook training in philosophical apologetics.

Historical/Legal Apologetics: The rise of modern archeology in the twentieth century has brought a vast amount of historical information. Since historical narratives in the Bible are all two thousand years old or older, archaeological developments have a direct bearing on the Bible.

Critics quickly used historical and archaeological developments to attack the Bible. Historical and archaeological attacks reached a peak in the last half of the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth century. However, the historical sciences have provided a vast amount of evidence in support of the Bible and the Christian faith.

Unfortunately, before Christian scholars could take control of this field, radical theologians spread propaganda using historical sciences to discredit the Bible. Only now have the effects of the false propaganda begun to diminish.

Bible and history, Bible and archeology, Bible and prophecies, Bible and linguistics, all fall into the area of historical/ legal apologetics. Dozens of volumes have now been written addressing historical/legal apologetics. For persons who do not have a science background but still want to work in a field of more tangible apologetics, the study of historical apologetics is a good area of training.

Rational/Scientific Apologetics: In the last four centuries modern science has become prominent in the field of knowledge. For the common man the word ‘science’ has become a synonym for ‘truth’. (Very few people know that these two words are not strictly identical).

Since the common man views science as an object of awe, wonder, and even worship, critics quickly used modern science to attack the Bible. The rise of the Theory of Evolution in the nineteenth century also gave great courage to critics of the Bible. Rational/Scientific apologetics deals with these attacks.

Rational apologetics addresses diverse subjects; e.g., Bible-difficulties, Bible and science, Bible and evolution, Bible and astronomy, cosmogony. The rise of the Theory Of Evolution has resulted in the development of Creationism as a part of rational apologetics. Today Creationism is one of the most advanced areas in Rational Apologetics.

The vastness of subjects and amount of information involved in rational apologetics creates a challenging study. However, the highly tangible nature of scientific information can be used to lead discussions between the inquirer and the apologist to a reasonable end in a reasonable amount of time.

Interdisciplinary Apologetics: With the advent of newer fields of learning and investigation, opposition against the Bible has also multiplied. Many opposing views can be countered with the help of a single subject such as history, but a few of them require the use of more than one subject. The apologist has to gather and present evidence spanning more than one discipline, thus the name ‘interdisciplinary apologetics’.

CHRISTIAN ETHICS: The defense of Christian Ethics can be placed in this category. For example the apparent harsh attitude of Jews and God toward gentiles as recorded in the Old Testament might be perplexing. People reading the New Testament (specially with a secular humanistic attitude) might find ethical requirements too strict and even unnecessary. Defense of Christian Ethics against these objections would require mastering several subjects including, history, jurisprudence, legal science, and theology. Thus for the Christian apologist Christian ethics becomes a part of Interdisciplinary Apologetics.

THE PROBLEM OF EVIL AND SUFFERING: Many atheists and critics argue that evil and suffering cannot exist in a world ruled by an all-powerful God of perfect love. The apologist needs to combine philosophy, theology, biography, and even more subjects to refute these arguments.

LEGAL APOLOGETICS: Legal and logical argument is another part of Historical/Legal Apologetics. At times legal apologetics requires the study of several subjects. Thus legal apologetics is also considered a part of Interdisciplinary Apologetics.

RELATIONAL APOLOGETICS: Educated young people often wrongly think that scientific investigation is the only method for gaining knowledge to arrive at truth. Most things in life are, however, learned by entering into a relationship with them. For example a person recognizes a table, chair, or a pole anywhere in the world. He does not have a concise definition for these things, but recognizes a table anywhere in the world because of the information collected through exposure to many kinds of tables.

Often Christians are asked to demonstrate certain truths with the help of science, even though these things belong to relational analysis. Thus in relational apologetics the Christian apologist demonstrates to the seeker that the object of his inquiry can be discovered and verified only by entering into a personal relationship.

GOD’S EXISTENCE: The existence of God is another subject faced by apologists. Since God is neither matter nor energy, experiments of physical sciences can neither prove nor disprove God. Rather, a combination of reasoning based upon several subjects can unmistakably point to the existence of God. Thus this subject also belongs to Interdisciplinary Apologetics.

MIRACLES AND RESURRECTION: Radicals and infidels often question the resurrection of Jesus and the miracles recorded in the Bible. Information from several subjects would need to be collected to defend these Biblical truths, thus this subject also can be placed in Interdisciplinary Apologetics.

BIBLE TEXT/LANGUAGE/CANON: The text, language, and canon of the Bible are favorite targets for infidels outside and inside the church. Many times the questions raised can be answered only by combining information gleaned from history, geography, linguistics, and even philology. Thus its placement in this section.

Summary

Christian Apologetics was a simple subject when opposition against Christianity was also simple. However, in the last two centuries opposition has become highly  sophisticated. Critics search to find subjects with which to attack the Bible.  Consequently the range and depth of opposing arguments have also increased dramatically. In response, Christian Apologetics has also become an advanced subject with numerous branches.

A student of Christian Apologetics should not confine study to the older Philosophical Apologetics alone, but should try to master more tangible fields also. This is more difficult than studying Philosophical Apologetics alone, but the results are rewarding.

Everyone who tries to use anything other than the Conservative Presuppositions is trying to synthesize two opposites into one harmonious entity. However, opposites can be synthesized only at the cost of truth, and that is an alarming possibility for any apologist.

In all all our course material we take an unashamed stand in favor of truth, total truth, and truth alone. There will be no attempt to mingle error with truth. Tens of thousands of Protestant Reformers have sacrificed their lives to defend the truth expressed in the following statements:

Sola Scriptura (Bible Alone)
Sola Gratia (Grace Alone)
Sola Fide (Faith Alone)
Solus Christus (Christ Alone)
Soli Deo Gloria (To God Alone Be Glory)

We unashamedly stand with the Fathers of the Reformation. The above statements form the presuppositions upon which this book rests. Since presuppositions play a very important part in apologetics, polemics, hermeneutics, and theology, another document is devoted to a discussion of presuppositions of various groups of Christians as well as non-Christians. 

 

006

 

 

Free Graduate Theology Programs | Biblical Archeology | Free Courses
Alt Med |Kindle Ebooks | Smashword Ebooks

5 comments for “Christian Apologetics Free Course 02, Lesson 7

  1. Yakov Israel
    June 18, 2013 at 1:53 am

    Amen!

  2. joshua
    April 17, 2015 at 11:14 am

    this was another helpful lesson
    Amen.

  3. Daniel
    May 16, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    Do you have online certificate or Diploma program in apologetics?

  4. Super_Admin_2013
    May 17, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    Yes, we do. Kindly check the menu!

  5. HQL
    January 4, 2019 at 3:35 pm

    Synopsis:

    Presuppositions are the starting truths upon which different fields of knowledge and investigations are built.

    Opposing presuppositions must be analyzed, tested, or shown to be false to prove or disprove

    Since the observed facts are established truths, any presuppositions conflicting with these facts are rejected.

    As long as the apologist focuses on conclusions, exposing the fallacy of their claims will be difficult.

    Criticisms voiced by radicals are obviously based on the false presuppositions and are NOT a result of scholarly research.

    People who oppose the Christian faith often do not disclose their presuppositions

    Christian Fundamentalists are Christians who are devoted to the fundamentals of the Bible. Brethren, Fundamental Baptists, Independent Baptists, Presbyterians, Fundamental Lutherans, and many Independents are among such groups.

    Fundamental (conservative) Christian presuppositions are: Sola Scriptura, Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, and Solus Christus.

    “Evangelical” implies a more liberal view for Fundamentalist yet they tend to be far more liberal in acceptance of abortions and/or gay relationships.

    Neo-evangelical are theologically radical and would be defined as one who has taken a “lower view” of Scripture, has developed a more open, inclusivistic spirit toward liberalism, and has become ecumenical in evangelism efforts.

    Neo Evangelical presuppositions are:
    A Somewhat Fallible Bible
    Probable Theistic Evolution
    Probability Of Salvation Without An Explicit Knowledge Of Christ
    Doubt About The Veracity Of Miracles Recorded In The Bible
    Other things to note are:
    • They deny that the Scripture is complete through their attempts to Christianize pagan ideas, subservience to scientism, watered down gospel, preach a “positive message”, carnality, sensuality, secularism, worldlinessm, mix of Christian views and politics, unbiblical role for women, shift from objective Biblical doctrine to subjective experience, yield apostolic sign-gifts for our own day (prophecy, tongues, miracles, healing, etc.)

    There are two forms of radicals: Christian radicals (further divided in two based upon liberation and conservation) and the Extreme radicals. Liberals allow for same sex couples, homosexual priests and bishops and least restrictive Bible formats.

    Extreme Radicals come in many forms:
    -Anti-government
    -The Lunatic Fringes
    -Conspiracy Theorists
    -Militia Groups
    -Identity Christianity

    A Rejection Of All Tenets Of Conservative Christianity
    -All Religions Eventually Lead -To SalvationEveryone Will Eventually Attain Heaven
    -The Bible Is Not The Sole Word Of God
    -The Bible Contains Plenty Of Errors And Primitive Ideas
    -The Record Of Creation Is A Myth, While Evolution Is Fact
    -Virgin Birth, Resurrection Of Christ, And Miracles Are Myths

    NEO ORTHODOX: Began in the aftermath following World War I, with a rejection of Protestant scholasticism and a denial of the Protestant liberal movement. To distinguish from Orthodox or Conservative Christians the term Neo-Orthodox was adopted. Neo-Orthodox theology is neither new nor orthodox. Soon, however, it became clear that they use word from orthodox theology in a totally opposite and radical sense, rendering them totally radical in theology.

    Proponents of Neo Orthodoxy liberally use terms like heaven, hell, sin, salvation, revelation, Christ, and resurrection, but define the terms differently from conservative definitions. For example when a Neo Orthodox writer talks about the Word of God, he is not talking about the actual Biblical record; when he talks of Christ, he is not talking of the Jesus Christ of history.

    The only possible way for the chasm to be crossed is by God, and this he has done in Christ. The Neo Orthodox deny it.

    There is a rejection of the infallible sola Scriptura of conservative Protestantism.

    Neo-Orthodoxy relies on human reason

    Christian mystics seek one or more mystical encounters for spiritual joy and assurance.

    Christian Mystic presuppositions are:
    -Rejection Of “Bible Alone”
    -Rejection Of Doctrine And Theology
    -Elevation Of Mystical Experience To The Level Of Revelation
    -Salvation Through Mystical Experience
    -Spiritual Joy Through Mystical Experience

    Spiritism is a deception that hides under the form of a Christian worship.

    The church may include all the normal items such as: pulpit, pews, crucifix, and organ. The service seems normal in their use of: Bible, Christian payers, and songs. However, the change is that they also use trances and psychic readings an ancient practice to try communicating with the dead

    • God: is an infinite spiritual intelligence, an impersonal power controlling the universe.
    • Jesus: was a man, not God, and during His time on earth, He was a prophet or an advanced medium who communicate with the spirit world.
    • Jesus: is now a primary spirit that one communicates with in the spirit world.
    • No Virgin Birth
    • No redeeming cross: yet many will have a crucifix displayed above the pulpit.
    • No resurrection
    • No Second Coming
    • Heaven and Hell do not exist, they are states of mind.
    • People continue to live in the spirit world after their physical body dies.
    • Rejection Of Bible Alone

    CHRISTIAN CULTS: Originate from a group of churches that may call themselves Christians, use the Bible as their Sacred Scripture, and may even have the name of Christ in the title of their church.

    The following are a few of the Christian cults:
    • Mormons: The Church of Jesus Christ of the of Latter-day Saints
    • Jehovah’s Witnesses
    • Moonies: Unification of Christianity
    • Christian Science Church
    • Church of Scientology
    • Children of God: Family of Love
    • Worldwide Church of God, of Armstrong
    • Spiritualism
    • Church Universal and Triumphant
    • Unitarianism/Universalism.
    • Gnosticism/Neo-Gnosticism.
    • Way International
    • Holy Order of MANS
    • Church of the Living God
    Other Christian Cults:
    • Central London Church of Christ
    • Rev. Ike Penitents: Snake Handlers
    • Churches for Homosexuals: Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches
    • Branch Dravidians: “Waco”, David Koresh
    • People’s Temple: Jim Jones, Jonestown

    Occultism is the study of hidden wisdom, truth, or rather the deeper truth that exists beyond the surface.

    non christian cults use talismans, magic, voodoo, astrology, numerology, or even religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism.

    General New Age presuppositions are:
    Rejection Of Sola Scriptura
    Rejection Of Salvation By Grace Through Faith
    Rejection Of Jesus Christ As The Only Saviour
    Rejection Of All Major Christian Doctrines
    Salvation Through All Religions/Universalism

    What is Prajapati? In Hindu, mythology is the primordial lord of creatures, and is mentioned in Vedic, epic and Puranic literature. In Vedic legends, he is described in various ways as the creator of the world, and the creator of heaven and earth. He is an androgynous being who impregnated himself by fusing elements of mind and speech. In later epics, he is the guardian of the sex organ. Prajapati becomes the name for Brahma in later Hinduism.

    Their presuppositions are:
    Outright Rejection of Sola Scriptura
    Rejection of the Uniqueness of Jesus Christ
    Rejection of all Major Christian Doctrines
    Elevation of Non Christian Scriptures to the Level of the Bible

    Occultic Cults are satanic movements manifested in Satan Worship, Sorcery, and Demon-assisted healings.

    Well-known groups that are active include:

    · Church of Satan
    · Order of the Black Ram
    · Worldwide Church of Satanic Liberation
    · Order Templi Satanis
    · Ordo Sinistra Vivendi
    · Chiesa di Satana dl Filippo Scerba Chiesa Luciferiana di Efrem Del Gatto

    · Temple of Set
    · Werewolf Order
    · Church of War
    · Order of the Nine Angels and Dark Lily
    · Bambini di Satana
    · Impero Satanico della Luce degli Inferi
    · Seguaci del Maestro Loitan

    Satan liberates the believer from religious, moral, and cultural conditioning
    Satanism is a religion of the flesh
    Satanist must find happiness here and now
    There is no heaven or hell to go to after death
    Satan a real being prince of darkness and a friend of Mankind
    It is possible to obtain favors from Satan through magical rituals
    Satan is Lucifer, a positive figure opposed to God who is seen in a negative light
    Rejection Of Sola Scriptura
    Rejection Of Jesus Christ As The Only Savior
    Rejection Of Salvation By Grace Through Faith
    Rejection Of All Major Christian Doctrines
    Elevation Of Non Christian Scriptures To The Level Of the Bible

    Secular cults are not a new phenomenon they have been around as long as the Church started by Christ. However, since the end of World War 2, they have gained in popularity and varieties.

    Their main point was “If there is a God, then why would He allow for so much destruction and loss of life and property?”

    the ones that are trying to comfort you are the very same that are trying to lead you away from God.

    Since the end of World War 2 (WW2), the world has seen multiple wars in the Middle East (Israel, Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, etc.), revolutionary wars in China, Viet Nam war, the massive killing fields of Cambodia, Korean War, and multiple genocidal wars in various African nations.

    room for Secular Cults to spin their web that God does not exist

    In addition, they fail because they preach that life is the here and now enjoy it now because when it is over, it is over. This makes you wonder if it is truly over when you die then why are they so concerned with the trying to tear down organized religion.

    Atheism: Reject the belief in God for any or no reason at all and there is no requirement for rationalism.

    Humanism: Rationalism is found in humanism however, rationalism does not need the strong ethical component found in humanism.

    Deism is the exception and not the norm when studying Rationalist Groups, in that they believe in a God while the other rationalist groups reject all belief in God, immortality, after-life, heaven, and hell. Many Western rationalist groups have been known to openly encourage immorality, and publish pornographic books.

    Calvin Research Group is unashamedly a conservative institution, and the minimum required presuppositions are:
    Sola Scriptura (Bible Alone)
    Sola Gratia (Grace Alone)
    Sola Fide (Faith Alone)
    Solus Christus (Christ Alone)

    Christian Apologetics can be classified into the following broad categories:
    -Philosophical/Theological Apologetics
    -Historical/Legal Apologetics
    -Rational/Scientific Apologetics
    -Interdisciplinary Apologetics

Leave a Reply to Daniel Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.