Christian Apologetics Free Course 01, Lesson 07

Christian Apologetics Free Course 01, Lesson 07

Introduction To Integrated Apologetics, Lesson 07


The Christian world has many pseudo-apologists. Usually these people have some qualification in the sciences or humanities, but very little training in apologetics. When faced with troubling questions, they use their own human knowledge to build up a private system of apologetics. Not having a background in theology or apologetics, and not having come in contact with Christian apologists, their private system of apologetics might be quite deficient or even outright faulty. Yet due to non-contact with real bible-based apologetics, they continue to live happily with their own brand of apologetics in their world of ignorance. 

Many of them recognize this deficiency as soon as they hear the presentation of a trained apologist. Thus they feel quite threatened when they listen to apologists. Instead of broadening their grasp of the subject by mutual interaction, they take recourse to attacking other apologists. 

Of the six categories of people mentioned above, none has a valid biblical objection against the discipline of Christian Apologetics. Their objections and oppositions stem from their personal prejudices and ignorances. Consequently, the apologist should never worry about the opposition they put up. Rather, he should always expect some antagonism from them and try to use these to examine and refine further his presentation of the subject. 

People who believe that the Bible contains errors, who are insensitive to others, and who would not like anything except their own private system of apologetics find their world collapsing when they see Christian Apologists in action. This is not a problem of theological origin. Rather, it is a personal problem that has no easy solution. Further, these people are not truth-seekers or sincere inquirers. Their aim is to impose their erroneous views upon others, and therefore their conversation is not marked for humility or the spirit of free, objective inquiry. Rather, their aim is to impose their erroneous views upon others. Thus it is a waste of time arguing or discussing with them. 

The first three category of people above might readily listen to a good apologist if he is willing to explain the whole situation to them — that a lot of genuine seekers are indeed struggling due to these questions, and also that they should not run away from their own doubts. However, the last two categories (the compromisers and the spiritually insensitive people) may not listen all that easily. One should be quite discerning when talking with them lest one end up wasting time and losing patience. 

The Lord Jesus Himself provides a good example that proof seekers are not to be shunned. When doubting Thomas demanded proof of resurrection, the Lord did not refuse his request. Rather, at the appropriate occasion he Himself personally, and with all compassion, invited Thomas to attempt his empirical verification. 

The Lord did say that "blessed are they that have not seen, and yet believe", but surely this was not a rebuke for doubt but only a comparison of insights that different people had about Lord Jesus. This becomes very clear in the light of what the Lord Jesus did to other disciples even without their asking. 

Most Bible readers overlook the fact that the Lord Himself was the first to offer empirical evidence to ALL the disciples, even without the disciples asking for it. The gospel says, "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself : handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have" (Luke 24:39). 

Doubt about spirituals is common even among dedicated Christians. If such people are sincere, one should surely help them by emulating what the Lord did with Thomas and the rest of the disciples.

Opposition to Apologetics

There are some Christians who are opposed to the very idea of apologetics. They do this because of a number of reasons, some of which are as follows: 

DISTRUST OF REASON: Some people oppose apologetics because they are completely distrustful of human reason in spiritual realm. According to them, faith and reason are to be placed in totally separate compartments, having no role to play in each other’s realm. For them, reason is for the natural world while faith is something for the spiritual world. However, such a view that compartmentalizes truth lacks coherence. The Christian approach to truth is an integrated one where one has to accept that faith and reason do mix with each other in many realms of spiritual truth. 

FEAR: Some people oppose apologetics because they find them selves ill equipped to face the attacks. So instead of facing the problems, and instead of making a defense for the faith that is in them, they prefer to run away from it all. Since apologetics is a very difficult subject to study and master, running away from the reality is easier for them than facing it. However, cowardice is NOT the way of Christian thought or practice. 

Faith is the starting-point of Christianity, and once faith is established Christianity can be shown to be consistent with truth and reason. There are may who will be strengthened in their faith if this consistency is shown to them, and it is the task of the apologist to help every genuine inquirer. 

WILLFUL BLIND OPPOSITION: Many people oppose Christian Apologetics due to their ignorance. Such people can be engaged in mutual conversation and a reasonable explanation will convince them that their opposition is ill founded. However, some people oppose Christian Apologetics and Biblical Creationism willfully and due to their stubbornness. It is usually futile to waste time upon them. 

All serious apologists should expect some hostility. They should not waste their time either in worrying about the attack or in trying to counter the hostile parties. They should realize that a person willfully opposing apologetics is not a sincere inquirer. Further, there is no medicine to cure willful opposition. 

In summary, every apologist should expect intense hostility from some people, but they should steer clear of them for the sake of their own effectiveness. 

Public Debates With Hostile People

The purpose of Christian Apologetics is not winning debates, but establishing the truth. Our generation is known for lack of time for listening to prolonged debates, abounding with superficial people, and high on loaded words. In such milieu debating is NOT a good strategy for discussing spiritual truth. Thus the apologist should avoid debating in public, except in front of a mature crowd made up of a small number of seekers dominated by a true spirit of inquiry. Further, the other side of the debate should be presented by one or more persons who are not given to loaded words or to ridicule. People who are given to scorn can manipulate the audience in such ways that they can turn the public against the apologist even though they have nothing of substance against him. 

Also, even when the apologist delivers straight lectures in a non debating fashion, some of these people (from the audience) will try their best to engage him in face-to face (speaker-to-audience) debates. Usually this will be a trap meant to discredit the apologist by subtle mockery. Apologists should develop practical strategies to foil their deceptive plans. 

An apologist should never forget that a willful debater can very easily disturb his public presentation by resorting to mockery, sarcasm and other disturbing or distracting tactics. They should never be allowed to take control. The apologist should keep presenting his subject without allowing anyone with the spirit of mockery to dominate. Anything and everything they say destroys the serious mood of the audience, and once that is done the impact of even the best apologetic presentation can reduce to nothing. 

Apologetics Through Compromise

Though the very essence of Christian Apologetics is non-compromise, some people do not seem to understand this. When this type of people see a conflict between two systems of thought, their response is that everyone should somehow to find a middle position. Unfortunately, this kind of a compromise is a slow poison that does more harm to truth than the fiercest attack directed against the Christian faith. 

Two apparently conflicting reports can be reconciled with each other if they represent two different aspects of one and the same truth. For example, when the four blind men give four different reports about the elephant, their conflicting reports can be reconciled into a single picture. Or, when different people report different colours for the same chameleon, these accounts can be unified into one. This is made possible in every such case because the conflicting reports present DIFFERENT aspects related to one and the same entity. On the other hand, if conflicting reports come due to fundamental differences in the basic system itself, they cannot be reconciled. 

For example, the demands of evolution and creation cannot be reconciled with each other because they represent two fundamentally different, mutually hostile, and mutually exclusive systems. They do not represent various aspects of the same truth, but rather two mutually opposing systems. They differ and diverge from each other right from the presuppositional level so that any attempt at reconciling them is a vain exercise. What’s needed in such cases is to scrape the inferior set of presuppositions, so that the remaining better set of presuppositions provides the more authentic picture of reality. 

Further, whenever two opposing systems are synthesized into one, it is the truth that always suffers. When fresh food is mixed with decaying one, it is always the fresh one that suffers not the other way round. This is because all compromise hurts and eclipses the truth. The best example is the attempted reconciliation between evolution and creation. 

To unify the radically differing principles of evolution and creation some compromise has to be made. Since evolution-believers would not give an inch of their territory, all burden for compromise falls on the side of creation. Consequently we find that all synthesis of evolution-creation begins with the direct or indirect denial of the Genesis creation account. 

The synthesis between evolution and creation is usually designated by the name "Theistic Evolution". There are many shades of theistic evolution, but all of them agree that God used evolution as the method of creating the universe. When such a thesis is advocated, a question arises about the Genesis account of creation: If God created all, including man, using evolution then what about the story of Adam, Eve, the garden of Eden, the tree of knowledge and the serpent. All theistic evolutionists assure their readers that all this is only "poetic language" and that these are not to be taken literally. Thus by a stroke of pen the theistic evolutionist abandons the reliability of the Genesis account. With that goes the foundation on which the entire Christian doctrine stands. 

Whenever two contradictory systems of thought are reconciled with each other, the truth always suffers. Opposites can be synthesized only at the cost of truth, and that is an alarming possibility for any apologist. 

In this course we take an unashamed stand in favour of truth, total truth, and truth alone. There will be no attempt to mingle error with truth. Tens of thousands of Protestant Reformers sacrifice 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, we would devote another document  to a discussion of presuppositions of various groups of Christians as well as non Christians.

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Updated: June 10, 2013 — 5:33 pm


Add a Comment
  1. how do i get to register for the free degree in divinity

  2. koba Oluwatcheoun Richard

    Hi Sir
    I want to do the appologeticsfree course to have my Doctoral diploma.

  3. koba Oluwatcheoun Richard

    Hi Sir
    I want to do the appologeticsfree course to have my Doctoral diploma.

  4. I would like to do all free 01 courses and then decide from there what to continue.

  5. Thank you for your consideration I’m looking forward to a hopefully positive response……..Rev. Neil Shaw

  6. Synopsis:

    The word “apologetics” confuses many into thinking that it refers to some kind of apologizing. Actually this word is not derived from the English world “apology”, but from the Greek word “apologia”, which is a word referring to “making a defense”.

    Religious and spiritual beliefs have come under intense attack.

    criticism of the Bible and related subjects is widespread.

    Once a person erroneously concludes that answers do not exist for the questions raised against the Bible, his own faith is the next victim.

    He then finds himself in a split mentality: he knows that it is these Scriptures which have brought the message of true salvation to him, but at the same time he does not know what all things written in this Book are believable.

    A Christian Apologist can pass on information to the doubting person

    Students who have been brought up in any of the present day schools or colleges learns many things which are contrary to the Word of God.

    The cumulative weight of these ideas give so much doubt to young believers that all over the world they are struggling.

    An apologist can give answers to a good number of their problems, and can then teach them the basics of the humanistic philosophy.

    The attacks against the Scriptures come from such diverse fields and sometimes from people of such high learning that it becomes difficult to answer all of them.

    Every Christian should definitely know something about what godly men are doing in the field of Christian apologetics.

    Today there are several thousand scholars around the world who are publishing their conclusions in defense of the Christian faith

    The Bible shall always be attacked, and there will always be people whose faith will be shaken by such attacks. Only the proper use of Christian Apologetics will help such people.

    Always be prepared to make defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you (1 Peter 3:15, RSV)

    Apologetics is a defending of the faith, not making of apologies.

    We live in the flesh, of course, but the muscles that we fight with are not flesh. Our war is not fought with weapons of flesh, yet are strong enough, in God’s cause, to demolish sophistries, and the arrogance that tries to resist the knowledge of God ; every thought is our prisoner, captured to be brought into obedience to Christ (II Corinthians 10:3-6).

    Job makes it very clear that the Lord of Israel was not like the gods of pagans around them; rather, He is a faithful God who would never fail those who trust in Him. Psalm 14 and 19, Romans 1:20 and Acts 17 are also apologetic.

    Moses and Pharaoh, as is Gideon, who twice requested for signs, was granted the request both the times.

    Hezekiah, in 1 Kings 20:5-12 and Daniel are called to proof.

    Jesus and his biographers repeatedly stressed that the primary purpose of the miracles performed by Jesus were to demonstrate who He was. Jesus also gave Thomas proof.

    Thus the Bible furnishes ample examples to indicate the necessity and the important role played by apologetics for the Christians as well as non Christian hearers of God’s message. Though the Bible condemns unbelief, it encourages sincere inquiry.

    People have always existed within the Jewish and the Christian faith who have attacked the Old and the New Testament.

    Distorted Bible interpretations and false cults attack the faith.

    Inside the church teachers of perverted doctrines complete attacks too, in NT times including Ebionites, Pelegians, Montanists, Nestorians, Arians, and many others

    This would also include those who teach salvation through baptism, those who attack the person of Christ (Smithism/Poonenism), and those who Hinduize Christian doctrines (Prajapati Proponents, Christian Vedantists), etc.

    False Cults which claim to be Christian but who still attack the fundamentals of the Christian faith include, Jehovah Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, Mormons, TPM (Ceylon Pentecostal Mission), The Toronto Movement, and others.

    Apologetics and Polemics are two different activities, their ultimate purpose is one and the same: to refute error and to establish truth.

    Within the Old Testament record we can see many people who questioned whether the God of the Israelites is the true God, and we notice that in many cases God provided them suitable answers and demonstrations.

    Bible teaches that man is a sinner, totally depraved, and unable to save himself. Grace is the only means available for salvation.

    Many of the Jewish Rabbis and scholars wrote countless volumes to counter the charges brought by these critics. One of the best known Jewish apologetic works is Contra Apion, written by the first century Army officer and historian Flavious Josephus.

    With the establishment of the New Testament Church came a new breed of heretics and critics.

    Another reason for the rise of critics, heretics and heretical movements was the New Testament itself, relating to man’s sin, total depravity, salvation by grace alone and faith alone.

    But clear proclamation to the Biblical message exposed their errors, biases, and prejudices clearly.

    There were a large number of people who wanted to be called Christians, but who did not want to accept these biblical doctrines. Many of them were converts from various kinds of heathen faiths.

    Jude had to remind his readers to contend for the faith against those who would like to distort the Christian message.

    Peter had to warn his readers against those who mocked at statements in portions of the New Testament.

    The availability of New Testament documents irritated Christians not only in the first century, but also in the centuries that followed. Wanting to hold on simultaneously to both the Bible and their own pagan philosophies, many of them spread heretical doctrines.

    Church Fathers of the same period were also forced to write lengthy books to refute these errors.

    Atheism, universalism, humanism, hedonism, and narcissism, with the New Testament documents totally contrary to their philosophies, found it necessary to attack the Bible.

    This, coupled with the New Testament insistence of Bible Alone, Christ Alone, Grace Alone, and Faith Alone, also irritated many of them.

    Though Christian Apologetics and Polemics was strong in the first five centuries of Church, it became somewhat dormant for almost a thousand years. This was the time when the Roman Catholic Church ruled.

    Reformation gave them the freedom coveted by all thinkers, they came out in torrents against the Church.

    Darwin and infidels with degrees in theology were coming into positions of power in German universities.

    Having a clear agenda to destroy belief in the Bible, they aimed at destroying the foundations of Christianity first. Further, since Government funding was liberal, they had the financial muscle-power to print and spread their ideas worldwide. This is how the German atheists were able to influence all the world.

    Not everyone was willing to write off the Bible completely. Many were interested more in keeping both the beliefs together. Acceptance of evolution would make them respectable in the eyes of theological infidels, but at the same time acceptance of creation would keep them in the confines of evangelicals.

    Mingling of evolution with creation eventually destroyed the Biblical foundations to such a level that radicals, humanists, evolutionists, rationalists, and atheists were strengthened.

    A small remnant in some conservative churches in USA who were willing to take a strong stand.

    Evangelicals came together and started writing aggressively on themes defending the historical and scientific reliability of the Bible. This gave birth to the modern interest in Apologetics and Creationism. At the dawn of the twenty-first century the influence of this revival has spread all over the world.

    The birth of the modern creationism and apologetics, a revival was set in motion among the evangelical Christians.

    Anyone desiring to know about the Bible, and its connection with science, evolution, history, archaeology, has read any number of books on this topic.

    Modern apologetics movement has been able to arrest the way in which rationalists have been bleeding the Christian church.

    Indian theological situation has many a times been a copy of what happens in the West.

    People in the mainline Protestant churches like the Lutherans, Methodists, CNI, CSI, and Marthoma churches became theologically radical.

    The first Indian to take a strong stand against the Theory Of Evolution was the late Professor H. Enoch. This was in the early sixties. His English book Evolution Or Creation

    CSFI (Creation Scientists Fellowship Of India)

    A project known as Creation Research was founded by Dr. Johnson C. Philip in 1970. It functioned mainly through the publication of articles, and by the time of the writing of this present book more than 10,000 articles have been published [as of 2013] in more than 6 languages in almost a dozen countries.

    This movement gave rise to the Trinity Graduate School Of Apologetics And Theology, and it offers full-length courses in creationism and apologetics.

    Another person who played a significant role in Christian Apologetics is Dr. Johnson George.

    An apologetics organization that entered India recently is RZIM, founded originally in the USA by Dr. Ravi Zacharias. This society conducts training programmes all over India.

    The methods and priorities of Christian Apologetics keep changing with time, but the aims remains the same, and they are:
    1-To refute all the accusations that are brought against the Bible and the Christian faith.
    2-To demonstrate that only the Bible and the Christian way of life work in the actual life, and that only the Bible and the Christian faith provide permanent peace and happiness.
    3-To remove the sincere doubts in the hearts of believers and unbelievers, so that the hindrances to the growth and establishing their faith are eliminated.
    4-To provide SUFFICIENT evidence for achieving the above goals. It is necessary for the apologist to understand the difference between sufficient and total proof.

    Four different ways of thinking can be seen from time to time about Christian Apologetics-Skepticism, Christian Rationalism, Logical Christianity, and Reason that definitely aids faith.

    Apologetics is a manward operation meant to help those who are perplexed or distressed due to doubts. the Bible is defended.

    The Scriptures are quite capable of self-defense.

    Our churches have a lot of people who never had a problem with their faith. They never doubted anything in the Bible, nor did they have to face any attacks against their faith in Christ. Many of these people can therefore become alarmed when they hear of “apologetics”. They start thinking that the apologist is trying to defend the Bible for the sake of the Bible

    To put the apprehensive people at ease, the apologist himself should first understand the motive and aim of apologetics.

    Accepting the Bible as God’s word comes only by an act of faith in which apologetics can play a very supportive role.

    The purpose of apologetics is not creation of faith as much as it is to remove the barriers that hinder faith.

    Apologetics can work wonders when presented at the right time in the right manner for helping sincere inquirers.

    The gospel message works by its own power, and there is not need to convince the unbeliever of this power.

    Scientism is the belief that ultimately everything has to be explained with the help of science. This is a false belief. Nothing beyond matter or energy can be studied with the help of modern physical science.

    It is possible for a person to be a good believer in Christ but still remain ill-informed about problems in the real world.

    Spiritual life is a warfare, and a person who has studied the enemy’s tactics and terrains is better prepared for war than one who is ignorant.

    A formal and systematic study of apologetics gives not only sufficient background, but also makes the person discerning as to which line of reasoning and answering is likely to have the greatest impact on the listeners.

    A person who has a systematic introduction to apologetics will be able to see the question and immediately understand the category to which it belongs.

    The Lord Jesus Himself provides a good example that proof seekers are not to be shunned. When doubting Thomas demanded proof of resurrection, the Lord did not refuse his request.

    The Lord did say that “blessed are they that have not seen, and yet believe”.

    The gospel says, “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself : handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have” (Luke 24:39).

    There are some Christians who are opposed to the very idea of apologetics: distrust reason, fear, and willful blind opposition.

    Establishment of truth is the purpose of Christian Apologetics, not winning debates. Debating is NOT a good strategy for discussing spiritual truth. Thus the apologist should avoid debating in public, except in front of a mature crowd made up of a small number of seekers dominated by a true spirit of inquiry.

    An apologist should never forget that a willful debater can very easily disturb his public presentation by resorting to mockery, sarcasm and other disturbing or distracting tactics.

    Whenever two opposing systems are synthesized into one, it is the truth that always suffers. All compromise hurts and eclipses the truth.

    We take an unashamed stand in favour of truth, total truth, and truth alone. There will be no attempt to mingle error with truth.
    Sola Scriptura (Bible Alone)
    Sola Gratia (Grace Alone)
    Sola Fide (Faith Alone)
    Solus Christus (Christ Alone)
    Soli Deo Gloria (To God Alone Be Glory)

  7. With Science, Astrology, Archeologists, Evolutionists. Apologetics are indeed necessary

  8. ‘The purpose of Christian Apologetics is not winning debates, but establishing the truth.’ Pride has been the fall of many great men.

    This passage also exhorts us not to compromise. It is important to distinguish between making peace and betrayal.

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