Posted in Worldview Analysis

Apologetics Session 5: Thinking about Worldview in Apologetics

Establish the need: What is a worldview? And what does it matter? Purpose: We will look at four focus to help us think about worldview in apologetics…

Apologetics Session 5: Thinking about Worldview in Apologetics

Really appreciated this breakdown of worldviews: What they are and how they operate, as well as, how the Christian should interact with them. I’m hoping you all will to. God Bless.

Posted in Uncategorized

Blackface Conservatives & the War for True Love

Blackface Conservatives & the War for True Love
— Read on www.tobyjsumpter.com/blackface-conservatives-the-war-for-true-love/

A needed wake up call for conservatives that have adopted statist propaganda in an attempt to lead away from progressive statism. The problem is when you adopt the same methodology as your enemy, you are acting like the enemy but in different garb (outwardly speaking). Or as Pastor Toby points out “black faced conservatism,” which is folly on its face.

Hope you enjoy.

In Christ,

Kristafal

Posted in Apologetics

Arguing from the Impossibility of the Contrary – The American Vision

During a “Gay Rights”/Juneteenth Parade in Fort Lauderdale, a man drove his pickup truck into a crowd killing one and injuring another. It was immediately denounced as a “terrorist attack” against the LGBTQ+ community. Here are some of the comments:
• 2 hit by truck that was aiming for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s car, a person is dead. “This is a terrorist attack against the LGBT community…deliberate, it was premeditated, and it was targeted against a specific person,” say authorities.
— Read on americanvision.org/posts/arguing-from-the-impossibility-of-the-contrary/

Posted in Apologetics

The Ladder

One of the critiques that I heard from the late Greg L. Bahnsen against other forms of apologetics (those in the non-presuppositional branch) is that they attempt to build a ladder to Jesus, and then once they got an individual to him, they’d throw the ladder away. For a very long time I pondered that statement. But one day the realization kind of hit me between the eyes. Before I tell you what that realization was, perhaps I should explain what he meant by building the ladder to Jesus.

A Caveat…

The evidential or classical Christian apologist uses various arguments that are philosophically, evidence based. Actually, this is true of all Christian apologetic methodologies. All use evidences. All use philosophical argumentation. All attempt to get the person to Christ Jesus.

Motivations and Ignorance…

If that is the actual desire of the person in question, then I cannot fault the individual. They are attempting to do a noble thing. However, while the motivation may be honorable, the method or manner in which they try to point people to Jesus is an ignorant pursuit. Whether it is willful ignorance or accidental, I cannot say without having first spoken to the person in question. But to show I am not being a jerk, please allow me to explain.

How the Argument typically goes…

“Before we get to Christ,” we got to get them to believe “x.” Then after we get them to believe “x” we can move on to “y.” This process goes on until Jesus is in view. The ladder is based on the possibility of an intelligent designer. The trustworthy nature of Scripture. Not necessarily inerrant or infallible, mind you, but good enough for most people to find believable. The pursuit in reaching the gospel is an unidentifiable number of steps. How many depends upon the person to whom the Christian apologist is witnessing.

Eventually, once it has been proved (not a certainty, but a strong possibility) that there is a god, that he is personal, that he has given us a fairly reliable revelation (both inscripturated and natural), and that we are sinners (although restraint will be used with that offensive word!) in need of a savior who has been identified as Jesus of Nazareth. A man that historical, and philosophical evidences show very likely that he died on a Roman cross (he didn’t swoon), arose three days later (no one stole the corpse), as has been testified about as resurrected and ascended by eyewitnesses (his disciples who more than likely didn’t lie for they were willing to die for what they were saying; and, it probably wasn’t an illusion for over 500 shared it). Once the case has been made through evidences and philosophical argumentation to the high probability of Jesus being God in the flesh, making possible the salvation of fallen humanity if they would believe in Him, then the ladder which got them there is no longer needed.

Underlying Problem…

What’s the problem with that approach? Why did Bahnsen mock it? Because it negates the meaning of being a true Christian apologist. There is a ladder that gets us to God the Father—it is Jesus Christ. Jesus is the first rung on the ladder and He is the last. He is the beginning of the journey to God and He is the end of the journey to God—the veritable Alpha and Omega!

The Real Ladder Understood…

The only ladder that the Christian apologist has been authorized to use is the Lord. Before we offer a reasoned defense to anyone who asks about the hope within us, we are called (commanded) to set Christ apart as Holy (1Pet 3.15). Jesus made this clear to His disciples on numerous occasions. He declared that “no one comes to the Father but through me” (John 14.6). He said that “no one knows the Father except if the Son chooses to reveal Him” (Luke 10.22).

We are told in Scripture that “faith [in Christ] comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ [of God]” (Rom 10.17). For God has chosen to speak through “His Son…He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Heb 1.3). His Word is the foundation (Matt 7.24) of wisdom and knowledge (Prov 1.7; 9.10; Col 2.3), and this is justified by the children of God (Luke 7.35), who are built upon this blessed cornerstone (Isa 28.16; 1Pet 2.7; also see Deut 32).

The Lord declared that evidences, even fantastic ones would not convince a person if they remained unconvinced by God’s Word (Luke 16.31). For the gospel is a spiritual truth that cannot be discerned by natural means (1Cor 2.14), but only by supernatural means (John 3.3). For it is utter folly to the world, but a demonstration of God’s power to those being saved (1Cor 1.18). And this gospel is not limited to a few select verses or a few books, but the entirety of God’s Word. The whole Bible—Genesis to Revelation—points to Christ so that those who believe might have life (John 5.39-40) by having faith in the one and only Son, without which (faith in Him and His Word), it is impossible to please God (Heb 11.6)

The Ladder of Presuppositional Apologetics…

The presuppositional method of apologetics starts with Christ and ends with Christ. The presuppositional method understands that Christ is the ladder, the first step and the last step. He is the only foundation necessary for faith. And faith is a work of God, the Holy Spirit, an act of unmerited grace and undeserving mercy upon those who are called the children of God. There is no need then to do away with the ladder which leads us to life, for that ladder is our Lord:

“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1Tim 2.5; cf. Gen 28.12-13).


Image by Gerd Altmann

Posted in Apologetics

Evidence & Arrogance: Two Strange Bedfellows

I’ll probably get myself in trouble for saying this, but it needs to be said. It isn’t the first time and it won’t be the last time either. But much of Christian apologetics is a joke. Not the LOL (laugh out loud) variety, but the kind that is prefaced by an underlying arrogance.

“Arrogance, what do you mean?”

An arrogance that assumes we are smarter than the God who created us, knit us together in our mother’s wombs, and has offered sound guidance and instruction for our lives. The true God, the Lord of Heaven and earth who gives us good gifts providing for our needs. “In Him we live, move and breath,” for He sustains us by the power of His Word. He has marked our beginning, and He has established our end. All things have been set in place by Him, and all history unfolds according to the purpose of His good will.

But you laugh, you smirk, you say in your hearts “if that’s the kind of God over me, then I don’t want Him. A micromanager, an overlord who plans my steps? No thank you, very much. That’s not a loving, good God in my book.”

No doubt you have heard it said, “A little honey attracts bees.” Better to speak in flowery overtones, and butter people up massaging their already inflated egos, than a smack in the face. The fact is, whether we like it or not, we sometimes need smacked:

“Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness; let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it” (Psa 141.5; cf. Prov 27.5-6).[i]

So, what is this arrogance that I speak of rooted in the hearts of many would be Christian apologists? It is found in this mantra being bled from multiple sources: Evidence, evidence, evidence.

No, they are not gathered singing this repeatedly over and over again to some enchanting melody (at least not that I am aware of). But it is the tune of the Pied Piper that they prefer.

Am I saying that “evidence is not beneficial?” Or that “evidence is a waste of time?” Or that “evidence needs to be thrown out the window like a baby’s bathwater?” No, absolutely not. “Then, how can you say it is arrogance to exalt evidence?” you ask. (Oh, how I do love an observant reader!)

The Problematic Error…

The problem is not with the evidence in and of itself, but the way in which many professing Christian apologists use it. The error is couched in phrases like these:

  • “Faith is based on evidence.”
  • “Given enough evidence and time and a rational person who is honest will more than likely believe.”
  • “Follow the evidence and see where it leads”
  • “Evidence can lead you to the truth”

“What’s wrong with those statements?” Do you mean besides the fact that they are littered with wrong assumptions and irrational conclusions?

Evidence or brute facts do not lead. Look at this rock, what does it say? Oh, right it doesn’t speak! “So how do you know where it is leading?” You don’t, well it doesn’t. It just sits there and your draw interpretations based off a variety of observations that are either real or imagined. There is not a piece of evidence, brute fact or otherwise that is not interpreted. And your interpretation is drawn from various ideas that you have already assumed about the nature of reality (the seen and the unseen).

Nor is your faith based on evidence. That is not to say that faith and evidence do not relate to one other. They are vitally related, but if you are a Christian your faith is not based on evidence. Pay Attention! Try not to get lost in the weeds of your own thoughts here. I said “based on the evidence,” which means “founded on the evidence.” The foundation of the Christian faith is not evidence: “That is not how you learned Christ!” (Eph 4.20).

“Yes, but what about Christ’s resurrection? That is a vital piece of evidence that makes or breaks the faith!” you retort.

Folly Laden Stumbling Block…

Makes or breaks the faith for who? You or the unbeliever? Let it be said that the Resurrection is a pivotal piece of evidence for the Christian faith, no two ways about it. I do not deny it! But let it also be said (and please turn on your ears for this), the Cross of Christ which entails the Resurrection of Christ is a “stumbling block” and utter “folly” to the non-believer.

If you are a Christian, do you dare deny it? If you do not deny it, do you embrace it?

Herein lies the arrogance of what I speak. Christ says, “If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead” (Luke 16.31; cf. Matt 28.16). But you say, “Ah…that’s just a parable, you can’t take it literally.”

What do you mean? I can’t take it according to the literature, which is what literal means? Or I’m not to take the Lord’s words here at face value because of the figurative nature of a parable? Parable’s are taken from real life applications, but when it comes to Christ’s words here when he has refuted his enemies, I am somehow to be dissuaded from believing His argument? “Which is what precisely?” you might ask yourselves. That people who fail to believe the Word of God[ii] on spiritual and earthly matters will not be convinced even if a dead person were to arise from the dead!

Which, by the way we see happened in Jesus’ day at the raising of Lazarus (cf. John 11). Four days in the tomb and then coming out alive only convinced a small number of the witnesses, for others ran to the Jewish authorities due to their unbelief. But hey, what does the Lord of Glory really know.

The Problematic Error Up-close…

The problem with an “evidence first approach” is that it refuses to listen to what God has to say, all the while assuming that YOU know better than HE. “How so?” By denying what the Bible clearly teaches. Faith in God, in Christ, in the gospel is not an intellectual issue, but a spiritual one. These things are “spiritually discerned,” and so it makes little sense to wax eloquent with lofty speech rather than to proclaim the Word of Christ, through which faith comes. Notice that the Bible says the means (or the vehicle) for bringing faith is through the Word of God (i.e. Moses and the Prophets) and not evidence. Evidence without the proper interpretative grid leads down a road to nowhere (cf. Luke 24.13-27).

Thus, the words of the late Greg L. Bahnsen are noteworthy:


“Scripture itself should be enough to dissuade a person from depending upon evidential arguments…God’s word makes clear that man’s rebellion against the truth is morally, not intellectually rooted. The sinner needs a changed heart and Spiritually opened eyes, not more facts and reasons…The only tool an apologete needs is the word of God, for the sinner will either presuppose its truth and find Christianity to be coherent and convincing (given his spiritual condition and past experience) or he will reject it and never be able to come to the knowledge of the truth…

Although evidence has a part in the Christian apologetic, it is not the pivotal foundational part…our central defense of the faith had better be made of stronger stuff.”[iii]


Lest, it be said that I am guilty of arguing ad hominen (i.e. against the man) I will remind the reader that though this charge of arrogance is laid at the feet of the would be Christian apologist who turns a  blind eye to the truth, my position is against the method of argumentation and not necessarily the individual in question. However, the shoe fits, if you continue to wear it while ignoring what your Lord has commanded.

Pride rears its ugly head when we get so puffed up with “knowledge” and “wisdom” that we go beyond what the Scriptures teach (1Cor 4.6). By the way this isn’t speaking about knowledge and wisdom that comes from humble submission to God’s Word. Rather it speaks of the person who thinks they know better than God. In case your wondering what that looks like, take a gander back at the beginning and you’ll see where that folly got us (cf. Gen 3).

Until next time, I bid you all farewell…

ENDNOTES:

[i] All Scripture unless otherwise noted shall be of the English Standard Version (ESV).

[ii] This is what the phrase “Moses and the Prophets” refers to in Jewish thinking. There are several similar phrases found in the Bible that point the reader to the entire canon of Scripture. For the 1st century Jew this “Moses and the Prophets” would entail all that God had thus far revealed to the Hebrew nation.  Similar to our modern-day expressions of “Word of God,” “Holy Writ,” the “Holy Bible,” the “Scriptures,” etc.

[iii] Greg L. Bahnsen, “The Impropriety of Evidentially Arguing for the Resurrection,” PA003 Synapse II, Westminster Seminary, (January, 1972), http://www.cmfnow.com/article/pa003.htm.