The Defense Of The Faith – Part 1

I thought that since I am now beginning my Seminary training and I am reading my first textbook, “The Defense Of The Faith” by Cornelius Van Til, that I would share with those who are interested, what I am learning in hope that you would benefit from it. After all that is why I am taking the classes and getting the degree, right?

Apologetics has always been a field that has fascinated me. It is the defense of the Christian Faith. There are essentially three different schools of apologetics,

  1. Evidential Apologetics uses evidence from history, archeology, etc. that demonstrates the truth of  the Bible and the Christian Faith. People in this field that you may recognize would be Josh McDowell and Lee Strobel.
  2. Classical Apologetics uses more scientific and philosophical means to do the same thing Looking at deisgn in the universe (teleological) or looking for the first cause of everything (cosmological) etc. This school goes back to Augustine and comes to us through Thomas Aquinas. In our day is represented most ably by Ravi Zacharias and R. C. Sproul.
  3. Presuppositional Apologetics uses the facts about God, man and the universe as we find them in the Bible and presents them to a fallen world from biblical presuppositions. God is who He says He is and this best explains the universe as we see it today. One big difference in this school is that it takes into account mans’ fallen nature where the others seem to take no account of it. It seems to me that evangelistically this school would be the most effective. It is represented in our day by John M. Frame and was somewhat recently developed by reformed theologians. The name that dominates its formation is Cornelius Van Til.

The class that I am taking is from the presuppositional perspective. Some poeple dogmatically assert that the other forms are corrupt and irrelevant. I believe that they all have their place and that sometimes we can win a hearing with with the evidential or classical approach as I have a number of times in the past. Once we have demonstrated that we are not ignorant Bible thumpers we may have a chance to present the Gospel. The difference is that with the presuppositional the Gospel and its background in God, man and the Fall is what makes the world make sense and so as I learn more about this I am excited to hone my skills in this area,

Here is where we begin:
Van Til begins with the idea that we as Christians must begin to share with unbelievers from what we have learned about God and man from our Bibles. That God is not a concept, but a real and personal, transcendent and immanent God that is revealed in His own Word. We don’t want to start by proving the viability of a god concept and then work our way up to the real God.

Likewise we need to present Him to people whom we know are fallen and will by nature reject the true knowledge of Him. This means that appealing to a fallen intellect is not done through human philosophy and logic but by adapting the terms of human philosophy and logic to explain the[i] biblical concepts[/i] of God.

If we begin with the biblical data regarding God but we must frame it in the language that is common to those who do not know Christ. IF we speak of God we must be clear exactly what we mean my “God.”

We must deal with the reality in which we live and present the biblical data as the best explanation of that reality meanwhile showing that naturalistic or other religious explanations fall short.

I will proceed with more detail as I make my way through this text and the others that I will be reading as well as the lectures that I will listen to. I would love to discuss this with those who have questions or who disagree with the the premise that we have begun with here. 

Check out the Apologetics section of the DISCUSSION FORUM on my website to get into a discussion on this subject.

In Christ!
Kevin

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