I suppose when most Christians refer to certain defenses made on behalf of Christianity, they tend to recommend specific lectures or books by learned apologists on the particular subject. It really is, "All right there! There are four reasons I tout this product above the competition. In the realm of law and government this thinking is horrendously common. They want to support a Christian end such as outlawing abortions, without making their arguments from Scripture verses Psalm , Psalm , etc. The "Free-will" defense is an extremely common philosophical rebuttal to those who would accuse God of being unloving, however where does Scripture ever make such a case?
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Preface Editors Preface The Apostle Peter instructs believers that they should be always ready to give a defense [apologia] to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you 1 Peter Greg Bahnsen was not only always ready to make such a defense, he was always ready to teach others how to prepare themselves for this essential work. It pleased God, in the mystery of His providence, to raise up this doubly-gifted man for the bene fit of His people in this generation.
That same mysterious Providence that gave us Dr. Bahnsen also called him home at the early age of 47he went to be with his Lord on December 11, Bahnsen left in his wake a legacy of apologetic evangelism. Not only was he one of the leading apologists and debaters of this century,1 taking on prominent atheistic champions, he was also devoted to seeing Christians at all levels equipped and competent to defend the faith themselves.
The defense of the Christian faith [apologetics] is the responsibility of every Christian. This was the heart-felt conviction of Dr. Bahnsen, who devoted much of his ministry to the training of men and women for this important task. He was eminently qualified to offer such training and instruction.
First, Dr. Bahnsen was a man who loved and was committed to his Lord Jesus Christhe was called by God to this task. He received a B. From there he went on to the University of Southern California where he received his Ph. Bahnsens theological opponents. Few, if any, were his equal when it came to intellectual acuity and debating skills. A prime example of his apologetic skills is witnessed in his famous debate at the University of California, Irvine, in , with atheist promoter, Dr. Gordon Stein.
Preface vii in the field of epistemology the theory of knowledge. His dissertation was on the subject of self-deception, making a significant contribution to this important apologetic issue.
While a student at seminary, he was called upon by the renowned apologist, Dr. Cornelius Van Til, to lecture for him in his apologetics course. Bahnsen has done much toward explaining, applying and even popularizing the work of Dr. Van Tils distinctive presuppositional apologetic. Bahnsen over several years and is intended to introduce students to important foundational concepts essential to biblical apologetics. The first section, previously published as a syllabus, provides a step-by-step explanation of key issues in Christian apologetics and establishes the biblical support for the presuppositional method.
The second section of this volume offers further practical advice on how to approach an apologetic situation and provides specific answers to particular apologetic questions such as the problem of evil.
The book concludes with an appendix giving a detailed exposition of the Apostle Pauls defense of the faith as he delivered it at the Areopagus in Athens, as recorded in Acts Every believer can profit from this material. It may prove especially useful as a textbook for school and church classes. As we become better equipped to defend the faith we find greater confidence and boldness to carry the message of the gospel to every dark place.
No challenge shall intimidate the believer as he gently and respectfully closes the mouth of unbelief. May God bless you in your preparation to be always ready. Your fellow servant, Randy Booth Director of Covenant Media Foundation Presuppositional apologetics is a distinct school of apologetic method, standing over against the classical Thomistic and fideistic methods.
This book is an explanation and application of the presuppositional apologetic method. Nevertheless it strikes at the very heart of our faith and of our faithful ness to the Lord. Sometimes the demand to assume a neutral stance, a non-committal attitude toward the truthfulness of Scripture, is heard in the area of Christian scholar ship whether it be the field of history, science, literature, philosophy, or whatever.
Teach ers, re searchers, and writers are often led to think that honesty demands for them to put aside all distinctly Christian commit ments when they study in an area which is not directly related to matters of Sunday worship. They reason that since truth is truth wherever it may be found, one should be able to search for truth under the guidance of the acclaimed thinkers in the field, even if they are secular in their outlook.
Is it really necessary to hold to the teachings of the Bible if you are to understand properly the War of , the chemical composition of water, the plays of Shake speare, or the rules of logic? Such is the rhetorical question of those who are disposed to insist on neutrality from Christians working in scholarly areas. Sometimes the demand for neutrality arises in the realm of apologetics defense of the faith. We are told by some apol ogists that they would lose all hearing with the un believing world if they were to approach the question of Scriptures truthfulness with a preconceived answer to the question.
We must be willing, according to this outlook, to approach the debate with unbelievers with a common attitude of neutralitya nobody knows as yet attitude. We must assume as little as possible at the outset, we are told; and this means that The Lordship of Christ in the Realm of Knowledge we cannot assume any Chris tian premises or teachings of the Bible. Other times the plea for neutrality in the thinking of the believer comes with reference to schools. Some Christ ians feel that there is no real urgency for Christian schools, that secular education is all right as far as it goes, and that it needs only to be supplemented with Christ ian prayer and Bible reading in the home.
Thus the idea is that one can be neutral when it comes to education; ones Christian faith need not dictate any particular assumptions or way of learning about the world and man.
We are told that the facts are the same at state schools as they are at Christian schools; so why insist that your children be taught by committed believers in Jesus Christ?
Well then, in these and many other ways we can see that the Christian is called upon to surrender his distinctive reli gious beliefs to temporarily put them on the shelf, to take a neutral attitude in his thinking. Satan would love this to happen. More than anything else, this would prevent the conquest of the world to belief in Jesus Christ as Lord.
More than anything else, this would make professing Christ ians impotent in their witness, aimless in their walk, and disarmed in their battle with the principalities and powers of this world. More than anything else, such neutrality would prevent sanctification in the Chris tians life, for Christ said that His followers were sanctified set apart by the truth. Immediately He went on to declare, Thy word is truth John Whatever some people may say with respect to the demand for neutrality in the Christians thoughtthe demand that believ ers not be set apart from other men by their adherence to Gods truththe fact is that Scripture sharply differs with this demand.
Contrary to neutralitys demand, Gods word demands un reserved allegiance to God and His truth in all our thought and scholarly en deavors. It does so for a good reason. Paul infallibly declares in Colossians that All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hid in Christ. Note he says all wisdom and knowledge is deposited in the person of Christwhether it be about the War of , waters chemical composi tion, the literature of Shakespeare, or the laws of logic!
Every academic pursuit and every thought must be related to Jesus Christ, for Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. John To avoid Christ in your thought at any point, then, is to be misled, untruth ful, and spiritually dead.
To put aside your Christian commit ments when it comes to defending the faith or sending your children to school is willfully to steer away from the only path to wisdom and truth found in Christ. It is not the end or outcome The Robbery of Neutrality of knowledge to fear the Lord; it is the beginning of knowledge to reverence Him Prov.
Paul declares that all knowledge must be related to Christ, then, according to Colossians 2. He says this for our protec tion; it is very dangerous to fail to see the necessity of Christ in all our thinking. So Paul draws to our attention the impos sibility of neutrality in order that no one delude you with crafty speech. Instead we must, as Paul exhorts, be steadfast, confirmed, rooted, and es tablish ed in the faith as we were taught v. One must be presuppositionally committed to Christ in the world of thought rather than neutral and firmly tied down to the faith which he has been taught, or else the persuasive argumentation of secular thought will delude him.
Hence the Christian is obligated to presuppose the word of Christ in every area of knowledge; the alternative is delusion. In verse 8 of Colossians 2 Paul says Beware lest any man rob you by means of philosophy and vain deceit. By attempting to be neutral in your thought you are a prime target for being robbedrobbed by vain philosophy of all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge which are deposited in Christ alone cf. Paul explains that vain philosophy is that which follows the world and not Christ; it is thinking which submits to the worlds demand for neutral ity rather than being pre suppositionally committed to Christ in all of our think ing.
Are you rich in knowledge because of your commitment to Christ in, scholarship, apologetics, and schooling, or have you been robbed by the demands of neutrality? The Lordship of Christ in the Realm of Knowledge 2: The Immorality Of Neutrality All the treasures of wisdom and knowl edge are to be found in Christ; thus if one were to try and arrive at the truth apart from commitment to the epistemic authority of Jesus Christ he would be robbed through vain philosophy and deluded by crafty deceit see Col.
Consequent ly, when the Christian approaches scholarship, apologetics, or schooling he must staunchly refuse to acquiesce to the mistaken demands of neutrality in his intellectual life; he must never consent to surrender his distinc tive religious beliefs for the time being, as though one might thereby arrive at genuine knowledge impartially. The beginning of knowledge is the fear of the Lord Prov.
Attempting to be neutral in ones intellectual endeavors whether research, argumentation, reasoning, or teaching is tantamount to striving to erase the anti thesis between the Christian and the unbeliever. Christ declared that the former was set apart from the latter by the truth of Gods word John Those who wish to gain dignity in the eyes of the worlds intellectuals by wearing the badge of neutrality only do so at the expense of refusing to be set apart by Gods truth.
In the intellectual realm they are absorbed into the world so that no one could tell the difference between their thinking and assumptions and apostate thinking and assumptions. The line between believer and unbeliever is obscured. Such indiscrimination in ones intellec tual life not only precludes genuine knowledge cf. In Ephesians , Paul commands the followers of Christ that they The Immorality of Neutrality no longer walk as the Gentiles also walk, in the vanity of their mind, being darkened in their under standing, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance in them, because of the hardening of their heart.
Christian believers must not walk, must not behave or live, in a way which imitates the behavior of those who are unredeemed; specifically, Paul forbids the Christian from imitating the unbelievers vanity of mind.
Christians must refuse to think or reason according to a worldly mind-set or outlook. The culpable agnosticism of the worlds intellec tuals must not be repro duced in Christians as alleged neutrality; this outlook, this approach to truth, this intellectual method evidences a darkened understand ing and hardened heart.
It refuses to bow to the Lordship of Jesus Christ over every area of life, including scholarship and the world of thought. One has to make this basic choice in his thinking: to be set apart by Gods truth or to be alienated from the life of God. It cannot be two ways. One shall be set apart, set against, or alienated from either the world or from the word of God. He will stand in contrast to that intellectual method which he refuses to follow.
He either refuses to follow Gods word or he refuses to follow the vain mind-set of the Gentiles. He distin guishes himself and his thinking either by contrast to the world or by contrast to Gods word. The contrast, the antithesis, the choice is clear: either be set apart by Gods truthful word or be alienated from the life of God. Either have the mind of Christ 1 Cor. Either bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ 2 Cor.
Those who follow the intellectual principle of neutrality and the epistemo logical method of unbelieving scholarship do not honor the sovereign Lordship of God as they should; as a result their reason ing is made vain Rom.
Always Ready: Directions For Defending The Faith
Always Ready (Greg Bahnsen)