Apologetics Myths

Here’s some wisdom for witnessing from Chris Wooldridge (reposted with permission):

I have recently been reading Cornelius Van Til’s “Christian Apologetics” and it has really got me thinking about how the Church ought to be interacting with the world on some of today’s hot topics. I think all too often we are prone to affirming certain parts of the secular worldview without properly considering the consequences. So here are five things which the good Christian apologist should never agree with the secularist about. There are probably many others, but here are just a few.

1) “Both of us believe in the laws of science”

We should never affirm that any such impersonal, unchangeable ‘laws’ exist (cf 2 Peter 3:3-4). By agreeing with the secularist on this matter the apologist is basically affirming a materialistic worldview from the outset. Contrary to this, we must insist that God directly and personally governs the universe through his Spirit (eg. Psalm 104); the ‘laws’ of science are merely conventions which God is free to break whenever he so desires.

2) “Both of us are honestly pursuing the truth, we have just come to different conclusions”

The Apostle Paul does not reason this way. He insists that those who deny the gospel are fools (Romans 1:22-23) and that they “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18-19). Deep down in his heart of hearts, the secularist knows that Jesus is Lord of the universe and he is doing everything he can to actively suppress that truth. He has become so accustomed to doing this that he has become blind (2 Corinthians 4:3-4) and hard-hearted (Ephesians 4:17-18).

3) “The existence of God is a complex issue”

Psalm 19 teaches that the existence of the triune God is crystal clear from the world he made; that creation is constantly screaming the good news about its Creator and about his graciousness towards us. It is our sinfulness which blinds us and keeps us from recognising this self-evident fact.

4) “We should begin outside of faith and the Bible and investigate these issues independently”

The secularist is not capable of investigating anything independently because he is blind. He needs to recognise the reality of his sinfulness through hearing the good news about God’s grace revealed in Jesus (Romans 1:16-17). The apologist is not seeking to win an argument, but to lead a non-Christian to repentance.

5) “Faith should be a private matter”

Christianity is about proclamation. You cannot be a Christian and be quiet about it. The Apostles did not keep silent even after violent persecution (Acts 4) and neither should we. We would be hypocrites if we failed to speak out against the sinful practices of the world, if we did not denounce evil and rejoice in good. This applies in the ‘political’ sphere just as much as in the ‘personal’ one. Jesus is lord over all the kings of the earth (Psalm 2).

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2 Responses to “Apologetics Myths”

  • Ethan Russell Says:

    Amen. That’s a solid list. I could be accused of sounding like a broken record on #2. It’s called UNbelief because we complicate and undo it.

  • Simon Kennedy Says:

    Nice one, Mike. #4 is vital! The unbeliever is, as you say, blind. As apologists (which really means evangelists) we are to show them the truth about who God is and who they are. Winning an argument doesn’t achieve that; the Holy Spirit does.