How the Bible is not always important in apologetics, two non-Christian trends in apologetics, and why being biblical is essential to Christian apologetics.
Everyone has values.
Whether we express them, hide them, or are unaware of them, we all hold some principles more dear than others. Such is the case with Truth Story too.
In this series of posts I want to express some of the core values of this ministry. The first post underscores the importance of a Biblical foundation in apologetics: why the Word of God should hold first place in Christian apologetics.
The Bible Is NOT Always Important in Apologetics
Unfortunately, the Bible is not always front and center in apologetics.
Oftentimes you’ll see more philosophical or scientific values taking main stage. Apologists tend to convince audience members of generic theism through arguments, not always Christianity. This may not be the intention of the apologist, but it is a tendency of our profession. That is not our aim. Instead, we want our efforts to be underscored with genuine Biblical truth and not in a supplemental way. We want the Bible to speak loudly in apologetics. Because…
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
Truth Story is not alone.
Thankfully, many other apologetic ministries, blogs, YouTube channels, Christian thinkers, podcasts, and websites are thoroughly Christian in their dependence on the Bible. My hope is that we can be just as faithful to the Lord’s calling to deliver the Word of God to believers and unbelievers alike.
Unfortunately, not every apologist approaches their job like that.
Two Non-Christian Trends in ‘Christian’ Apologetics
Here are what two alternative approaches look like in the wild. You could even call them non-Christian trends in ‘Christian’ apologetics…
For one, some apologists focus on theistic apologetics.
In the first trend, the aim is to fight against atheism and not for the truth of Scripture. The hope of this approach is to pull atheists off their cultural high horses with sound theistic reasoning. There is a good reason to debunk theism. Atheism is not true and there many excellent arguments against it.
But when the apologist stops there, that is not Christian. That does not mean that every person who practices Classical Apologetics or is an Evidentialist is not a Christian – far from it. But a methodology that leaves the Bible out until after atheism is debunked is not a Christian approach.
Here’s what I mean: William Lane Craig’s Kalam Cosmological Argument for the existence of God does not ultimately point to the God of the Bible. If you believe in a deity after hearing that argument, it doesn’t have to be the Christian God. The Kalam argument can even lead you to believe in Allah, the god of Islam.
What is the result of believing in another god?
You’ll be no closer to the Truth than when you first started. In this instance, Allah is a false god (an idol), those who worship him are idolaters, and no idolater will inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9,10). So Craig’s approach in this argument may have value in discouraging atheism, but it is not Christian.
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10 – emphasis mine)
Second, there is a trend in Christian apologetics to devalue Scripture.
In 1996, the evangelist-minded Pope John Paul II supported ‘Theistic Evolution’, the idea that macro-evolution explains how God developed complex organisms from simple-cell organisms over the course of millions of years.
Although this same Pope would have affirmed the truth of the Bible, his effort to defend his version of Christianity directly contradicts the special creation of Adam & Eve (Genesis 2:7) – a perspective that even Jesus affirmed (Matthew 19:4). While his intention may have been good, John Paul II threw shade on the very Bible he claimed to believe. He devalued the Bible.
The point is not to disparage these men. The point is these apologetic trends can undermine the very purpose of Christian Apologetics: to defend the Christian faith as revealed in the Bible.
Our approach is markedly different from these two trends.
An Illustration About The Importance of Biblical Apologetics
We want our apologetic method to be thoroughly Biblical. We want the Bible to be in first place related to convincing someone about the truth of Christianity.
Here’s an illustration for why that’s necessary…
Supposed you and I lived 500 years ago before telegraphs, telephones, and T-Mobile. Imagine I was an ambassador to a distant, Eastern land and you were the king in our country. As the ambassador, I traveled to the Orient to understand this foreign nation’s customs, its people, and king. I spent time at their court, ate their food, drank their rice wine, and learned their language.
And this Eastern king was a diplomatic chap. He wanted you, our king, to know about him and his country. So he wrote a long letter to you. He described what he was like, what his people were like, and explained the values of his country. In the course of time, you summoned me back to your court. I left the distant country loaded with gifts, experiences, and a letter penned by the foreign king. After a long journey, I finally arrived home.
In an age without cell phones, pictures, or online videos, what would be the best way for our people to learn about this foreign land?
No doubt, there would be value in me relaying my experiences. I could show you the treasures the foreign king gave me and you could sample his rice wine. But the best way for you to understand this king and his country -from his perspective – is through the foreign king’s letter to you. No trinket, beverage, or personal experience could match the ruler’s words. Nothing even comes close.
This is a similar situation we have with the Bible.
This book contains the words breathed out by God (2 Timothy 3:16). It speaks of a king in a distant land. It describes customs, explains morals, and even contains some recipes for ancient dishes. Even if you don’t believe in this King right now, the King’s words would be the best source for understanding his character. No philosophy, theological argument, or scientific discovery will have the same effect as the King’s words.
Let God Speak For Himself
The Bible is not the only weapon that should be used to defend the faith. There are other useful tools in the apologetic toolbox: logic, scientific findings, archaeological discoveries, and more.
But the Bible is one essential tool in the defense of the Christian faith. Regardless of how effective the Cosmological Argument is, no person was ever saved from the Cosmological Argument alone. Instead, a person is saved when he or she hears and believes the gospel.
“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:14)
There are other values we hold dear at Truth Story. But the chief value should always be that we are Biblical. We want God to speak for himself whenever possible.