Apologetics- Where do I begin?

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Puritan Board Graduate
In several of Lewis' (relatively) little known journal articles collected and published as God in the Dock, he uses presuppostional questions without labelling his method.

But he does it all the while with a pre-modern Medieval epistemology more akin to Aquinas or Anselm than to Van Til.

And Megan--do read the classics: read your Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas (the three A's of pre-reformation theology), your church fathers, etc. You will not only be richer, but you will have a better understanding of what Christianity actually teaches. Improve your theology.


Puritan Board Senior
A few of you here seem to be saying that philosophy etc... is useless because it is not the gospel, well, we use philosophy etc for God's glory!!! But yes, after the philosophy comes out then the gospel follows or is mixed in.


Puritan Board Sophomore
Ben: the theistic arguments, as I was saying, don't have the initial compulsion that the resurrection arguments do. At least it doesn't seem to me that they do. And it is possible to use the resurrection argument as an indirect proof of God's existence, I think.

Brian Withnell

Puritan Board Junior
I'm not quite sure what you mean here. I think the church owes a great debt to the heretics, because they force the Church to define herself and refocus on scripture. The Church would be poorer without the Nicene Creed, the Institutes, the WCF, and Christianity and Liberalism.

I agree, the church had to hone the theology she embraced because of the heresies with which she was distressed. But I don't think the church "owes" anything to heretics. That is sort of like saying that the man who robs me is one to whom I owe the strengthening of my house against break-in. We owe no debt to the breast cancer that killed my first wife, even if it made her surgeon realize that breast cancer must be treated *very* aggressively in young women. Society owes nothing to the murderers of the man who was beat to death a couple of miles from my house, even if it makes the rest of us realize there is a need for vigilance even in affluent neighborhoods, even during the day.

I may be beating a dead horse ... but sometimes the thought process allows criminals to be looked at as victims, rather than the scum they (and all of us sinners) are.

-----Added 10/26/2009 at 06:04:27 EST-----

Doctrinal reclarification implies growth and depth. That is needed in and of itself. The heretics are just God ordained means.

The need was always there, the only question was how is it going to be brought to reality.

We should always want to know more about God and dig more and more into his revelation. If we did so, the heretics would never have any place to set up shop.

Without heretics and heresy, there would be no need for doctrinal growth and depth; we would be free of error.

Lack of contradiction does not imply full growth. For example, the only reason that it is good that we have the Westminster confession over the Apostles Creed is so that we can fend off heretics? Or put another way, it is only better to have a deeper and fuller knowledge of God is because a heretic might come to my door?


How about this as a joining statement ... in heaven, there will be no heretics, and no man will say to another "know the Lord" for the Lord will write on our hearts all that we need to know. From my perspective, this is better than anything we have here ... and there will be no more who teach falsely in all God's holy mountain. God uses heretics to sharpen our theology in this fallen age, but when what is perfect is fully realized, we will have no need for teaching.


Puritan Board Senior
Ben: the theistic arguments, as I was saying, don't have the initial compulsion that the resurrection arguments do. At least it doesn't seem to me that they do. And it is possible to use the resurrection argument as an indirect proof of God's existence, I think.

Well, since the resurrection argument is probabilistic (because based on inference to the best explanation), part of the probability comes from the prima facie plausibility and non-ad hocness of the event. A theistic explanation of the resurrection has an increased plausibility if the existence of God is established prior.

I agree that the veracity of the resurrection would skip the theistic proofs and seem to prove Christianity in a more direct fashion (giving it more compulsion, as you say), but the point WLC makes in Five Views on Apologetics is that it's a lot easier to establish the historicity of the resurrection from a theistic foundation. Not that it's impossible to do without theistic proofs, just that it's easier with them.


Puritan Board Sophomore
First I would like to ask why the interest in apologetics?

Honestly, it is mostly a selfish motivation. When I was in high school I just had a strong desire to learn, and apologetics was one of the things that piqued my interest. Now I have a pretty much insatiable desire to understand the Bible. My desire to study apologetics and philosophy isn't as strong, but it's up there. I just want to be able to defend the faith when I talk to family members who aren't saved, alongside knowing Christian truths of course and I hope that God will use that. Another reason is that logic and debate is interesting to me and I want to be a rock of truth amidst people who don't want to think their way through deciding their beliefs, but just pick and choose whatever feels good.

Now the second reason is because I want to know enough about the subject so that when my kids ask me how we can know Christianity is true, and can give them a solid answer. And I want it to be some part of our homeschool curriculum. There's a podcast by a Christian named Randall Niles who ever since he was twelve asked his parents questions about how we know there is a God, etc and they always said "well, you just have to have faith," and nothing more. He ended up becoming an atheist, and only after a several year search of the truth as an adult he ended up converting to Christianity. Now that has been in my mind ever since and I really don't want to make that mistake with my kids.

-----Added 10/24/2009 at 11:02:45 EST-----

Oh, SolaSaint, if my avatar is worrying you about my grounding in the faith, don't let it. It's just a joke. :lol:

Thanks for the reply, sorry I've been away for about 3 days. I loved your reasons for wanting to study apologetics especially for teaching your kids about God and His truths. God bless!
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