Master of Arts in Apologetics Birmingham Theological Seminary

Personal Ministry Track
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Faith, Reason, and Apologetics

  • On what basis do we claim that Christianity is the truth?
  • What is the relationship between apologetics and theology? and evangelism?
  • Can philosophy, true science, historical knowledge be used to defend and promote the Christian faith?
  • How is our knowledge of the Christian truth related to our experience?

Greek noun apologia – a defense, vindication

  • Apologetics is for the believer and unbeliever
  • 3 functions: proof – defense – offense = persuasion
  • Rational basis for faith (truth claim)

Our overall objectives:

  1. Know the truth (faith)
  2. Defend the truth
  3. Advance the truth
  4. Be the truth

1 Pet. 3:15; 2 Tim. 2:24-26; Acts 17:18f; 1 Cor. 9:16f

3 most common, substantial methodological approaches:

1) Classical/rational – emphasis on reason and logical criteria (law of non-contradiction, self-consistency, comprehensiveness, coherence) i.e. philosophical proofs for existence of God and evidence that this God reveals Himself in Jesus and scripture; appeals to natural revelation (Rom.1:18f; 2:14-15).

2) Evidentialism – primary emphasis on empirical and historically reliable facts (lawyer) to demonstrate probability of Christianity.

  • Classical and Evidential – basically attempts to move a person from the possible to the plausible to probable.

3) Reformed – begins with presupposition that Christianity is true as revealed in the Bible, and that using human reason is at best inadequate or worse, doomed to fail because of man’s basic sinful and rebellious nature. Demonstrates the inadequacy and foolishness of the unbeliever’s finite position.

  • There are some nuances within this camp like those held by John Frame and Frances Schaeffer who do utilize evidences and rational arguments but as secondary to the presuppositions.

I Cor. 2; Eph.2:1; Rom.8:5-7; Acts 17:2,17; 18:4,19; 19:8-9; 28:23; 2Cor. 5:11; John 6:44; Acts 13:48.