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Jan
18

A Brief - Apologetic Methods, Reason and Faith and My Choice   

Posted by admin Lead Team     Apologetics

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January 18th, 2016

Apologetic Methods, Reason and Faith and My Choice

by Pastor Sam Kahn

I recently wrapped up my Apologetics class and the discussion board assignment to describe the purpose of apologetics was the first assignment.  The below is what I wrote based on my thoughts at the time and having read from the books in the bibliography.  God Bless.  Pastor Sam Kahn

     There are various methods to apologetics that are used to present Christianity to the world and defend the Word of God. These strategies run through a range between faith and reason and have an effect on how a person reacts to an apologetic method. Simply put reason is the power of the mind to think and understand in a logical way. (Merriam Webster) James K. Beilby stated that of the two types of reason Luther and Calvin acknowledged (magisterial and ministerial) that “ministerial use of reason: namely, that reason might fruitfully aid the faithful in their interpretation of Scripture, and in the articulation and defense of the truths found in it.”[1] Faith is; according to Merriam Webster, a belief in the existence of God: strong religious feelings or beliefs. R. C. Sproul breaks faith into three parts or levels and leaning on Luther and Calvin states “the only kind of faith that saves is what Luther called a fides viva — a living faith.”[2] The three parts of faith support this living faith and are required to reach this kind of faith: Fiducia or “personal trust;”[3] Assensus or “intellectual assent;”[4] And Notitia or “understanding of the content.”[5] Scripture states it concisely in Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”[6]

 

     There are several methods of apologetics that balance reason and faith like a teeter totter. On one end is reason and on the other faith. The evidentialist method that sits on the end of the teeter totter with reason and uses evidence to defend the claims of the Bible. Presuppositionalism sits with faith on the other end and as Douglas Groothuis states that “unless a person presupposes Christianity, he or she cannot make any sense of the world morally, logically or scientifically.”[7] Another strategy is the experientialist method which is simply that everything comes to an understanding in a person through experience.

     Having looked at and processed thoughts on the coexistence of faith and reason and some of the methods of the apologetic process I have to say that I lean towards the evidentialism method in that I grew up with a have to see it to believe it mentality. That might be caused by a preunderstanding influence of the times I grew up in. Most of my current understanding has been through a reasoned and logical approach to the scripture. As my reason and faith grew through reading of the scripture and life experience so did my understanding. That is not to say that there isn’t a living faith without evidence and reason. I have had experiences that I use when speaking with both believers and non-believers and I have had to rely on presupposing divine revelation or similar aspect of the Bible when the opportunity arises. Simply put even though I use evidential reason for the most part, my salvation was by faith and I had to presuppose the truth of the gospel at the moment I reacted to Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

 


Bibliography

Beilby, James K. Thinking About Christian Apologetics:  what it is and why we do it. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2011.

Groothuis, Douglas. Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith. Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2011.

Sproul, R. C. Defending your Faith: an Introduction to Apologetics. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2003.

 


[1]               James K. Beilby. Thinking About Christian Apologetics:  what it is and why we do it. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2011), 59.

[2]               R. C. Sproul. Defending your Faith: an Introduction to Apologetics. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2003), 22.

[3]               Ibid.

[4]               Ibid., 23.

[5]               Ibid., 24.

[6]               Unless otherwise noted, all biblical passages referenced are in the English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2001).

[7]               Douglas Groothuis. Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith. (Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2011), 62.


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