Backyard Apologetics: Part 1-Whence comes our method?

Officially beginning our weekly series into apologetics, the first step to climb is the one involving method: since we are to defend our faith, how are we to do this? Specifically, where are we to derive our method of defending Christianity? Many Christians might answer, “The Bible.” They would, however, be instantly shot down by unbelievers and accused of arguing in a circle. “You cannot use the Bible to tell you how to defend Christianity,” they argue. “That’s circular reasoning! You’re assuming the Bible is true! You have come to this question on a neutral ground and prove the Bible is true before you can use it like that!” This is, without a doubt, the spirit of our age. We must first, by some neutral means, find a way to prove the Bible is true; we cannot derive our methodology from it without engaging in circular reasoning. So, if the Christian cannot use the Bible to tell him how to defend the faith, where can he look to?

First, it must be noted that Christians ought to be rigorous in their logic. There is an unfortunate strain in Christianity that sees thinking as being somehow unspiritual and detrimental to true faith. Somehow, Christians are not supposed to use the minds given to them by God; they are, apparently, supposed to take a blind leap. It must be stated firmly, however, that God is the God of logic, being the source of all things, and Christ possess all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Rom. 11:36; Col. 2:3). Christians have an obligation to think logically and critically in this world.

Second, and most important to our discussion, the objection raised by the unbeliever is invalid for several reasons. First, his commitment to neutrality is a myth: neutrality does not exist. I do not mean that this person does not really claim to hold to neutrality; I mean that, consistently, it is impossible for someone to come to every belief neutral. For example, Jesus teaches that you are either with Him or against Him (Matt. 12:30; Luke 11:23). If the unbeliever, though, says that he is not with or against Jesus and is just neutral, then the unbeliever is rejecting what Jesus says and is therefore not being neutral. Anyone claiming to be neutral will fall into the same trap; it is impossible to maintain.

The other reason the objection to use the Bible is invalid is because of the nature of Scripture. Christians believe the Bible to be God’s Word. It is breathed out by God and contains no error as a result (2 Tim. 3:16-17). An implication of inspiration, and key to our discussion of deriving our method, is the following: because God’s Word is breathed out, it is the final authority on all matters. God’s Word is the final authority on all it says because there is no authority higher than God speaking. This means that the Christian is, in a sense, forced to use the Bible to prove the Bible because of its nature. If an appeal is made to something outside the Bible to prove the Bible, that source is made an authority over Scripture. This, it must be noted, is the case for any supposed final authority: every worldview/belief system will have an authority that is proved by what it is and by nothing above it. 

What does this mean for the Christian? First, neutrality is a myth. No one is truly neutral, no matter what they may claim. Second, the Christian must have no qualms about using the Bible in the defense of the faith. It is the final authority, and they should be encouraged to stand on it. If the unbeliever says that this is arguing in a circle, the Christina must point out that every worldview has one that must do the same thing: prove itself by what it is. Having laid this foundation, next week we will address the first step in our method: the Lordship of Jesus.

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