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Current Issue of AP - the Evangelical Reformed Christian Magazine

AP0214-lrgEditorial

Christian apologetics sounds like we are apologising for something, but it actually means “defence”. How can we go about defending the Christian faith? In a real sense, it defends itself, and is self- authenticating. It only needs to be proclaimed to be convincing. Yet there is a place for apologetics. One might go about it in three possible ways:

(a) Presuppositionalism. Here, one points to the truth of God as the starting point of the argument rather than the conclusion. Oddly enough, Scripture uses this approach when we would not. For example, God does not comfort suffering Job but declares His sovereignty and His right to do as He will (Job 38). Paul does something similar in defending the doctrine of predestination (Rom. 9:19-24).

(b) Verificationalism. I am not sure if that is a word, but we press on! Paul sets up two models in 1 Corinthians 15:12-19. What if the resurrection of Christ is not true? It would mean that no sins are forgiven and that the apostles are liars. What if Christ is risen from the dead? It means that Christianity is true in all its claims. Jesus is indeed the eternal Son of God, and all His teaching is vindicated. There is no middle ground.

(c) Evidentialism. The miracles of Jesus and the apostles were not done in a corner, so to speak (John 11:47; Acts 4:16; 26:26). On one occasion, the risen Christ appeared to over five hundred men (1 Cor.15:7). This placed them in an awkward position. The resurrection proves that Jesus is Lord. If HeisLord,Heistobeobeyed. IfHeis obeyed, His followers were liable to persecution, even death. So the early Christians were very certain that they served a risen Saviour!

There are arguments for God everywhere in the universe. According to William Blake,

A riddle, or the cricket’s cry Is to doubt a fit reply.

The whole creation declares the existence of the Creator. Hence C. S. Lewis’ tongue-in-cheek warning: “A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. The Christian can speak with confidence for truth has power, and the Holy Spirit is at work in the strangest of places.”

Peter Barnes

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