Thursday, January 31, 2013

RC Sproul : The Illusion Of Descartes - Defending Your Faith Part 17

The illusion of Descartes


Rene' Descartes was a French philosopher and mathematician, born in La Haye,
France. In Bavaria, in the winter of 1619, he took on the mission to re-create the philosophical world by doubting every assumption and building a philosophy based on math. It may seem as though he was a wild-eyed mystic, but he was actually very quiet and careful, keeping many of his books from publication because Roman Catholicism was in the very act of condemning Galileo's work. But after his works were released, they caused a storm in philosophy and apologetics that still troubles and amazes us.


1. To begin a critique of the four explanations of reality.
2. To discuss the philosophy of Descartes and its impact on apologetics.


I can only trace the lines that flow from God. (Albert Einstein)
Sin has gotten man into more trouble than science can get him out of. (Vance Havner)
The scientific way of looking at the world is not wrong any more than the glassmaker's way of looking at the window. This way of looking at things has its very important uses.
Nevertheless the window was placed there not to be looked at, but to be looked through; and the world has failed of its purpose unless it too is looked through and the eye rests not on it, but on its God. (B.B. Warfield)


I. We start with four possibilities to explain reality.
a. Illusion: Reality is not real.
b. Self-Created: Reality came into existence through itself.
c. Self-Existent: Reality exists by its very nature.
d. Created: Reality is created by a self-existent being.

II. Descartes' Critique of Reality as Illusion

a) Rene' Descartes (1596-1650), a mathematician, was confronted by a wave of irrationality, an epistemological breakdown.
b) The controversies of Copernicus and the Reformation and Galileo created a crisis of authority.
c) Descartes attempted to restore certitude. "Clear and distinct ideas" were his goal, ideas that could reconstruct man's search for knowledge.
d) Illustration: What are ten things that I know for sure?
e) Descartes doubted everything that he could conceivably doubt, and whatever was left, that is where he would begin. Perhaps everything was just the dream of a demon, he offered.
f) He found that the one thing he could not doubt was that he was doubting. There is no way to escape the reality of doubt and the underlying reality that there is a doubter.

III. Assumptions of Self-Consciousness: Cogito, Ergo Sum
a) If Descartes is right, then whatever else is in doubt, our existence is not in doubt.
b) Going a bit further, if a piece of chalk actually exists, then a self-existent Creator must exist.
c) The two major assumptions of Descartes in this formula are the law of non-contradiction and the law of causality.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

RC Sproul : Four Possibilities - Defending Your Faith Part 16

Four Possibilities Of Reality


Many believe that what someone thinks about religion is his or her personal opinion, nothing more. Today, ideas about God are viewed as ultimately subjective, with no evidence supporting them, only bare feelings, intuition, or experience. In this study, Dr. Sproul makes it clear that not only are there reasons for God's existence, but if put together in a Biblical and logical fashion, there is proof for God's existence.


1. To be introduced to a means of proving the existence of God.
2. To gain confidence in doing apologetics.
3. To review the four possibilities that may explain reality.

Logic is the study of argument. As used in this sense, the word "argument" means not a quarrel (as when we "get into an argument"), but a piece of reasoning in which one or more statements are offered as support for some other statement. The statement being supported is the conclusion of the argument. The reasons given in support of the conclusion are called premises. We may say, "This is so and so (premises), therefore that is so (conclusion)." Premises are generally preceded by such words as because, for, since, on the ground that, and the like. Conclusions, on the other hand, are generally preceded by such words as therefore, hence, consequently, and it follows that. (S. Morris Engel)


I. There are several methods of establishing the existence of God.

II. Classical Apologetics: The First Steps

a) This method is influenced greatly by St. Augustine, who tried to establish a sufficient reason for the existence of God. This is done through a process of logical elimination.

b) We start with four possibilities to explain reality.
i. Illusion: Reality is not real.
ii. Self-Created: Reality came into existence through itself.
iii. Self-Existent: Reality exists by its very nature.
iv. Created: Reality is created by a self-existent being.

c) The simplest argument for the existence of God is, "If anything exists, God exists." That is, if something anywhere exists, then somewhere, there must be a self-existent being to make that so.

d) Illustration: Is the chalk here or not? How do we give sufficient evidence for this?

e) The first option is rarely held. The second option is the most popular option.
The third option is rarely held, but more so than the first.

f) Reason demands the existence of some kind of self-existence.

g) The classical argument attempts to go beyond mere probability to proof.
This will be a rational proof that compels a rational person to surrender to a rational proof.

III. Proof versus Persuasion

a) Proof is objective.
b) Persuasion is subjective.
c) Illustration: Charlie is dead.

IV. Not a Neutral Question

a. Unbelievers have an enormous vested interest to deny, deny, deny.
b. We are not called to persuade people, but to give good reasons for God's

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

RC Sproul: The Case For God - Defending Your Faith Part 15

The Case for God


What is the best way to explain the existence of God to a non-Christian? Is there one "best" way? The philosophical rubble from Kant's Pyrrhic victory over Aquinas has left Christians split over how apologetics should proceed. In this lecture, R.C. discusses the various options and identifies himself as a classical apologeticist.


1. To demonstrate the impact of Kantianism on modern apologetics.
2. To discuss the differences between evidentialist, classical, and presuppositional apologetics.
3. To demonstrate that logically, one must start with oneself in the quest to understand God's existence.


God is more truly imagined than expressed, and He exists more truly than is imagined.
We trust not because "a" god exists, but because "this" God exists. (C.S. Lewis)
Men and women who refuse to acknowledge God's existence do so, in the final analysis, because it is contrary to their manner of living. (R.C. Sproul)


I. The results of Kant's critique of the arguments for the existence of God were:
a. The church was confused.
b. Individuals were fideistic.
c. Illustration: Is there anyone else up there who can help me?
d. "I believe Christianity because it is absurd."
e. Empirical appeals to history and moral certitude (evidentialists). Note:
R.C. is not an evidentialist, but is classical. This view holds that there is not merely a high degree of likelihood that God exists, but compelling proof.

II. Presuppositionalism: Another Reformed view of apologetics

a) The book Classical Apologetics contains a critique of this viewpoint

b) Dr. Cornelius VanTil, who taught at Westminster Theological Seminary, was native Dutch, and this is one reason why there are so many interpretations of his work.

c) Presuppositionalism: In order to arrive at the conclusion that God exists, one must start with the premise that God exists. Without a foundation for reason, there can be no reason.

i. Objection: This is a classic fallacy of circular reasoning. The conclusion appears in the premise.
ii. Response: All reasoning moves in a circular fashion. Its start, middle and end relate to each other in a sense.
iii. Objection: This is the fallacy of equivocation. Circular reasoning has been redefined in midstream.
iv. Response: Greg Bahsen clarifies by saying that VanTil was saying that to assume rationality is in fact irrational without God's existence. You must assume the ground of reasoning before you affirm reason itself.
v. Second main objection: Nobody starts with God unless you are God.
Self-consciousness is where we start, not God-awareness.
vi. Response: You are capitulating to secular ideas, specifically Enlightenment ideas.
vii. Objection: This is not a deification of self, but self-consciousness.
Augustine said that as soon as one knows that one exists, then you can know that you are not God. This ends in humility, not autonomy.
viii. Presuppositionalists and classicists think the other is giving too much away to the world. Both agree that the construction of the idea of God is critical to the Christian life.

*I do not own this presentation. Used only for education purposes
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See the following links to purchase a High Quality Version of the presentation. Please support the ministry!

Monday, January 21, 2013

RC Sproul: Analogical Language Part 2 - Defending Your Faith Part 9


God is holy. But He is not wholly other. There are similarities between us and God: those initiated as we were created with the "image of God" internally imprinted on us, and highlighted in the Incarnation, as God proved that He was not completely different from us by becoming a man. And when we reach heaven, "We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is."


1. To understand the dangers of Karl Barth's idea of God as "wholly other."
2. To realize that the problems of communication can be overcome.
3. To understand the three kinds of language.


The incarnation of Christ is the clearest affirmation of the truth that man is created in the image of God. (Lawrence Adams)
Christ voluntarily took on himself everything that is inseparable from human nature. (John Calvin)
With the exception of being sinful, everything that can be said about a man can be said about Jesus Christ. (James Boice)


I. The Crisis of God-Talk and Karl Barth

a) Barth introduced the idea that God was wholly other to guard Him from being discussed rationally.
b) Illustration: R.C. in Canada
c) Illustration: Cool Hand Luke and a failure to communicate

II. Why do we fail to communicate?

a) Illustration: I say "chair" and you hear "chair", and example of communication working.
b) Illustration: I say "imminence" and you hear "M&M's."
c) If you cannot understand language, you cannot know much. If language cannot communicate, then we can know nothing about God.

III. Aquinas and Three Kinds of Language

a) Univocal: In a dialogue, when two parties understand a thing in exactly the same way. In this language, words retain their definitions.
b) Equivocal: When, within a dialogue, the definitions of portion of the language changes meaning. When one person communicates something to the other, the meaning changes.
c) Analogical: In communication, the definitions of words change proportionately to the difference in the beings dialoguing.
Illustration: Good dog vs. Good guy
d) We have a measured likeness to God; therefore, we have a corresponding ability to communicate with Him.

Friday, January 18, 2013

RC Sproul: Analogical Language Part 1 - Defending Your Faith Part 8

G.K. Chesterton said, "Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been tried and found difficult." Philosophy has definitely been tried and found wanting, but some of its richest treasures are not lying on the surface. Our study of analogical language is a good opportunity to break a mental sweat for God's glory and our sanctification.

1. To grow in an understanding of the necessity of analogical language.
2. To become familiar with the historical underpinnings of the modern attacks on language via logical positivism.

God does not expect us to submit our faith to Him without reason, but the very limits of reason make faith a necessity. (Augustine)
Education without religion, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil. (C.S. Lewis)

I. The fourth principle that non-theists attack is the analogical use of language. The first three are the law of non-contradiction, causality, and the basic reliability of sense perceptions.

II. The God-Talk Controversy or Theothanatology

a) In the late sixties, philosophers and theologians announced the death of God. The crisis came from the philosophy of logical positivism.
i. The Law of Verification
ii. "Only statements that can be verified empirically can be stated as true."
iii. Illustration: Gold in Alaska
iv. Analogical Use of Language
b) The law of verification can't be verified empirically. Thus ended this school of thought. But its assertions remain and should be challenged.

III. Some Christians take pride in the inability of non-theists to disprove their experiences or personal faith in God.

a) But ideas that cannot be disproved can also not be proved. This is "cheating."
Illustration: Ghosts
b) It is always easier to prove something than to disprove it. Illustration: Gold in Alaska Again
c) Within formal logic (such as the law of non-contradiction), it is not difficult to disprove a point.

IV. How does logical positivism impact us today? And from whence did it come?

a) Statements about God, according to the logical positivists, are merely emotive. Illustration: College Student and Significant Hymns
b) What is behind such a pessimistic approach to God? 19th and 20th century redefinitions of historic Christianity into naturalistic terms.
c) These naturalistic philosophers no longer needed God in their system because they suggested spontaneous generation as the means of creation of the universe.
d) This also entailed a rejection of the supernatural.
e) The theology that prevailed was pantheistic—God exists as part of the universe. This inability to speak about God as separate from His creation provoked the controversy that led to an overreaction—God is wholly other.
f) Rather than being one with nature, God is totally above and beyond nature.
This idea salvages God's transcendence, but ruins our ability to know God.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

RC Sproul: Reliability Of Sense Perception - Defending Your Faith Part 7

The third of the four principles of knowledge is the reliability of sense perception.
The formal questions about the reliability of our senses arise because of Humes's pointing out the limitations of what our senses can know about causality. Practically speaking, those who attempt to deny the basic trustworthiness of our perceptions end up being certified as insane. While our senses are not perfect, they provide true (though limited) information about the universe, or else God would not have the right to judge those who sin against Him. They could simply protest, "How could I have known?"

1. To see the seriousness of misunderstanding or ignoring this law.
2. To understand the limits of Hume's objections to common assumptions about causality.
3. To trust that God has not left us without a way to rightly know Him.

What is a fallacy? It is an error in reasoning. This differs from a factual error, which is simply being wrong about the facts. The various descriptions of fallacies are simply different ways in which the premises, true as they may be, do not lead to the conclusion.
A conclusion may be true and the premises be true, but the argument may still be bad because it is based on fallacious reasoning.

I. The laws of non-contradiction and causality are two of the four ideas attacked by non-theists.

a. The law of Non-Contradiction is necessary to survive.
b. Causality was most critically attacked by David Hume (1711-1776).

II. David Hume and His "Inquiry"

a) What we observe when we see things happen are "customary relationships" or "relationships of contiguity."
b) When one thing follows another, we begin to assume that that which follows is caused by that which preceded. This observation is the kernel of Hume's concerns.
c) How do we know that some other factor is interceding to create the illusion of a certain cause relating to a certain effect?
d) Descartes and Spinoza postulated invisible causes to that which could not be empirically observed. Hume's observations were critical to affirming or denying these kinds of speculations.
e) Illustration: Germs and Spirits

III. Hume and Pool Tables

a) Hume's most famous illustration of his concerns was from the game of pool.
b) Does anyone actually see the transfer of force from the cue to the ball? No.
We do not truly see causality, but we assume a causal nexus.
c) Illustration: Roosters and Sunshine.
d) Post hoc ergo propter hoc: "After this, therefore because of this."

IV. Did Hume disprove causality?

a) No. He proved that we cannot know cause and effect with ultimate certitude.
But the principle stays intact.
b) This leads to the third principle that is attacked by non-theists, that of sense perception. Hume reveals that sense perception has limits, but does not destroy the principle.
c) At best, we are all secondary causes. The power of God is, as Hume speculates, invisible and unseen. The primary cause of all effects is God, and thus His work actually complements Biblical theism rather than destroys it.
d) Kant affirmed that Hume's findings drove him to attempt to rescue science from skepticism. Kant understood that if Hume had destroyed causality, then not only theism, but all scientific inquiry, was in danger.

V. What is mind?

a) My senses cannot adequately determine causality (either prove it or see it consistently). But they are the only links I have between the world and the mind. And they are sufficiently powerful enough to assume that they are giving us a true (yet partial) view of reality.
b) "What is mind? No matter. What is matter? Never mind."
c) The brain gives rise to thinking, but thinking or consciousness itself is not physical.
d) Basic reliability of sense perception must be assumed because those senses are the only way in which the mind can gather data. Peter affirmed this as he reported that early believers were not clinging to clever myths or fables, but to things they had seen with their eyes and heard with their ears.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

RC Sproul: Law Of Causality - Defending Your Faith Part 6

The second of the four principles of knowledge is the law of causality. This law is defined as "Every effect must have a cause." A right understanding of this law can lead one to the answer to one of the greatest theological questions the seven year old can muster: "Who made God?" A wrong understanding can lead to denying the existence of God. Thus, the importance of this law should not be minimized.

1. To see the seriousness of misunderstanding or ignoring this law.
2. To understand the nuances of the word "effect."
3. To understand David Hume's objections to causality.

The mind is good—God put it there. He gave us our heads and it was not his intention that our heads would function just as a place to hang a hat. (A.W. Tozer)
It doesn't take a great mind to be a Christian, but it does take all the mind a man has.
(R.C. Raines)
Nothing but faith will ever rectify the mistakes of reason on divine things. (William S.

I. Four principles of knowledge are crucial for dialog about God.

a) Law of non-contradiction
b) Law of causality
c) Basic reliability of sense perception
d) Analogical use of language

II. The Law of Causality

a) Prior to the Enlightenment (which emerged in 18-century France), the principle of causality was the foundational and unchallenged argument for the existence of God. Aristotle began this tradition by arguing that God was the "First Cause" or "Unmoved Mover."
b) Bertrand Russell believed in God as a young man, but after reading John
Stuart Mill, who objected to the causal argument for the existence of God, he was convinced otherwise.
c) But Mill and Russell, great philosophers though they may be, made an error of definition. They believed that using causality as an argument for the existence of God only led to a series of infinite regressions.
d) They defined the law of causation as, "Everything must have a cause." But the true definition of the law is, "Every effect must have an antecedent cause." The God we claim exists is not an effect; He is uncaused. Thus, He does not require a cause. Therefore, infinite regress does not occur.

III. Understanding Causality

a. Formal truth and analytical truth
b. Illustration: A bachelor is an unmarried man.
c. Formal principles do not directly teach us anything about the real world.
d. Illustration: Dr. Sproul will not allow for uncaused effects.

IV. Conclusion: Did David Hume destroy causality and therefore causal arguments for the existence of God?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

RC Sproul: Law Of Contradiction - Defending Your Faith Part 5

This version of the video has a sound problem at the last 4 minutes of the video. I tried solving it but couldn't, but if you find the video interesting and want to watch the full version, please visit this link below:

True relativists are a dying breed—literally. You cannot live very long thinking that red lights can mean either stop or go, or that rat poison tastes like chocolate. There are grave natural consequences for embracing relativism on any level, and there are spiritual consequences for being a spiritual relativist as well. The law of contradiction, if true, challenges all types of dangerous relativism.

1. To sense the dangers of relativism.
2. To understand the existence of certain self-evident properties or assumptions about logic.
3. To understand that natural relativism and supernatural relativism are equally invalidated by the law of contradiction.

What are the two types of arguments? The two types of arguments are deductive and inductive. A deductive argument is an argument such that the premises provide complete support for the conclusion.
An inductive argument is an argument such that the premises provide (or appear to provide) some degree of support for the conclusion.
Deductive arguments prove validity; inductive arguments establish likelihood.

I. What changes have occurred in our society since the mid-sixties?

a) Assumptions about truth have changed. This led to the book The Closing of the American Mind by Alan Bloom. He showed that 95% of high school graduates enter college with a relativistic mind-set.
b) Bloom said: "Then what happens in the following four years is that those assumptions that they come to college with out of high school are now set in concrete because the academic community in modern America has a mind that is closed to objective truth. Truth is now perceived as being subjective, as a matter of preference."
c) This is bad news and good news.

II. Aristotle and Logic

a) Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) developed theories of physics, chemistry, drama, ethics and biology. As he proceeded, he developed theories of logic that we now call Aristotelian logic.
b) Logic was not a science, but the necessary tool for all scientific inquiry.
c) Illustration: Chalk is NOT chalk
d) Illustration: Salt shaker and non-salt shaker
e) Denials of ideas like the law of contradiction are forced and temporary.

III. Christian Relativism

a) Karl Barth and Emil Brunner were influenced by the philosophical speculation of Soren Kierkegaard. These men have had a profound impact, bringing relativistic, contradiction-embracing thought into theology.
b) The Scriptures teach as early as Genesis 3 that God assumed that mankind understood the law of contradiction.
c) Illustration: Adam as a student of Aristotle and Barth
d) Christians must embrace logic, the means to measure the relationship between premises and conclusions.

IV. Conclusion: God has built the human mind to be rational. The word of God is not irrational. It is addressed to creatures who have been given minds that operate from certain principles, the law of contradiction being one of them.

Monday, January 14, 2013

RC Sproul: Four Steps Backwards - Defending Your Faith Part 4

Epistemology is the study of how people know what they know. There have been many approaches to this, and some utterly fail to give any certitude to us in the areas of faith.
Why do some theories of knowledge fail and others succeed? And why is this important to Christianity? This study begins to answer that question by establishing four nonnegotiable presuppositions about knowledge.

1. To value the science of epistemology.
2. To become familiar with the terms surrounding elementary epistemology.
3. To apply the four basic principles of knowledge to our own ideas and the ideas presented to us by the world.

Argument: An argument consists of one or more premises and one conclusion. A premise is a statement (a sentence that is either true or false) that is offered in support of the claim being made, which is the conclusion.
The latter is also an idea that is either true or false.

I. What is epistemology?

a. How do we know what we know? How can we verify or falsify claims of truth?
b. Do we know only through senses or mind? Or formal proofs, such as mathematics?
c. As this relates to apologetics, it raises the question of what the "real" way is to prove the existence of God, the way that carries the most certitude.

II. Epistemology and Apologetics

a. How do the opponents of theism establish their negative case against the Christian faith? Almost all attack four foundational principles of knowing:-
i. Law of Non-Contradiction
ii. Law of Causality
iii. Basic Reliability of Sense Perception
iv. Analogical Use of Language
b) Certain presuppositions or assumptions must be analyzed concerning these four ideas. We do this by asking:-
i. What premises are asserted by opponents?
ii. What premises are assumed by Scripture?
iii. If these four concepts are negotiable, then not only theology but all sciences are rendered moot, or, at best, unreliable.

III. Conclusion: There is an analogy between Creator and creature that makes the epistemological assumptions of God our own.

Friday, January 11, 2013

RC Sproul: Pre-Evangelism - Defending Your Faith Part 3

God uses many means to draw people unto Himself. Not just a preaching of the
Gospel, or Bible study, or prayer, or baptism, though those are the ordinary means
He uses. He also used the godly disputation of apologetics as a way of extending an outer call to rebellious mankind. How can you participate in God's work in this area?
Dr. Sproul explains how.

1. To understand the need to study philosophy.
2. To understand the presuppositions of Reformed theology concerning conversion.
3. To understand the importance of the public nature of the foundational events of the New Testament (Christ's life, death and resurrection).

When a Christian presents the good news of Jesus Christ, he is preaching treason in the Devil's kingdom (Doug Barnett).
Assensus: Latin, "assent" or "agreement." Scholars distinguish three degrees of assent: firmitas, certitude, and evidential. The first is assent based on the authority of the person who tells you. The second is agreement based on accepted testimony. The third is assent based on evidence, from either personal sense-experience or reason. Apologetics seeks the third type of assent.

I. Beware vs. Aware

a) Many refuse to study classical theology or philosophy because they are afraid of being influenced.
b) But how can you beware of something you are not aware of in the first place?
Thus, some level of familiarity is necessary when avoiding sin or the influence of sinful ideologies.
c) We cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the proclamation and defense of Christianity.

II. Pre-Evangelism and Apologetics

a) The role of apologetics in pre-evangelism is to promote knowledge of God, but is not contrary to the doctrine of justification by faith alone.
b) Fides Viva means "a living faith." It is used in context of the discussion of the nature of saving faith. In this case:
i. Noticia: Know what data?
ii. Assensus: Affirm what propositions?
iii. Fiducia: Trust or love whom?
iv. The first two can be accomplished by demons. The latter is done only by the regenerate, through the Holy Spirit alone. The first two are the role of apologetics.
c) Fideism, or the belief that someone should take a blind leap of faith into Christianity, is dangerous. We are called to leap from darkness to light, not from darkness to darkness.
d) The greatest mysteries of the Christian faith were done in the open. This is why we can do apologetics—we can announce clear, public evidence to the world.

III. Conclusion: God commands us to do our homework, that He may use those means to draw people unto Himself. Part of the way in which we give people more certitude about the Christian claims is to point out the public nature of Christianity.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

RC Sproul: Why Apologetics? - Defending Your Faith Part 2

Apologetics is positive and negative. It sets forth the reasons for belief, and it tears down the opposing arguments. But if you can't argue anyone into the kingdom, why do it in the first place? Let's find out from Dr. Sproul.

1. To understand the offensive and defensive sides of apologetics.
2. To understand the difference between proof and persuasion.
3. To learn to appreciate and rely on the Scriptures and the rich tradition of apologetics as we confront the challenges of today.

Obstreperous (adj.): noisily resisting control or defying commands [from Latin, obstreperous, noisy]
St. Thomas Aquinas (1225—1274): Scholastic philosopher and theologian, born in Roccasecca, Italy. Most significant pre-Trent Catholic scholar other than Augustine. Three years after his death, a number of his views were condemned by Catholic authorities in Paris and Oxford, but in 1323, he was canonized by Pope John XXII, and in 1879, Pope Leo XIII issued an encyclical commending all his works to Catholic scholars.

I. Apologetics: Positive and Negative
a) We must state our position, positively affirming what the Christian church believes, if we are challenged. This can require much patience. b. We should also correct or tear down the false assumptions and irrationality present in other systems.

II. Where does apologetics start?

a) Some, like R.C., argue that apologetics starts with the existence of God.
Others say that you start with Scripture, or with history.
b) All apologetics systems that have any merit must affirm the depravity of man and the necessity of the Holy Spirit's work in conversion.

III. Why do apologetics?

a) To obey the Scriptures—see 1 Peter 3:15.
b) To shame obstreperous non-Christians, as John Calvin stated.
c) "The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God."
d) Christians should not surrender rationality and scientific inquiry to the secular world. The commonsense tools of learning can be used to corroborate the truth claims of Christianity.

IV. Proof and Persuasion

a) Proof can be offered, even irrefutable proof, but it does not necessarily lead to a change in belief.
b) The Holy Spirit causes the acquiescence into the soundness of the argument for the truth claims of the Christian faith. The role of the apologist is not persuasion, but proof.
c) Illustration: Charlie the Skeptic
d) "Those convinced against their will hold their first opinion still."
e) While we are not able to change minds, we are able to give a faithful defense and thus add credibility to the Christian faith.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

RC Sproul: Introduction to Apologetics - Defending Your Faith Part 1

Do you know what you believe and why you believe it? If you are like most Christians, you are not as certain of the answer as you would like to be. In this lecture, R.C. explains that the science of apologetics is designed to aid Christians in the joyful task and responsibility of defending their faith.

1. To understand the history and definition of apologetics.
2. To be encouraged to observe and imitate the Bible's apologetical methods.

Logos: Greek, meaning "word" or "reason". In Biblical Greek, especially in the book of John, it often refers to the Second Person of the Trinity. In early Greek philosophy, it was used to denote the supreme ordering force of the universe.

I. What is apologetics? :

a) Apologetics is devoted to promoting an intellectual defense for truth claims, in this case the truth claims of the Christian faith.
b) It has no reference to apologizing for something you did wrong, though it comes from the same Greek root.

II. The Bible and Apologetics:

a) First Peter 3:15 says, "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed."
b) The positive reason for apologetics is the sanctification of the Christian, but the negative one is to make non-Christians ashamed of attacking the Christian faith.
c) Justin Martyr wrote "The Apology" :-
- It was a response to the charges of sedition, cannibalism, and atheism by the Roman authorities.
- In 2001 John Ashcroft was forced to make a similar "apology" when he remarked, "We in America have no King but Jesus."
- Christians have always responded intellectually and Biblically to the various cultural and political movements that questioned the reality of the Christian faith.
d. The Logos and Apologetics
+ Early apologists appealed to the logos concept to explain the nature of Jesus to the Greek culture.
+ Logos was used in philosophical discussions among the Stoics and Heraclitians to denote the primary organizing force of the universe.
+ The Apostle John picks up on this and uses this word to explain the nature of Christ to a primarily Greek-thinking culture. But he fills it with Hebrew content and theology.
+ There are significant points of contact between the Christian and non-Christian world, in this case, a semantic one.
+ Sensing this connection, Gordon Clark translates the first verse of John's Gospel as, "In the beginning was logic, and logic was with God, and logic was God. And the logic became flesh and dwelt among us."

III. It is the contributions of the early apologists in interacting with surrounding cultural ideas that provide the first clues for the content of apologetics. The rest of this course will explore the implications and applications of this example.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

DVD-Based Study sneak peek (Who Do You Think You Are? curriculum preview)

Gen. George Marshall was a tireless and exemplary servant for his country and leaders during World War II. Likewise, the Apostle Paul promises us that as we labor both in this world and to God, we will receive just rewards for our faithfulness and effort.

This clip is a preview of Session #15, "I Am Rewarded," from the DVD-Based Study of Pastor Mark's new book Who Do You Think You Are? Take your small group through a study of Ephesians with this 16-week curriculum.

Learn more about the book and the study resources available:
Learn how your church can join the Ephesians campaign:

Monday, January 07, 2013

James Smith - Your Present Affliction

James Smith - Your Present Affliction

Hebrews 12:5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,

"My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son."

1 John 4:8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Why life is hard for Jesus and his people (sermon preview)

During the Christmas season, we tell the story of Jesus' birth and the visits from the shepherds and the wise men. But what happened after the shepherds and wise men left? In this sermon, Pastor Mark looks at the story of Jesus as a young child and why life is hard for Jesus and his people.

This clip is a preview of this Sunday's sermon, "Why Life Is Hard for Jesus and His People," the sixth and final part of our sermon series He Made Us Family: God's Work, Our Witness 2012, preached by Pastor Mark Driscoll out of Matthew 2:13--23.