INTRODUCTION TO APOLOGETICS
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.
QUOTATIONS AND THOUGHTS
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.