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).
QUOTATIONS AND THOUGHTS
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.