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.
QUOTATION AND THOUGHTS
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.