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Approaches to Apologetics (Part 2)

March 21, 2021 Speaker: Paul Mulner Series: Share THE Faith

Topic: Apologetics

Cumulative Case Approach (C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton)

  • Put all the appropaches we talked about last week in a blender.
    • Based on the idea that you really can’t have a formal approach and you should just have informal conversations that draw from a wide variety of areas.
      • Ends up being “Look around – families, politics, mental health, etc. etc., aren’t the results of Christianity really the best?”
      • And then, “Look at all this evidence” (usually for the resurrection)
  • What does this approach have going for it?
    i. Advocates very specifically for Christianity from start to finish
    ii. Seems very approachable; less formal
  • What are the unintended consequences of and problems with it?
    i. All the problems of the views that got put in a blender.

Reformed Epistemology (not related to Reformed Theology) (Alvin Plantinga, Kelly James Clark, Nicholas Wolterstorff, William Alston, George Mavrodes)

  • Premise: It is reasonable to believe certain things without evidence
    • e.g. You aren’t a brain in a vat imagining all this; you weren’t created 5 minutes ago with a fake memory of everything before that.
    • You don’t have evidence against these but you are justified in believing they aren’t true and that reality is reality. “Properly basic” is the theological term – basic enough that it needs no evidence.
  • Premise: belief in God is just such a belief.
    • Every person has within them a natural (a-logical) mechanism for belief in God.
  • What does this approach have going for it?
    i. Admits that the other approaches can’t get you “all the way there.” They cannot prove God.
    ii. Recognizes belief in God as a rational starting point
    iii. These guys kick butt in the academic philosophy world.
  • What are the unintended consequences of and problems with it?
    • Is satisfied to show that belief in Christianity is rational, not that it is the only true option
    • Fails to acknowledge that one can be rational, and wrong (e.g. Kids and Santa)

The last view I’m going to talk about is the “right one,” Presuppositional Apologetics. It’s funny that I say that because I agree with the Classical approach.

But I am that because I don’t believe there’s as much difference in practice between the two views as the “on paper” suggests. And “on paper,” the Presuppositional view is addressing a very important question that it’s easy for us to overlook.

Can you prove the supernatural, inerrant, ultimate superiority of the Bible using human reason as the foundation of your argument?
If the superiority of the Bible is going to be the conclusion of our argument, in what ways should it also be the foundation?