Thursday, July 8, 2010

Gospel centered apologetic approach

Step 1 Materialism disprove by empirical facts

a. The existence of the mind
Materialism assumes that only the physical universe exists. Therefore, everything has evolved from our material environment.
However, humans do have at least one immaterial organ called the mind. Our minds can process information and develop ideas that do not come to us through the physical environment. Scientist are incapable of refuting this idea, since encountering this argument validates the existence of their own minds.
Some have claimed that while the mind is immaterial, it is the by-product of the brain. This worldview fails to explain why ideas foreign to the environment are still being produced.
The implications of an immaterial substance such as the mind are staggering. The mind being immaterial is not necessarily subject to scientific law. Even the death of the brain doesn't stop the existence of the mind. Theoretically a mind could live in an immaterial plane forever.
b. The existence of other minds (spirits, God)
Now that we have found evidence of another dimension where these ideas are given out. It stands to reason that if the mind may exist in this realm and all humanity has a mind. Then there is a realm of spirits. This realm may contain not only human spirits but other spiritual beings as well.

c. The science of psychology
While it is true that psychology is not a hard science, psychology applies the scientific method to the human mind. With nearly two centuries of documentation is we have enough evidence to show that the the mind and the spiritual/mental worlds are indeed a reality.

Some may look this argument and wonder "why do we have to answer the objections of materialism if only a small population actually hold these views?" We must answer these objections in order that others do not use this scheme as a way of denying the Christians their right to present a truth claim. When in search of truth we must find more than conviction but also authority.

Step 2 Religion proved as an empirical fact
A. Regardless of worldview, humanity relates itself to something which is transcendent.
B. Humanity also finds itself inadequate, needing to ascend to a higher plane.

What we are doing here is establishing universally accepted facts. Many people do not notice just how authoritative their beliefs are. But upon when majority opinions are discovered, they shrink the intellectual opposition drastically. It is the experience of all people that they relation to something higher and they find themselves to be short of it. Humanity is designed as a religious race. There has to be a reason and truth behind it.

Step 3 The Christian Experience has the right to be assumed.
(Christian experience is understood as the sum and universal experience of Christians from gospel presentation through death; also known as Christian testimony)
(as a prerequisite to this argument a full gospel presentation is advisable.)
A. Christian experience answers the universal needs of religion.
Since religion is empirically true, we now see how that correlates with the christian religious experience. Christianity obviously answers these universal maxims. Qualifying it's existence as a truth claim.
B. Christian experience has a great multitude of witnesses which claim faith as fact.
So essentially as the old argument goes "on the testimony of two witnesses" truth is established in a court of law. The millions of christian testimonies is now weighed as evidence to the christian truth claim.

C. Christian witness is not just subjective but historical as well.
We need to notice the wide variety of witnesses. All walks of life, young-old, nationality-skin color, past-future all religious backgrounds, professions etc. This shows the truth and durability of the NT religion.

This method at this point becomes very practical to ministers. Because they not only prepare the lost for the gospel. They also build the gospel presentation into it. Apologetics is now properly assisting evangelism.

Step 4 The Christian experience implies revelation
A. If the effect of Christian experience is true, then the cause of divine revelation is valid.
B. If divine revelation is fact then Christianity is no longer subjective, but objective fact. (this is because the divine word teaches such of itself.)

This is a key stage of the apologetic argument. We are now moving from subjective claims to objective facts. Presuppositionalism has always had problems establishing it's authority to those skeptical because their facts are not universally accepted. Classical apologetics has always had trouble using their subjective evidence to make absolute assertions. The combination of both strengths is then reinforced in the gospel presentation which reaches the minds of all and reinforces the convictions of the faithful.
Notice the law of cause and effect being used to translate the logic.

Step 5 Christianity with authority as presuppositional fact.
A. All alternative worldview religions must pass the test of logical coherence before their criticisms may be rendered valid.
(we know of course all the false religions will fail.)
B. Questions of coherence may be asked by Christians towards the scriptures. Other worldviews will lack authority to criticize since they will be proved to be irrational.
(the Bible is coherent. So at this point we seek answers from the scriptures over any concerns.)
By faith and a lot of experience I understand that the Bible has no contradictions. While we must be prepared to answer objects we are in desperate need to demand answers of the alternative religions. A spoonful of sugar may help the medicine go down. But everybody knows... too much sugar rots out your teeth!

step 6 biblical support for the steps of the argument
a. 2Corinthians4:7, Romans 1:19-20
b. psalm 117, acts 17:22-30
c. 1corinthians 15:1-9, 2 corinthians 3:2-3
d. galatians 1, matthew 5:18-22
e. job 38-40

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

What do you believe about believing?

What is faith's nature?
A. faith is belief:In the Greek "pisteuo" is the same word translated "believe" or "faith". So to have faith is synonymous with believe.
14:23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because [he eateth] not of faith: for whatsoever [is] not of faith is sin.
Romans 14:23

B. belief is passive: To believe is to receive information. Therefore it is not a work.
1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name:
John 1:12

What is biblical faith?
A. Faith is presuppositional
Belief is subjective for humans. However it understands itself to find origin in revelation. Faith finds it's authority not in a man made means of determining truth, but receives the objective truth in the revelation from the mind of God.
Matthew 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed [it] unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

B. Faith is not artificial/imaginary
faith in the New testament is referred to as blind. Meaning that it is not developed by the human mind, but instead is delivered by God
2Corinthians 7(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
18Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,

What is saving faith?
A. Saving faith is in Christ
Christ is the object of saving faith.
5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: 5:15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
1 John 5:13-15

B. Saving faith is the by-product of the gospel.
10:17 So belief `cometh' of hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
Romans 10:9-17

Is saving faith true?
A. Saving faith is rational
If faith were irrational it could not be perceived or verified as true. It may even be a lie.
1 Corinthians 14:33
33For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

How can Protestants have faith without works?

A. Faith means belief.
As stated earlier the Bible says we will be justified without our own righteousness.
Romans 3:19-23
"19Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 21But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"

B. There are good works, they are imputed by Christ as grace.
Christ was the sinless spotless lamb. Therefore, His good deeds gave him credit in the eyes of God.

C. Regeneration and good works/sanctification come as the by-product of saving faith alone.
8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9Not of works, lest any man should boast.
10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10
Good works can only be considered good after justification and regeneration.
Philippians 3:7-8
7But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
8Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

Saving faith is without works, yet it will by nature create good works.
14:23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because [he eateth] not of faith: for whatsoever [is] not of faith is sin.
Romans 14:23
James 2:18
18Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

We must remember there is one faith unto salvation.
4There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
5One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
6One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. ephesians 4:4-6

16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:16