But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect 1 Peter 3:15
As Bible-believing Christians, we are instructed by Scripture to be ready at all times to give an answer for the reason we believe and for the hope that is in us. This is called “apologetics.” Despite how it sounds, it does not involve Christians going around apologizing for their faith. Apologetics simply means being able to present a defense for the faith to all would-be comers.
Apologetics was one of the main reasons that I launched Across the Fruited Plain last September. If you’ve read a few of my articles focusing on Creation or Science vs. Evolution under the category “Scientia”, you have no doubt been exposed to apologetics. However, the ordinary method I typically employ to defend the faith is called Evidentialism. Evidentialism is a method whereby you use observable, testable and demonstrable evidences from scientific testing based on the known laws of the earth and universe to prove the validity of the Creationist worldview. While evidence-based research are a wonderful way to build one’s faith and educate the unaware by arguing from evidence, we inadvertently make the skeptic the Judge, and the one who is on trial is not the evidence we’re presenting, but God, Himself.
Today, however we are going to look at a different form of apologetics known as, “Pre-Suppositional Apologetics.” Pre-Suppositional Apologetics basically upholds or presupposes the biblical view that everybody already knows that God exists, and that they are suppressing this information intentionally. In other words, there really are no true Agnostics or Atheists, because we all know that God exists.
Romans Chapter 1:18-20 states:
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
This is stating unequivocally, that no person has an excuse because everybody knows that God exists.
One of the most powerful aspects of Pre-Suppositional Apologetics is appreciated from a positional standpoint. When we engage critics with evidence-based research, we accept their premise that they genuinely do not believe in God, and we give up our position of arguing from our authority, which is the Bible. Regrettably, when we put our Bible down in order to engage them on “neutral ground” we have already lost. Why? Because “neutral ground” is a secular concept. It is therefore not neutral.
However, as we read in 1 Peter 3:15:
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect
What is the very first thing we are to do which precedes even being prepared to give an answer? “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.”
In other words, the Biblical way to defend the faith is to begin by standing on the authority of Jesus Christ and the truth of God’s Word. Not to abandon our moorings upon engagement. The final authority to the unbeliever, when you strip it all down, is their trust in their ability to reason. Our final authority is the Bible. However, unbelievers try to get us to abandon our final authority by claiming, “Since I don’t believe in the Bible, you can’t use it to substantiate your beliefs or points.” It is important for us to understand that if we are going to accept the false premises of the challengers to the faith and give up the ground established by our authority, the Word of God, then no matter what or how we argue, the skeptics win. I think of it as getting on the Atheist’s Airplane. Once you board the Atheist’s Airplane, it does not matter what you discuss in flight, you are going to land at the Atheist’s Airport.
As we will discuss at length in the coming weeks, Pre-Supposional Apologetics can get rather complex and yet is founded upon simple truths laid of in Scripture. Pre-Suppositional Apologetics ultimately means that the position of opponents pre-supposses the truth of the Biblical worldview. Using it’s methods, we shall go on to demonstrate how Logic, Science and Morality all demand the Christian worldview and how the unbeliever is forced to borrow from our worldview in order to make claims regarding all three.