There are several ways that apologetics is useful. We laid out four of them in my last blog and I promised to spend some time with each one. Evidence apologetics will be the first. This kind of apologetics emphasizes providing positive evidence for the Christian faith.
I worked with my pastor, Ryan Lowery of Harvest Bible Chapel (www.harvestvincennes.org), for an assignment I had for seminary. My assignment was to write a sermon and he thought that one of my illustrations was pretty awesome.
You see, we do not have the actual letters written by Paul, Peter or any of the New Testament authors. What we have are copies and copies of copies. The oldest copy we have is the John Ryland’s Papyrus which was copied over 100 years after Jesus according to Bart Ehrman (a New Testament scholar and critic of Christianity). That’s pretty good compared to other documents we have from old writers like Aristotle. The only copies of his work that we have were copied a thousand years after he lived.
Many critics still point out that the John Ryland’s Papyrus was written long after the events to of the Bible happened. No one was alive to coroborate the story. My illustration covered a new document discovery. Although not yet peer review, a piece of the gospel of Mark was discovered and dated between 85-125AD! This copy of Mark’s gospel could have existed within the lifetime of the people who lived the events. This is valuable evidence that the New Testament we have today is exactly what was written originally!
Evidence Apologetics involves making a positive case for Christianity.
This is a good example of validation/proof apologetics. This kind of apologetics involves making a positive case for Christianity. Because of this kind of apologetics, we can say that in the marketplace of ideas, Christianity is actually very well situated. There are good reasons and evidence to think that Christianity is actually true, not just true for Christians.
This is tremendously helpful for Christians who already believe in Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit has already touched our hearts and given us an immediate witness to the Truth of Christ. While there is no need to convince us of what we already know, the more evidence we have the more confidence we gain and the more we will act on what we know.
The more evidence we have the more confidence we gain and the more we will act on what we know.
This also has an effect on unbelievers. They do not, at least not yet in some cases, have the internal witness of the Holy Spirit to convince them. So making a positive case for Christianity is not so much validation of what is already known as it is proof of what is not yet known.The Christian can make the case for the unbeliever that Christianity makes sense of the world around them.
The Christian can make the case for the unbeliever that Christianity makes sense of the world around them.
Throughout the Vincennes Apologetics, we are going to be discussing positive cases for the Christian belief. Some of them are going to be rooted in Scripture and some of them are going to be rooted in other things like science or philosophy. I would love to hear your thoughts!
Your Friendly Neighborhood Apologist
Question: Besides God speaking directly to your heart, what is the most persuasive reason for Christianity?