Tuesday, June 23, 2009

3. Presuppositional Apologetics

Jesus employed a presuppositional apologetic method. Christian apologists today would do well to follow our Lord's example. The Savior was perfectly consistent in His teaching. As outlined above, Christ taught the doctrines which have come to be known as the five points of Calvinism. These doctrines teach that man is a totally depraved sinner and therefore salvation is 100% by God's grace. An evidential apologetical method is inconsistent with this Calvinistic doctrine, while totally consistent with the Arminian doctrine of free will. The Arminian evidentialist believes that if given enough compelling evidence, a man will reason that the Bible is the Word of God and that Jesus is who He claimed to be. He will then employ his free will to "accept Christ".
I grant the fact that evidence for the veracity of Scripture and the claims of Christ are everywhere (Rom. 1:18ff). However, because of the noetic effects of sin, corrupt man suppresses such evidence. Even if one could prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that Jesus rose from the dead and that the Bible is the word of God, this would not convince one more person to be saved, for salvation is of God's grace, not the will of man (John 1:13). It is the accurate preaching of the whole counsel of God which God employs in the salvation of souls. In His "defense of the faith," Jesus never sparred with the Romans by setting up an elaborate system of theistic proofs. Nor did He attempt to overwhelm the Sadducees with empirical evidence of the supernatural aspects of Scripture. Jesus "presupposed" the existence of the God of the universe revealed in Scripture, how could He have done otherwise, being Himself "God with us" (Matt. 1:23).
In the forty days of being tempted by Satan, Jesus knew that His best weapon against the Evil One was the self-authenticating Word of God. Three times Jesus countered the devil's temptation with "It is written..."
Not only did Jesus "presuppose" the truth of God's Word, He took it at face value. Jesus accepted as historical fact the events that modem rationalistic theologians relegate to the categories of "myth" or "saga". For example, Jesus taught the Genesis account of creation (Matt. 19:4) as an historical event. He taught the story of Jonah as an actual event and did not even hint of a possibility that Jonah's amazing experience was apocryphal or solely symbolic (Matt. 12:38-41). Our Lord also affirmed the historicity of Noah and the flood (Matt. 24:37-39). Jesus assumed the truth of Scripture, using even details of these "difficult" passages to illustrate aspects of His work. For example, Jesus used the historicity of the story of Jonah to illustrate that He would remain under the darkness of death for a time but would rise again on the third day (Matt. 12:40-41).


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