Douglas Groothuis

Defending the Christian Faith, September 7, 2004




part 1



I.          Six Enemies of Apologetic Engagement


A.        If apologetics is biblical and logical, why does it flounder?  Why so ignored in the church?


B.         “Six enemies of apologetic engagement” (D. Groothuis article on syllabus hot link)


1.         Indifference


2.         Irrationalism


3.         Ignorance


4.         Cowardice


5.         Arrogance and intellectual vanity


6.         Superficial techniques or schlock apologetics



II.        Jesus as a Philosopher and Apologist (D. Groothuis, On Jesus, Chapters 1, 3)


A.        What is a philosopher?


B.         Was Jesus a philosopher?


C.        Did Jesus disparage rationality (Michael Martin)?


D.        Jesus’ use of argument:  our model intellectually


1.         Escaping horns of dilemma (Matthew 22:15 – 22)


2.         A fortiori arguments (John 7:14 – 24)


3.         Jesus’ use of evidence (Matthew 11:1 – 11)


4.         Reductio ad absurdum arguments (Matthew 22:41 – 46)


5.         Jesus defended truth rationally; lived it out existentially


·        Had a well integrated worldview; didn’t duck rational arguments



III.       Worldviews and Christian Faith


A.        Three kinds of (or aspects of) faith (W. Corduan, No Doubt; see also J.P. Moreland, Love Your God With All Your Mind)


1.         Saving faith:  justification—either/or (Ephesians 2:8 – 9)


2.         Growing faith: moral sanctification—incremental (Ephesians 2:10)


3.         Knowing faith:  epistemological sanctification (Colossians 2:2 – 3)


a.         Relationship of faith and reason: not antithetical (Isaiah 1:18)


b.         Reasoning in Scripture (Romans 12:1 – 2; Matthew 22:37 – 40)


c.         Some texts used against reasoning:  (1 Corinthians 1 – 2; Colossians 2:8; Isaiah 55:9)


d.         Biblical value placed on knowledge outside Scripture (Amos 1 – 2; Daniel; Romans 1 – 2; Acts 17:16 – 34)


B.         The nature of genuine Christian faith, subjective believing


1.         Assent (fides):  belief that “P” (essential gospel truths) is true (Romans 10:9 – 10)


2.         Trust (fiducia):  belief in “P” as true and trustworthy (Romans 10:11; John 1:12)


3.         Disposition, orientation (action-producing):  believe “P” is true and trustworthy, therefore act in a faithful way (Ephesians 2:10; James 2:14 – 26)


C.        The unity of truth (Corduan) and a well-integrated worldview


1.         “All truth is God’s truth”—general and special revelation (Psalm 19:1 – 11)


2.         Know “P” through authority (but must identify a qualified authority)


3.         Know “P” through argumentation, reasoning, evidence


4.         No dichotomy of religious and secular truth:  a unified, integrated, worldview


5.         Developing a well-integrated worldview


a.         What is a worldview and why is it important?  (James Sire, chapter 1)


b.         What is a Christian worldview?  Touchstone proposition (William Halverson, A Concise Introduction to Philosophy)


            The universe (originally good, now fallen, and awaiting its divine judgment and restoration) is created and sustained by the Triune God, who has revealed himself in nature, humanity, conscience, Scripture, and supremely through the Incarnation.