The Biblical Case for Classical Apologetics (All the Objections)
by Jordan Apodaca
Here I shall try to briefly answer several objections that often arise against classical apologetics. These objections fall into three broad categories.
1. Theological Objections
2. Textual Objections
3. Practical Objections
1. Theological Objections
First Theological Objection: Apologetics is Opposed to Faith
This first objection expresses an often-felt general concern that somewhere along the way apologetics has supplanted the need for faith. This is due in part to a difficult time in nailing down exactly what is meant by the word faith.
Some define faith as a sort of blind belief, such that faith and intellectual knowledge are opposed. The more you know the less you can believe. This is certainly contrary to a biblical notion of faith, for the Bible describes faith as one of the highest virtues, and yet it also encourages deepening one’s intellectual certainty (see Lk. 1:1–4). But if faith and reason are truly opposed, then Luke would have been harming Theophilus’ faith by offering reasons! In fact, if this definition of faith were accurate, then we ought to do everything we can to make Christianity look unreasonable, for then there would be greater opportunity for faith.
Others define faith with reference to a body of knowledge, as it is used in Jude 3: “Contend for the faith.” Here faith means, roughly, the content of Christian doctrine. If understood this way, then the Christian faith seems to contain two different kinds of doctrinal content. On the one hand, there are those truths that are knowable by reason alone, such as the existence of God. And on the other hand, there are those truths that can only be taken by faith, such as God’s Triune nature. Even the brightest philosophers would never have come to know God as Triune unless God made it known. Apologetics and natural reason can make known a certain slice of the pie that is Christian doctrine, but it can’t make it all known.
Lastly, some define faith with reference to personal trust in God – “we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor 5:7). Oftentimes, when life is difficult and it seems as if God is nowhere to be found, a Christian is called upon to persist in trusting God. Job exemplified this: “Though he slay me, I will hope in him” (Joh. 3:15). This is the same faith Jesus had while on the cross, when he felt forsaken by God (Mt. 27:46), and yet he still cried out in faith: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Lk. 23:46). Though he felt forsaken by God, he still put his trust in him. This highlights a key aspect of faith: it is the virtue of maintaining belief in what you know to be true, even when you don’t feel like it is. This is the primary definition highlighted by Greek dictionaries: “to consider [something] to be true and therefore worthy of one’s trust… to entrust oneself to an entity in complete confidence.” Some have described faith as a leap into the dark. More accurately, faith is a leap into the light. It is a choice to continue living according to what you know to be true, even when your emotions are wont to lead you astray…
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