Here are some things to consider for tonight’s discussion:
- “301 Class” is a church based college level class designed for MPI’s elders and deacons. It comes after our 101 and 201 discipleship classes.
- MPI church uses the presuppositional apologetic approach as taught by Dr. John Frame in his book, Apologetics: A Justification of Christian Belief in our weekly evangelistic outreaches.
- Though we use evidence like and evidentialist and the arguments from the classical approach, we do so grounding our beliefs in the Word of God and hold the person with differing views to the same standard.
- Our presuppositional apologetics approach we borrowed from Dr. Frame can be defined as follows:
- A clearheaded understanding of where our loyalties lie and how those loyalties affect our epistemology.
- A determination above all to present the full teaching of Scripture in our apologetic without compromise, in its full winsomeness and its full offensiveness.
- Especially a determination to present God as fully sovereign, as the source of all meaning, intelligibility, and rationality, as the ultimate authority for all human thought.
- An understanding of the unbeliever’s knowledge of God and rebellion against God, particularly (though not exclusively) as it affects his thinking. (p. 93, loc. 2683).
- Therefore, we are neither strict in only using presuppositional tactics, however, we never leave our presuppositional position and stance in the argument. We believe that all unbelief towards Christianity is based in suppression of God’s revealed truth- both in nature, in the conscience and specifically in the Bible (Romans 1:18-20).
- We invited Spencer to join us so that we could practice our apologetic approach with a person who hold different views.
- The first part of the discussion is each of our students engaging Spencer for 5min each; working their way through a typical conversion.
- At the end Joe and Spencer will have more of a formal debate and discussion.
Romans 1:18-25 (NIV) 18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 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 people are without excuse.
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
I. THE ARGUMENT FROM THE MINIMAL FACTS OF THE GOSPEL
Argument from Mere Christianity: Even if all we knew was what most scholars agreed upon, Jesus is Lord.
- Premise 1: All major historians agree Jesus lived, died and was believed to have given resurrection apprearances.
- Premise 2: Jesus rising from the dead is the only rational claim that supports all the agreed upon evidence.
- Conclusion: Therefore, Jesus rose from the dead.
Dr. Gary Habermas’ minimal facts video
II. THE TRANSCENDENTAL ARGUMENT FOR GOD (TAG)
Helpful definitions when using TAG:
1-Metaphysics: The theory of the fundamental nature of reality.
2-Epistemology: The theory of knowledge.
3-Transcendental: Things relating to the spiritual or non-physical.
4-Three Components of a TAG: (1) Logic & Rationality, (2) Morality & Value and (3) Science & Uniformity of Nature are all grounded (best explained and accounted for) in God.
A. FOUR EXAMPLES OF TAG
- TAG from Grounding: You can only exist because of God.
- Premise 1: If God is the transcendental ground of X, he exists.
- Premise 2: God is the transcendental ground of X.
- Conclusion: Therefore, God exists. (p. 77, loc. 2343).
- TAG from Intelligibility: You can only know things because of God.
- Premise 1: If anything is intelligible (coherent, meaningful), God exists.
- Premise 2: Something (causality, motion, banana peels, Augustine) is intelligible (coherent, meaningful).
- Conclusion: Therefore, God exists. (p. 78, loc. 2363).
- TAG from the Trinity: Only the Triune God of the Bible can be the one true God.
- Premise 1: If Jesus rose from the dead, God is Triune and known only through the Bible.
- Premise 2: Jesus did rise from the dead.
- Conclusion: Therefore, God is Triune and known only through the Bible.
- The Impossibility of the Contrary: In logic, reductio ad absurdum(Latin for “reduction to absurdity”; or argumentum ad absurdum, “argument to absurdity”) is a form of argument which attempts either to disprove a statement by showing it inevitably leads to a ridiculous, absurd, or impractical conclusion, or to prove one by showing that if it were not true, the result would be absurd or impossible. (wiki).
- If one were to deny a well-formed TAG, they would be essentially denying logic, morality and science; and thus casting the debate and their existence into meaninglessness.
- It’s important to let people know that without the Triune God from Scripture, they couldn’t even have an argument about His existence.
B. MORE EXAMPLES OF TAG
- Frame’s TAG from Personhood: God is source of all personality.
- Premise 1: The universe is either ultimately personal or ultimately impersonal.
- Premise 2: If it is ultimately impersonal, it cannot justify rational discourse, including whatever you may be saying to me.
- Premise 3: Therefore, if you want to carry on rational discourse, you must presuppose that the universe is ultimately personal.
- Premise 4: Only the Bible, and views derived from the Bible, contains a consistently personalistic account of the world.
- Conclusion: Therefore, we should give careful consideration to the Bible and assess its truth on the assumption that a personal God may have inspired it.
- Application: Pray that God’s Spirit would open blind eyes to that truth. (p. 91, loc. 2624).
- Joe’s TAG from Mind: Your mind is needed for everything you do.
- Premise 1: To deny your non-material mind with your non-material mind is absurd.
- Premise 2: To understand absurdity is evidence of your non-material mind.
- Conclusion: Therefore, your non-material mind exists (Gen. 2:7).
- Joe’s TAG from Warrant: God is the reason for warrant (justification) for proper function and true beliefs.
- Premise 1: Warrant entails proper function.
- Premise 2: God is the ground for proper function.
- Conclusion: Therefore, without God there can be no proper function (Col. 1:2-3).
- Conclusion 2: Therefore, if you have warrant for any belief because of proper function, God exists.
- Joe’s TAG from Preconditions: God is the precondition for everything.
- Premise 1: God is the precondition for “X.”
- Premise 2: “X” exists.
- Conclusion: Therefore, God exists (Rom. 11:36).
III. THE MORAL ARGUMENT
The argument for God from objective moral truths.
- Premise 1: If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.
- Premise 2: Objective moral values and duties do exist.
- Conclusion: Therefore, God exists.
IV. THE EPISTEMOLOGICAL ARGUMENT
The argument against naturalism.
- Premise 1: If naturalism is true, there is no warrant for knowing anything to be true.
- Premise 2: We do know things to be true.
- Conclusion 1: Therefore, naturalism is false.
- Conclusion 2: Therefore, God exists.
V. THE TELEOLOGICAL ARGUMENT
The argument from design in creation.
- Premise 1: Design comes from purpose and purpose comes from mind.
- Premise 2: The universe is designed.
- Conclusion: Therefore, God exists.
VI. THE COSMOLOGICAL ARGUMENT
The argument from the first cause.
- Premise 1: Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
- Premise 2: The universe began to exist.
- Conclusion 1: Therefore, the universe has a cause.
- Conclusion 2: Therefore, God exists.
VII. THE ARGUMENT FROM THE PROBLEM OF EVIL
The Freewill Defense by Dr. Plantinga.
- Premise 1: God gave man the choice between good and evil.
- Premise 2: Man chose evil.
- Conclusion: Therefore, God has allowed evil for His greater purpose.
EXTRA: The Problem with the “Problem” of Evil
- Non-Theist Worldview: Evil doesn’t exist nor can be defined: “What is the difference between right and wrong, good and bad? There is no moral difference between them.” Rosenberg, Alex. The Atheist’s Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life without Illusions (p. 3).
- Christian Worldview: Evil serves the good purpose in God’s plan: Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Craig’s video
- PROBLEM SOLVED: Since Christians have a way to understand both good and evil, the problem of evil solved by Jesus, the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world.
VIII. THE ARGUMENT FROM PRECONDITIONS
- Premise 1: Certain preconditions must be present to engage in meaningful discussions.
- Premise 2: Only a Christian worldview can explain and ground preconditions for meaningful discussions.
- Conclusion: Therefore, Christianity is true.
SEVEN THINGS THAT MUST BE PRESENT FOR MEANINGFUL DEBATE
- The universe must exist.
- Two separate persons must exist.
- Mental states such as intentionality and causality must be present.
- Decision making abilities must be present.
- Freewill to decide between different ideas must be present.
- The principles of logic, reason and science must be present.
- The ability to communicate must be present.
Before we even debate our worldviews with non-Christians, let us first see which worldview accounts for these preconditions.