2 Corinthians 10:4-5, “4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

Notes in pdf

I. Review: Proof, Defense & Offense

  1. Proof: TAG, the five main classical arguments (first cause, design, morality, ontological & epistemological) and the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  2. Defense: Arguments against the problem of evil (unknowable without God and the free will / greater good argument).
  3. Offense: Arguments against unbelief (unbelief’s absurdity & inability to meet preconditions for any meaningful discussion).

II. Three Defenses Against Unbelief

  1. God Doesn’t Owe Man Anything: “So it is not enough for the apologist to respond to the unbeliever’s objections. He is called to turn the attack against God’s enemies. This is the role taken by the Lord himself: the prosecuting attorney of the covenant lawsuit. See Job 38; Isa. 1:18ff.; 3:13; Jer. 1:16; Hos. 4:1; John 16:8 (the Holy Spirit). When Satan or his human associates bring accusations against God, God regularly refuses to answer the charge and brings accusations against his attackers. See Psalm 115:3, Psalm 135:6, Gen. 3:17–24; Job 38–42; Matt. 20:1–15; Rom. 3:3f. Similarly, Jesus, after refuting several questions intended to entrap him, turns on his critics (Matt. 22:41–45), as does Paul, after an extended attempt at defensive apologetics (Acts 28:23–28).” (pp. 189-190, loc. 4599).
  2. Rationalism & Irrationalism Make No Sense without the Christian God: “Cornelius Van Til argued that every unbelieving system of thought—because it reflects unregenerate hearts—is simultaneously rationalistic and irrationalistic. While claiming that their reason has ultimate authority (rationalism), unbelievers do not acknowledge anything that connects reason with objective truth (irrationalism).” (p. 192, loc. 4660).
  3. Atheism & Idolatry are Absurd: “Atheism and idolatry (all other forms of religion) are the only alternatives to Christianity.” (p. 200, loc. 4803).

III. The Argument from Preconditions

  1. Premise 1: The following preconditions must be present to have any meaningful discussion:
    1. The universe must exist.
    2. Two separate persons must exist.
    3. Mental states such as intentionality and causality must be present.
    4. Decision making abilities must be present.
    5. Freewill to decide between different ideas must be present.
    6. The principles of logic, reason, math and science must be present.
    7. The ability to communicate must be present.
  1. Premise 2: Christianity is the only valid explanation for the preconditions.
  2. Conclusion: Therefore, Christianity must be true.

See evidence of this kind of argumentation in David Wood’s two great debates with atheists, especially his opening statements. (1) Loftus & (2) Shermer

Review Questions

  1. Explain the three different forms of Christian apologetics.
  2. Describe the three main defenses against unbelief in Christianity.
  3. Describe and defend the argument from preconditions.