A Few Example Posts:

  • "The End of Faith: A Short Response to Sam Harris"
  • See also:
  • "A Long Response to Sam Harris' The End of Faith, by Neil Shenvi"

  • "Is John Piper the Best Answer to Emergence and Postmodernism?"

  • "Captured"

  • "The Storm is Over"

  • "If Golfing Were the Pursuit of Moral Perfection"

  • 3.16.2007

    Ligonier Conference: Entry #5

    R.C. Sproul on "The Task of Apologetics"
    Thursday, March 15, 7:00 p.m.

    This was a lecture rather than an exegesis.

    Text: Exodus 4:1-12 and Moses' Question to God: "Suppose They Will Not Believe Me?"

    Moses had two major apologetical tasks:
    1. Get an Appointment with Pharaoh and Declare: "Let My People Go."
    2. Convince the Hebrews that God Spoke to Him and that They Should Follow in an Exodus.

    God gave two signs to Moses, but the miracles were not to prove God's existence. They were validate Moses as an agent of of God's revelation. God is presupposed in Moses' interaction with Pharoah and the Hebrews.

    Sproul then addresses Paul's apologetic at Mar's Hill and Justin Martyr's apologetic to Antoninus Pius. They both clarified and then defended the Christian faith.

    In every generation, the Faith must be defended. For example, Aquinas defended against Muslims who were integral Aristotelians who said "what is true in faith is not true in reason." (A contemporary falsehood still!)

    Sproul then addressed the nature of saving faith in three parts:

    1. Notae: The Data of Christianity. This is the content. The Kerygma. Therefore, we do not affirm faith in anything. The message of Christianity must be clear. The issue is "faith in what?"

    2. Assensus: Intellectual assent to the truthfulness of the content (notae). We assent to certain propositions. The difference between faith and credulity is found in this category. We are not asked to believe or assent to absurdities. The will is useless here. We are not taking a "leap of faith" against our minds. If one does, he is on the way to schizophrenia!

    3. Fiducia: This is the personal trust in Christ. This is the transaction where one trusts his eternal soul to the Christ.

    Apologetics applies to Notae and Assensus, but it cannot compel Fidcuia. Apologetics does not prove the "sweetness" of Christ.

    So pre-evangelism is clarifying data, giving rational answers for assent, and getting out of the way for "fiducia."

    Calvin distinguished between Proof and Persuasion. You can give a compelling proof and still have people not persuaded by it. For example, the more proof Christ gave of Himself, the more people hated Him! "Arguments are sufficient to objectively prove the case, but God the Holy Spirit must pierce the heart."

    So we don't leap over the evidence. We surrender to the truth.

    The most valuable role of apologetics is to build up the Church. Moses was an apologist to his own people.

    We must unmask the false ideas of our culture and defend the "two towers of Christianity's truth claims:" The Existence of God and the Authority of the Bible.

    So get 'er done!

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