Posts Tagged ‘apologetics’

Aquinas’ unbiblical view of human reason

September 19, 2009

…some of (the heathen), like the Mohammedans and pagans, do not agree with us as to the authority of any Scripture whereby they may be convinced, in the same way as we are able to dispute with the Jews by means of the Old Testament, and with heretics by means of the New : whereas the former accept neither. Wherefore it is necessary to have recourse to natural reason, to which all are compelled to assent. And yet this is deficient in the things of God.

Thomas Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentiles, Book 1, ch.2

Aquinas had too rosy a view of the reasoning of fallen man. He thought natural reason, whilst unable to prove the Trinity, could prove the existence of one God. He failed to appreciate that man is totally depraved (in that every aspect of his nature, including his reason) is affected by the Fall. The Muslim, the pagan and the atheist will not, by and large, accept Aquinas’ reasons since they do not accord with their beliefs.

Strange as it may seem, we proclaim Christ from the Scripture to the Muslim and show him the very words of Jesus from the pages of the New Testament. This has a most powerful effect – more so than our puny reasonings.

Ephesians 4

Hebrews 4.12

DEAD MEN DO BLEED!

September 19, 2009

A man is convinced he is dead. His wife and kids are exasperated. They keep telling him he’s not dead. But he continues to insist he’s dead. They try telling him, “Look, you’re not dead; you’re walking and talking and breathing; how can you be dead?” But he continues to insist he is dead. The family finally takes him to a doctor. The doctor pulls out some medical books to demonstrate to the man that dead men do not bleed. After some time, the man admits that dead men do not bleed. The doctor then takes the man’s hand and a needle and pokes the end of his finger. The man starts bleeding. He looks at his finger and says, “What do you know? DEAD MEN DO BLEED!”

source

Whatever facts men are given, they will not give up their presuppositions on the basis of the ‘facts’ – rather, they will fit the facts within their presppositions. Hence, whatever evidence is given for the resurrection to a naturalist, he will always be sceptical of it and predisposed to discount it.

No science doth make known the first principles whereon it buildeth

September 3, 2009

Because we maintain, that in Scripture we are taught all things necessary unto salvation ; hereupon very childishly it is by some demanded, what Scripture can teach us the sacred authority of the Scripture, upon the knowledge whereof our whole faith and salvation dependeth ? As though there were any kind of science in the world which leadeth men unto knowledge, without presupposing a number of things already known. ; but they are always either taken as plain and manifest in themselves, or as proved and granted already, some former knowledge having made them evident.

Richard Hooker, Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity,  Book 3, ch.8

Worldviews

September 1, 2009

There are certain doctrines which for a particular period seem not doctrines, but inevitable categories of the human mind. Men do not look at them merely as correct opinion, for they have become so much part of the mind, and lie so far back, that they are never really conscious of them at all…They do not see them, but other things through them

T E Hulme, Speculations, 1936, p.50


Apologetics and Liberalism

August 1, 2009

J. Gresham Machen (1881-1937), a Presbyterian theologian who started Westminster Theological Seminary (after a conservative revolt against modernist theology that was being pushed at Princeton Theological Seminary) observed about those who embraced modernist theology:

this curious fact – when men talk thus about propagating Christianity without defending it, the thing that we are propagating is pretty sure not to be Christianity at all. They are propagating an anti-intellectualistic, nondoctrinal Modernism; and the reason why it requires no defense is simply that it is so completely in accord with the current of the age.

checkuptoday

Apologetics

July 14, 2009

“People despise Christian faith. They hate it and are afraid that it may be true. The solution for this is to show them, first of all, that it is not unreasonable, that it is worthy of reverence and respect. Then show that it is winsome, making good men desire that it were true. Then show them that it really is true. It is worthy of reverence because it really understands the human condition. It is also attractive because it promises true goodness.”

Blaise Pascal

Apologetics – Benefit for the Believer

July 14, 2009

Well knows he who uses to consider, that our faith and knowledge thrives by exercise, as well as our limbs and complexion. Truth is compared in scripture to a streaming fountain, if her waters flow not in a perpetual progression, they sicken into a muddy pool of conformity and tradition. A man may be a heretic in the truth; and if he believe things only because his pastor says so, or the assembly so determines, without knowing other reason, though his belief be true, yet the very truth he holds becomes his heresy.

Milton, Areopagitica

(written in defence of free speech and to print without a licence from the government)

Naturalism – cannot give knowledge

February 9, 2009

I was taught at school, when I had done a sum, to “prove my answer.” The proof or verification of my Christian answer to the cosmic sum is this. When I accept Theology I may find difficulties, at this point or that, in harmonising it with some particular truths which are embedded in the mythical cosmology derived from science. But I can get in, or allow for, science as a whole. Granted that Reason is prior to matter and that the light of that primal Reason illuminates finite minds, I can understand how men should come, by observation and inference, to know a lot about the universe they live in. If, on the other hand, I swallow the scientific cosmology as a whole, then not only can I not fit in Christianity, but I cannot even fit in science. If minds are wholly dependent on brains, and brains on biochemistry, and biochemistry (in the long run) on the meaningless flux of the atoms, I cannot understand how the thought of those minds should have any more significance than the sound of the wind in the trees. And this is to me the final test. This is how I distinguish dreaming and waking. When I am awake I can, in some degree, account for and study my dream. The dragon that pursued me last night can be fitted into my waking world. I know that there are such things as dreams: I know that I had eaten an indigestible dinner: I know that a man of my reading might be expected to dream of dragons. But while in the nightmare I could not have fitted in my waking experience. The waking world is judged more real because it can thus contain the dreaming world: the dreaming world is judged less real because it cannot contain the waking one. For the same reason I am certain that in passing from the scientific point of view to the theological, I have passed from dream to waking. Christian theology can fit in science, art, morality, and the sub-Christian religions. The scientific point of view cannot fit in any of these things, not even science itself. I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen not only because I see it but because by it I see everything else.

Liberalism and Apologetics

February 6, 2009

J. Gresham Machen (1881-1937), a Presbyterian theologian who started Westminster Theological Seminary (after a conservative revolt against modernist theology that was being pushed at Princeton Theological Seminary) observed about those who embraced modernist theology:

this curious fact – when men talk thus about propagating Christianity without defending it, the thing that we are propagating is pretty sure not to be Christianity at all. They are propagating an anti-intellectualistic, nondoctrinal Modernism; and the reason why it requires no defense is simply that it is so completely in accord with the current of the age.

checkuptoday

Inspiration of the Scriptures

October 25, 2008

Charles Wesley: “The Bible must be the invention either of good men or angels, bad men or devils, or of God. However, it was not written by good men, because good men would not tell lies by saying ‘Thus saith the Lord;’ it was not written by bad men because they would not write about doing good duty, while condemning sin, and themselves to hell; thus, it must be written by divine inspiration” (McDowell 1990:178).
McDowell, Josh, Christianity; A Ready Defence, Harpendon, Scripture Press Foundation, 1990