A Brief Book Summary from TGC Learn
By Jenny-Lyn de Klerk
Table of Contents
Section I: The Apologetic Task
- The Task of Apologetics
- Apologetics and Saving Faith
Section II: The Four Essential Principles of Knowledge
- Introducing the Four Principles
- The Law of Noncontradiction
- Contradiction, Paradox, and Mystery
- The Law of Causality
- Hume’s Critique of Causality and the Basic Reliability of Sense Perception
- Logical Positivism and Its Ghosts Today: Analogical Use of Language
Section III: Natural Reason and Faith
- Natural Theology and Science
- Aquinas and Kant
Section IV: The Case for God’s Existence: Four Possibilities
- Creation by Chance
- A Self-Existent Being
- A Self-Existent Universe
Section V: God and the Philosophers
- The God of the Philosophers and the God of the Bible
- Kant’s Moral Argument
- The Nihilists
- The Psychology of Atheism
Section VI: The Case for Biblical Authority
- The Authority of the Bible
- Jesus’ Teaching About Scripture
- The Trustworthiness of the Teaching of Jesus
- The Testimony of the Holy Spirit
In Defending Your Faith, Sproul aims to “set forth, in a brief and non-technical way, the basic truth claims of Christianity, and to show that at its core Christianity is rational” (7) by looking at the most important issues in apologetics, namely, God’s existence and the Bible’s authority. He does this by first defining apologetics and setting forth the principles of knowledge necessary to embark on apologetic questions. Then, he deals with the relationship between natural reason and faith, the case for God’s existence in light of the existence of the universe, and explains what makes the God of the Bible more than but not less than the God of the philosophers. Finally, he proves the authority of the Bible and concludes that other issues in apologetics related to questions about specific biblical texts (which are beyond the scope of this book) can be dealt with easily after proving God’s existence and the Bible’s authority.
Sproul explains that, in light of the contemporary trend to pit faith or religion against reason or science, this book seeks to “set forth, in a brief and non-technical way, the basic truth claims of Christianity, and to show that at its core Christianity is rational” (7) by looking at the most important issues in apologetics, namely, God’s existence and the Bible’s authority. By rational, Sproul does not mean rationalism but rather rationality. The rational and empirical claims used to disprove Christianity do not actually succeed. Though Christianity goes above rational claims, it does not go below them or, in other words, without them. Sproul believes that the task of apologetics is not something we do for fun, but something we must do in order to bear witness to God’s truth in our world.
Section I: The Apologetic Task
Chapter 1: The Task of Apologetics
The task of apologetics is to provide “an intellectual defense of the truth claims of the faith” (13) and is based on the biblical command given in 1 Peter 3:14-16 to make a defense for the hope that is in you and give a respectful answer even to those who hate Christianity.
Apologetics is not just defending but also positively constructing good arguments to prove that Christianity is true. Though Christians disagree about what the best method is to do this, they all agree that non-Christian thought is wrong. One of the purposes of apologetics is to stop the slandering of the faith from others. Christian apologetics does not ultimately seek to win arguments but people.
Sproul uses the classical apologetics approach by starting with the existence of God (as opposed to the presuppositionalist approach, which starts with the authority of the Bible, or the evidentialist approach, which starts with historical facts). After giving an epistemological basis for making apologetic arguments, Sproul proves the existence of God and then the authority of the Bible. He explains that “if God and the Bible…are established, then all the rest of the issues with respect to Christianity will be vastly simplified. Issues of the Resurrection, the deity of Christ, and so forth, can then be resolved by careful biblical interpretation” (19).
Chapter 2: Apologetics and Saving Faith
Apologetics is useful for pre- and post-evangelism. Apologetics does not seek to bring saving faith, but it can demonstrate truthfulness and bring consent. Though some oppose propositions and it is true that one can know things about Jesus without. . .[To continue reading this summary, please see below....]
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Defending Your Faith: An Introduction to Apologetics