Before we dive into the biblical worldview, let us first recap some important points in Part 1. Remember, although many have not given it much thought, we all have a worldview. A worldview is a set of beliefs and assumptions we use to analyze, interpret, and render decisions about the world around us. Our beliefs and assumptions begin to form at a very young age and are influenced by parents, teachers, politicians, preachers, etc. A worldview seeks to answer many of life’s more challenging questions: What is the purpose of life? What is love? Does a deity or do multiple deities exist? I do hope you thought about the questions posed at the end of Part 1. If you have not, it would behoove you to do so at this point. Now that you have a better understanding of what a worldview is (and hopefully you’ve given your own the attention it deserves), we can move on to the biblical worldview and what it means to be a follower of Christ.
The Biblical Worldview
In order to establish a solid, biblical foundation, I feel it important to lay the groundwork for what followers of Christ believe. It is imperative you understand this foundation, because even if you do not believe in the biblical God, at least you will know where Christian faith and reasoning stems from. Here are the main beliefs that make up the Christian foundation; the biblical worldview:
- We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative, inerrant Word of God (2 Tim 3:15, 2 Pet 1:21)
- We believe there is one God, eternally existent in three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Gen 1:1, Mat 28:19, John 10:30)
- We believe in the deity of Christ, His virgin birth, His sinless life, His mercies, His vicarious and atoning sacrifice, His resurrection, His ascension to the right hand of God the Father, His present reign and His personal return in power and glory (John 2:11, 10:30, 11:25, Is 7:14, Mat 1:23, Lk 1:35, Heb 2:9, 4:15, 7:26, 1 Cor 15:3-4, Eph 1:7, Mk 16:19, Acts 1:11, Rev 19:11)
- We believe in the absolute necessity of regeneration by the Holy Spirit for salvation because of the exceeding sinfulness of human nature due to the fall, and that men are justified on the single ground of faith in the shed blood of Christ and that only by God’s grace through faith alone we are saved (John 3:16-19, 5:24, Rom 3:23, 5:8-9, Eph 2:8-10, Titus 3:5)
- We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost. They that are saved unto the resurrection of life will join God in heaven; those who are lost, unto eternal torment in hell (John 5:28-29, Rev 20:15)
- We believe in the spiritual unity of the believers in our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom 8:9, 1 Cor 12:12-13, Gal 3:26-28)
- We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit, whose indwelling enables the follower of Christ to live a godly and victorious life (Rom 8:13-14, 1 Cor 3:16, 6:19-20, Eph 4:30, 5:18)
A great many of you may already have a good grasp of these beliefs, whether you accept or reject them, or just honestly do not know what to believe. Now that we have established the foundation for the Christian faith, let us move on to how and why we should defend it.
A Case for Biblical Apologetics
In a society continuing to separate itself from the biblical God: being wise in their own eyes (Prov 3:7, Prov 12:15), entertaining faulty philosophies (Rom 1:30), and “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim 3:7), it is more important than ever for believers to give a good defense; yes, a reasoned response to those who question our hope in Christ. The word apologetic(s) comes from the Greek word apologia, which means to give a defense or justification of a belief or idea.1 We see this used throughout the New Testament. For example: Jesus reasoning with the Pharisees, crowds, and apostles; Paul reasoning with the various crowds and churches on their false teachings and estranging themselves from God.
Apologetics affords believers in Christ the tools to defend the hope that lies within them through offering reasoned responses. Some people think that apologetics seeks to convert people to Christianity; this is not the case. Conversion is the job of the Holy Spirit. Apologetics seeks to give reasoned, logical responses regarding faith in Christ, while asking questions of the questioner pertaining to their own worldview, making them account for their own beliefs. Apologetics is not some magical, logistical tool used to persuade someone. Astrophysicist and apologist, Dr. Jason Lisle, articulates this point as follows: “…persuasion is subjective. Sometimes people are not persuaded even by a very good argument. Conversely, people are (unfortunately) often persuaded by very bad arguments. Generally speaking, most people are simply not very rational; they are not good, clear thinkers.” Dr. Lisle goes on to state, it is not that people are unintelligent, it is we often cannot reason as well as we think we can.2
As we exercise our ability to reason with others through a biblical foundation, you may find that apologetics fits into three distinct approaches. Theology and philosophy instructor, and apologist, Dr. John Frame articulates the approaches as follows:
- Apologetics as proof – presenting a rational basis for faith or “proving Christianity to be true.”
- Apologetics as a defense – answering objections of unbelief.
- Apologetics as an offense – attacking the foolishness of unbelieving thought.3
I am sure you may be asking yourself at this point: “this all sounds great, but is apologetics even scriptural?” The answer of course, is yes! First Peter 3:15 tells us, “but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.” Let us use Dr. Frame’s three categorical examples of apologetics to further defend the scriptural necessity in giving a reasoned response. Apologetics as proof: Jesus and the apostles did many miracles to serve as proof. Apologetics as a defense: Paul answered objections from the various churches for their twisted belief and unbelief. Apologetics as an offense: Jesus with the Pharisees and Paul with the various churches. Moreover, let us not forget Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord.” Reason and truth grounded in God’s Word is the only way we can defend what we believe while uncovering the foolishness of others who reject Him.
As you venture to Part 3, the conclusion of this mini-series, and other future posts, it will become even more evident how apologetics works, its necessity when witnessing and debating others, and how to effectively ask questions to challenge the person/people you are speaking with in order to have them account for their own worldview.
1 Dictionary.com. 2016. Apologia. Retrieved from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/apologia
2 Lisle, J. 2009. The Ultimate Proof of Creation: Resolving the Origins Debate. Master Books: Green Forest, AR.
3 Frame, J. Apologetics: A Justification of Christian Belief. Reformed Publishing Company: Phillipsburg, NJ.
Author: Brian Kurkjian, Ed.D