Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Introducing the Classical Method for doing apologetics

1 Peter 3:15 "but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, alwaysbeing ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yetwith gentleness and reverence".

Introducting the Classical method for doing apologetics
With the mandate made clear from yeaterday's post regarding the importance of apologetics, the next important area has to do with how to go about doing apologetics.  Several methods of defending the Christian faith have been proposed through the more than 2,000 year history of the Christian church. Today's post focuses on one of those methods - so-called "Classical Apologetics". The reason why this method is called "classical" is because it represents in one way or another the manner in which Christians have defended the Christian faith since the centuries following the Apostles. At the heart of this method is the notion that Christianity is the only reasonable worldview - hence faith and reason are viewed as friends rather than foes. 

Ed Hindson and Ergun Caner of Liberty University of the following description of classical apologetics:"the unbeliever is offered evidence of the existence of God, and the supposition is that the unbeliever can reasonably ascertain that this hypothesis is rational and cohesive". 1  Hindson and Caner then explain further the second area general covered by classical apologetics, namely: "The classical apologist further argues for the reliability of the special revelation (The Bible) as a reliable and authoritative word from God."2  

Author Doug Powell has this to say about the classical method: "The emphasis of classical apologetics is on reason. Christianity's logical soundness and internal coherence is exploited in this method. As a result, tests are developed and proofs are given that demonstrate the truthfulness of Christianity and the irrationality of competing worldviews."  Powell later adds: "The classical method is so called because it traces its roots back to the second century and the earliest apologists."3

When defending the Christian faith through the method of classical apologetics, at least two and sometimes three steps are followed in the course of the presentation. 

1. First, reasonable arguments are given to show the reasonability of the Christian faith. Such arguments include:

a. Showing God's existence from observations in the universe and science (i.e the cosmological argument)

b. The existence of objective moral values (i.e the moral argument)

c. How God is necessary for anything to exist (i.e the ontological argument) 

d. The evidence for design in the universe (also called the telelogical argument). 

2. The next phase will usually entail demonstrating the reliability of the Bible from the transmission of its words through the thousands of existing manuscripts to the archaeological evidence supporting the accounts we read in the Bible.

3. Usually the final phase will then be showing how the God of the Bible exists due to the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Some classical apologists will combine this step and the defense of the scriptures, whereas others may only focus on either one. 


1. Ed Hindson and Ergun Caner. The Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics. Harvest House Publishers 2008. Page 64.

2. Ed Hindson and Ergun Caner. The Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics. Harvest House Publishers 2008. Page 65.

3. Doug Powell. Holman Quicksource Guide to Christian Apologetics. Holman Publishers. 2006. Page 356. 

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