Sunday, July 30, 2023

Post #1 The Doctrine Of God - A Map To Explore The Doctrine Of God


    In today's post, I begin a series of posts that will explore the doctrine of God, sometimes referred to as "Theology Proper". I'll admit that the prospect of studying the doctrine of God can be challenging, mind-expanding, and ultimately worshipful. The nineteenth century Baptist preacher C.H. Spurgeon began with these comments in a sermon he preaching on the doctrine of God in January of 1855,

"It has been said that “the proper study of mankind is man.” I believe it is equally true that the proper study of God’s elect is God; the proper study of a Christian is the Godhead. The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can ever engage the attention of a child of God, is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings, and the existence of the great God whom he calls his Father."

Spurgeon continues,

"There is something exceedingly improving to the mind in a contemplation of the Divinity. It is a subject so vast, that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity; so deep, that our pride is drowned in its infinity. Other subjects we can grapple with; in them we feel a kind of self-content, and go our way with the thought, “Behold I am wise.” 

    But when we come to this master science, finding that our plumbline cannot sound its depth, and that our eagle eye cannot see its height, we turn away with the thought that vain man would be wise, but he is like a wild ass’s colt; and with solemn exclamation, “I am but of yesterday, and know nothing.” No subject of contemplation will tend more to humble the mind, than thoughts of God....".

Where to start?
    The big question when approaching such a study is where to begin? In a recent interview hosted by Dr. Matthew Barrett, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at Mid-Western Seminary, he, along with other scholars who specialize in the doctrine of the God (Dr. Scott Swain, Dr. Fred Sanders, and Dr. J.V. Fesko), commented on how there are various entry points into studying "The Doctrine of God". (Readers may access Dr. Barrett's informative conversation with these men here )

1. God's nature. Some begin with the nature of God. The doctrine of God covers the being (nature) of God, His attributes, and His acts in creation, providence, and redemption. Some theologians have begun with God's nature. This starting point helps us to see what makes God different from everything else, and why He is worthy of our worship. Examples of theologians of the past who do this approach include Thomas Acquinas in His classic work "Summa Theologica".

2. Comparing human nature. Others will draw analogies from human nature or how human beings have a built-in awareness of God. Theologians such as Wayne Grudem in his "Systematic Theology" tend to begin with this approach.

3. Names of God. Still others will use the names of God as an entry point to studying the doctrine of God. One will notice how often God made known a name about Himself when making Himself known to His people throughout the Bible.

4. God's attributes. A fourth method or starting point for studying the doctrine of God is to begin with the attributes or perfections of God, and then work toward grasping the nature of God to which the perfections point. In Dr. Barrett's book "None Greater: The Undomesticated Attributes of God", we find Him working through such attributes as God's self-sufficiency (a.k.a "Divine Aseity"), omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, and other perfections. One thing we remind ourselves of is to note that though we can truly know God, we can never fully comprehend God (an attribute known as God's "incomprehensibility").

5. The Trinity. A fifth starting point, which the ancient church fathers commonly did, was to begin with the Trinity. Take for example the great creeds of the Christian church, such as the Apostle's Creed. It begins "I believe in God, the Father, Maker of Heaven and Earth". This opening line assumes a particular understanding of "God" in regards to His nature as the One truly and living God. What follows in the Creed are twelve points or truths that flow from the doctrine of the Trinity. In later creeds (such as the Nicene Creed) we see this pattern of beginning with the Trinity more unfolded.

6. Arguments for God's existence. One final starting point we can mention is what is more common among those thinkers who engage in Christian apologetics or "defense of the faith". Typically, one will notice how they labor to show what "God is not" by contrasting the Biblical doctrine of God with other worldviews and then supporting the Christian revelation of God through what are called arguments for God's existence.

    For our study over the course of these next several posts, I'll mainly use the outline of the Doctrine of God spelled out in Wayne Grudem's 2nd edition of his "Systematic Theology". I'll likely start by first noting the key names of God that point us to God's nature, attributes, and Triune identity. Grudem's outline serves as an example of what I call a "map" for exploring the doctrine of God. Any major systematic theology written over the centuries will arrange the study of the doctrine of God in its own distinct way. Grudem's outline represents a general order and method that has been followed by other writers throughout the history of the church. I'll comment briefly under each of the headings so as to help clarify the order of the "map" for exploring the doctrine of God.

I. The Existence of God.

    When we speak of God's existence, we are concerned with understanding how we know He exists by our inner awareness, as well as showing He exists through various arguments or "proofs". The 11th century theologian Anselm of Canterbury developed the followingway of expressing how God exists, "God is the greatest conceivable being, of which non-greater can be conceived". Scripturally, Hebrews 11:6 gives us this important principle that relates God's existence to Biblical faith "And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him."

II. The Knowability of God.

    God has made Himself knowable by way of revelation in creation and the conscience (called "general revelation") and through the Bible and Jesus ("special revelation").

III. P1 The Character of God: Incommunicable Attributes.

    In this point and the next, we come across a category of God's attributes known by theologians as "incommunicable attributes". The term "incommunicable" means that the attribute or perfection is unique to God. We often use the term "communicable" to describe, say, the common cold as a "communicable disease" or laughter as a "communicable" behavior. In other words, whatever trait or action someone has or is, that very thing is transferrable to another. The idea of incommunicable means that certain attributes of God (such as He being eternal, omnipresent, without beginning) are unique to Himself. These remarks apply to the next point (point "IV").

IV. P2 The Character of God: Incommunicable attributes.

V. The Character of God: Communicable Being Attributes

    What I noted in "point III" about communicable attributes is applicable here. Certain attributes of God, such as "love", "mercy", "goodness", are shared by God with us. We, in our creaturely way, being made in His image, have something in common with God. We could say that God's incommunicable attributes prompt worship of Him, whereas His communicable attributes make possible fellowship with Him - especially by His people who know Him by faith. These comments cover the points below (points "VI" through "IX").

VI. P1 The Character of God: Communicable Moral Attributes

VII. P2 The Character of God: Communicable Moral Attributes

VIII. The Character of God: Communicable Attributes of Purpose & Intellect

IX. The Character of God: Summary Attributes.

X. Introducing the Doctrine of the Trinity

    In the first nine points of our "map", we have noted the being and attributes of God. I sometimes summarize God's being as considering "what kind of God God is" and His attributes as concerning "how God is the kind of God He is". In this next major portion of the map of the doctrine of God, we go from consideration of God's being and attributes to that of His identity as the Trinity. I sometimes refer to this as "who God is".  

XI. Three statements that summarize the Biblical teaching of the Trinity.

A. God is Three Persons.
B. Each Person is fully God.
C. There is One God.

XII. Errors that have come in denial of the Trinity.

    In understanding what the Bible teaches about the Trinity, it is vital to understand what the doctrine of the Trinity does not teach. Errors about the Trinity, broadly speaking, will either deny the unity of His nature or the distinct identities of the members of the Godhead (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). 

XIII. What are the distinctions between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?

    When we say "distinctions", we refer to the eternal relational distinctions that the Father has with the Son, the Son with the Father, and that the Holy Spirit has with the Father and the Son and they with Him. The Father's relationship with the Son is referred to by theologians as "eternal generation". The Holy Spirit's relationship with the Father through the Son is referred to as "eternal procession". This area of Trinitarian doctrine is called "the doctrine of processions", since we are interested in how the Father relates to the Son and the Spirit, and how they in turn related to Him and to one another. The beauty of the Trinitarian life comes forth in this area of the Doctrine of God.  

XIV. The different functions (or roles) of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are appropriate to their distinct identities.

    In the study of the doctrine of the Trinity, certain activities are appropriate to each of the Persons. For example, in creation, the Father is the planner, the Son is the provider, and the Holy Spirit is the applier. All three Persons together are the One Creator God. Theologians call this section of Trinitarian doctrine that deals with how each of the Divine persons handle areas of creation and redemption "the doctrine of appropriations". To keep in mind that the Persons of the Trinity never do anything without consideration of one another in unity as One God, a corresponding doctrine connected to this is what theologians refer to as "the doctrine of inseperable operations".  

XV. The Person of the Holy Spirit.

    This area of our map focuses attention on the Person and work of the Holy Spirit, an area of Bible doctrine called "pneumatology". 

XVI. Understanding and Applying the Doctrine of the Trinity.

    In our next post we will begin our approach to this study by considering God's power and nature by way of the key names used for Him in the Bible.


Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Conclusion: Twelve Points That Prove Christianity - Since Jesus Is God, Whatever He Teaches Is True, He Taught The Bible Is God's Word, Therefore The Bible Is God's Word


    In our last post we explored the claims, acts, and statements made by Jesus about Himself. We also considered the testimony of His miracles. In all, we noted five lines of evidence that provide the cummulative case for Christ's deity. For review, this is what we concluded in the last post

Premise #1 In the New Testament, Jesus claimed to be God.

A. Direct statements (Mark 14:61-62; John 8:58).

B. The titles He used for Himself (“Son of Man”, over 80x, only in the Gospels; Son of God; Lord). See for example Mark 14:62-63.

C. Equating Himself with the Father (John 5:25-29; 10:30)

Premise #2 Jesus is proved to be God.

D. His actions and claims (John 2:5-7).

E. His knowledge of the future (Mark 14:16).

F. His miracles attest His identity, teachings, and claims, see for example Matthew 11:1-6; John 5:36.

G. His fulfillment of prophecies (Matthew 21:5 and Zechariah 9:9)

Conclusion: Therefore Jesus is God.

    The premises and conclusion of the above argument correspond to points seven, eight, and nine in the twelve point argument we've explored in this series. In today's post we once again will combine three points, the final three points, since they give us another logical argument that brings the twelve points to their intended end. Let me lay out the three final points (points 10,11,12) below that we will cover in this post

Premise #1 Since Jesus is God, whatever He teaches is true.

Premise #2 He Taught The Bible Is God's Word.

Therefore: The Bible Is God's Word

    If the reader will note the two sets of points above, they give us a summary of how we get from the Biblical text being reliable to it being the Word of God in our overall presentation of the truth claims of Christianity. Jesus is central to this transition, since what He taught about the Biblical text and how he used it in His ministry sets the standard for how we ought to regard the Bible today.

    In a past post I have argued more in detail what I call "An argument to inerrancy" here 

    In that post, I showed how Jesus' teaching about the Scriptures and the validation of His life through His resurrection from the dead bring us to conclude that the Bible is the inerrant, infallible Word of God. It goes without saying that we could also reach the same conclusion through a survey of fulfilled Bible prophecy or consideration of God's attributes. Together with Jesus Himself, these three approaches provide a three-corded strand of apologetic rope that is not easily broken (to borrow a phrase from Ecclesiastes 4:12). 

    What I like about centralizing our view of Scripture on Jesus' view is that the skeptic has to contend with Jesus, rather than just evidences or logical arguments. Arguments and evidences have their place. When it comes to the authority of Scripture, we must take it at face value by understanding what its central Actor had to say about it.

    What I'll present below are various phrases used by Jesus in the Gospels to describe the Biblical text. At the time Jesus would had taught these things, the Old Testament would had been the only portion of the Scriptures available. Since Jesus had commissioned His Apostles and since many of them would write the New Testament books, whatever statements Jesus made about the Old Testament would apply to the New Testament. 

    We find early on in Christianity following Jesus' ascension the equation of the New Testament with the Old Testament. Paul for example quotes from Deuteronomy and Luke in 1 Timothy 5:18, treating them as "Scripture". Further, Peter includes Paul's letters alongside the Scriptures of the Old Testament in his comments on them in 2 Peter 3:16. With those observations, lets look at what Jesus taught about the Scriptures.

A. Jesus and His use of the phrase "It is written"

    Jesus would sometimes use the phrase "it is written" to assert the Divine authority of the Old Testament (Matthew 4:4, 6, 7, 10; 11:10; 21:13; 26:24, 31 / Mark 1:2, 7:6, 9:12, 13; 11:17; 14:21, 27 / Luke 4:4, 8, 10, 17, 7:27; 10:26; 18:31; 19.46; 20.17, 22, 22:37; 24.44, 46 / John 6:31,45; 8:17; 10:34; 12:14, 16; 15:25; 19:19, 20, 22).

B. Jesus and His use of the term “Scripture”.

    Jesus used another closely associated term, "scripture", to describe the Old Testament (Matthew 21:42, 22:29, 26:54, 56/ Mark 12:24, 14:49 / Luke 24:27, 32, 45, John 5:39). In these instances, Jesus describes the scriptures as fulfilled, having Divine authority, without error or "inerrant" (Matthew 22:29) and incapable of failure or "infallible" (John 10:35).

C. Jesus and the term “fulfilled”.

    The third term used by Jesus in His teaching on scripture is His often used phrased it is fulfilled (Matthew 4:14;
5:17; 8:17; 12:1; 13:14,35; 21:4; 26:54, 56 / Mark 1:15; 14:49 / Luke 4:21; 21:22, 24 / John 12:38; 13:18, 25; 17:12).

D. Jesus and the phrases “truly, truly” (i.e. “verily, verily”) and “I say to you”.

    Jesus used the phrase "truly truly" in John 1:51; 3:3, 5, 11; 5:19, 24, 25; 6:26, 32, 47, 53; 8:34, 51, 58; 10:1, 7; 12:24; 13:16, 20, 21, 38; 14:12; 16:20, 23 and 21:18. We then find Jesus using the phrase "I say" with reference to his own Divine Authority in Matthew 5:18, 22, 22, 26, 28, 32, 34, 39, 44; 6:2, 5, 16, 25, 29, 8.10, 11; 10:15, 23, 29; 11:23, 24; 12:43; 13:30, 37: 14:9, 14, 18, 25, 30 / Luke 4:24 and Luke 5:24. In Luke 6:25, Jesus would use the phrase "but I say" to contrast himself to the Jewish traditions, as seen in Luke 7.9, 14, 26, 28, 47.10:12; 11:8, 9, 51; 12:5, 22, 27, 37, 44.

E. Jesus used the title “Word of God” to describe the Bible.

    This title “Word of God” entailed the books of the Bible as inerrant and infallible as originally given, with that same authority carrying down to the copies and translations. Thus, Jesus used this phrase "word of God" in places such as Matthew 4:4; 15:6 / Mark 7:13 / Luke 8:11, 21; 11:28 / John 3:34; 8:47 / John 10:35.

    Let the reader note the mountain of verses that give us a clear picture of Jesus' views on the Biblical text. His claims and demonstration of His deity, coupled with His death and resurrection from the dead, more than qualifies Jesus to be the authority to make claims about the authority of Scripture. It is for these reasons we can right conclude in the final point of our twelve point case for proving Christianity: 

Therefore, the Bible is the Word of God and anything opposed to it is false.

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Twelve Points That Prove Christianity - In the New Testament Jesus Claimed To Be God, Proved To Be God, Therefore Jesus Is God.


    We have pursued a series that lays out twelve points that cumulatively build a case to proving the truth claims of Christianity. The outline we have been following, originally devised by the late author and Christian apologist Norman Geisler, is as follows

1. Truth about reality is knowable.
2. Opposites cannot both be true.
3. The theistic God exists.

4. If God exists, then miracles are possible.

5. Miracles can be used to confirm a message from God.

6. The New Testament is historically reliable.

7. The New Testament says that Jesus claimed to be God.

8. Jesus’ claim to be God is confirmed by miracles.

9. Therefore, Jesus is God.

10. Whatever Jesus (who is God) teaches is true.

11. Jesus taught that the Bible is the Word of God.

12. Therefore, it is true that the Bible is the Word of God (and anything opposed to it is false).

    We have considered the first six points in previous posts. In today's post we are going to combine points seven, eight, and nine that deal with the historicity and claims of Jesus Himself. The way Geisler lays out these particular points gives us a short logical argument, with two premises and a conclusion.

Premise #1 In the New Testament, Jesus claimed to be God.

Premise #2 Jesus is proved to be God.

Conclusion: Therefore Jesus is God.

    The reader only need remember that each of the prior six points build on top of one another as a cummulative case. As I accept one point, the next point after it follows. Up to this point in our series, we've arrived at demonstrating the reliability of the New Testament. As we get to the final three points in this twelve point system, issues such as Biblical inerrancy and the ultimate conclusion of the Bible being the Word of God will come into view. To bridge the distance between mere "reliability" to "inerrancy", we must see how Jesus treated the Scriptures and understood Himself. As far as I can tell, the purpose of points seven, eight, and nine provide this very bridge.

Let's look then at these points and offer some brief examples of them in the Gospels. I would encourage readers to consult each of the verse references below to observe what Jesus taught about the Bible so as to draw their own conclusions. 

Premise #1 In the New Testament, Jesus claimed to be God.

A. Direct statements (Mark 14:61-62; John 8:58).

B. The titles He used for Himself (“Son of Man”, over 80x, only in the Gospels; Son of God; Lord). See for example Mark 14:62-63.

C. Equating Himself with the Father (John 5:25-29; 10:30)

Premise #2 Jesus is proved to be God.

D. His actions and claims (John 2:5-7).

E. His knowledge of the future (Mark 14:16).

F. His miracles attest His identity, teachings, and claims, see for example Matthew 11:1-6; John 5:36.

G. His fulfillment of prophecies (Matthew 21:5 and Zechariah 9:9)

Conclusion: Therefore Jesus is God.

    In today's post we considered points seven, eight, and nine of the twelve point case for proving Christianity. We took those points and laid them out in the form of a logical argument. We also gave same verse references in the Gospel accounts that demonstrate Jesus' claims and actions. By establishing what Jesus had to say about Himself, coupled with what we've already demonstrated about the reliability of the Gospel records in previous posts, we are poised to consider what will be Jesus' attitude towards the Biblical documents in the next post.

Saturday, July 15, 2023

Twelve Points That Prove Christianity - Point Six: The New Testament Gospels Are Reliable


    In this series of posts we have looked at the outline for demonstrating the truth of Christianity by the late Norman Geisler. In his outline he lists twelve points that start with the truth of reality and brings the reader, step-by-step, to the conclusion that the Bible is the Word of God. So far in the series we have look at five of these steps.

1. Truth about reality is knowable.

2. Opposites cannot both be true.

3. The theistic God exists.

4. If God exists, then miracles are possible.

5. Miracles can be used to confirm a message from God.

    As we look over these first five points, the first two provide a necessary philosophical foundation about truth itself. As the church father Augustine has noted "all truth is God's truth". In establishing the truth about truth, we find that truth is rooted in the nature of God Himself.

    Then, we find that points three to five switch from philosophical considerations to theological truth claims. It is in these points we find that God has made himself known in creation. When we grant the first five points, we arrive at a general theism, that is, belief in an all-powerful, all-knowing, everywhere-present Creator and Sustainer of the universe who is the source of Truth and the ground for objective morality. 

    As we've noted, this God who has revealed Himself is involved in the upholding and furtherance of His will through history, nature's laws, men's decisions, and the rise and fall of governments in what we call "Providence". As God works through general providence and upon specific events in "special providence", we find He occassionally performs miracles in what is called "extraordinary providences". As we view God's miraculous workings, we can see how He has confirmed His presence and revelation. A robust teaching on Divine Providence is found in Christianity. When we combine the Old Testament Judaism of the Hebrew Bible with New Testament Christianity, we have a complete Judeo-Christian worldview, with God at the center. 

    Today we consider the sixth point "The reliability of the New Testament Gospels".

The New Testament Gospels are reliable.

    As we briefly survey this sixth point, we can note five ways to show the reliability of the Gospels.

A. Archaeology has confirmed the details of the Gospel records.

    The science of archaeology proven quite servicable to the overall case for the accuracy of the New Testament text. Although archaeology alone cannot "prove the Bible", it can disprove skepticism about the details of the Bible. Archaeology functions similarly to miracles, in that it cannot compel people to saving faith. 

    Nevertheless, the findings of archaeology, like miracles, can remove obstacles and excuses given by unbelievers for not believing the truth. We must recall of course that only the Holy Spirit can work inside the human heart to convince the mind and incline the will to trust in the Gospel. So, what are some ways archaeology confirms the details of the Gospel records?

* In 1888 the "Pool of Bethesda" was uncovered. Two major pools were discovered, along with five porticoes. Skeptical scholarship questioned so much of the Gospel of John as a historical document. This discovery confirmed that John's record in John 5:1 of the Pool of Bethesda was indeed historically accurate.

* Coinage from the first century is another method of confirm the historical details of the New Testament Gospels. Jewish coins with the inscription "Herod, King of the Jews" match what we read of Herod in Matthew 2:1 in regards to "Herod, King of the Jews".

* In the 1960's a Latin inscription was found featuring the name "Pilate, Prefect of Rome". Pilate as a historical figure was already known about in the Jewish Historian Josephus.

    I could list many other examples, but the above gives a sampling that gives evidence concerning how archaeology confirms the New Testament Gospels.

B. Historical sources outside the New Testament confirm the Gospels details.

    I've already alluded to Josephus in the last point. Josephus was a Jewish historian who first served as a general in the Jewish revolts in Jerusalem in 66-70 A.D. The emperor Nero was in power at the beginning of the revolt, with his general Vespasian presiding over the siege of Jerusalem. 

    When Nero was assisinated, Vespasian was called to become Emperor of Rome, with his son Titus taking over the siege of the city. It was at this point that Josephus surrendered himself to the Romans, becoming the court historian of the siege. Josephus' work "Antiquities of the Jews, particularly Books 17 to 20, gives much biographical information on well known figures in the Gospels, including Herod the Great, John the Baptist, Caesar Augustus, and scattered statements about Jesus Himself. We find out additional details about groups such as the Pharisees, Sadducees, and the Herodians, all involved in the plot to crucifiy Jesus.

    Certain Roman historians such a Tactitus and Jewish Sources as the Babylonian Talmud speak of Jesus as a miracle worker, a teacher in Israel, who had disciples, who was crucified, and who was believed to had been raised alive from the dead. 

    Historians treat the Gospel records as primary sources for the study of Jesus, with secondary sources like Joephus aiding in understanding the wider background. In the last forty-five years, New Testament scholarship has emphasized the need to understand Jesus' life in the setting of the so-called "Second Temple Judiasm" (meaning the period stretching from the rebuilding of the temple in Ezra's time in 450 b.c. to the days of first century). This so-called "Jewish reclamation" of the historical Jesus has provided a historical model that enables scholarship to verify how the New Testament Gospels fit with first century, Second Temple Judaism. 

    When I read the Gospels alongside secondary sources such as Josephus' "Antiquities of the Jews", I liken it to putting together a jigsaw puzzle. Sources such as Josephus, Tactitus, The Talmud, early church fathers like Eusebius, and other function as the edge pieces. The Gospels give us the central pieces of the overall picture.

    A prime example of this is the visit of the Magi to see the infant Christ in Matthew 2. In that account, we are told they were looking for one born "King of the Jews". Secular historical records of the time record misgivings that Rome had toward the Parthians (descendants of the Persian Empire (6th to 4th century b.c.). The arrival of the Parthian Magi no doubt would had troubled Herod, since he represented Roman interests that had placed him in his role as "King of the Jews". 

    Knowing such details helps us see why Herod was unsettled by the Magi's appearance (not to mention their wanting to find "The King of the Jews", a rival to Herod's position no doubt)! We know from Josephus' record of Herod's career and life that Herod the Great was suspicious of anyone trying to usyrup his throne. Matthew and Luke's portrayal of Herod match exactly with the high anxiety we read of Herod in Josephus.

C. Paul’s statements in 1 Corinthians 15:1-10 can confirm the closeness of the Gospel records to their original events.

    Paul records an ancient hymn to Jesus in the opening verses of 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 

"For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures." 

    In surveying the Greek text of these verses, one finds a certain rhythmic quality to them that gives tell-tale evidence that they were part of some ancient Christian hymn. Historical scholarship of all stripes has assigned the origin of this hymn no later than eighteen months to five years following the events of Jesus' crucifixion and the empty tomb.

    Scholars such as Gary Habermas have written extensively on how Paul's wording in 1 Corinthians 15 lends credibility to what we read in the Gospel accounts. If we take the list of eye-witnesses mentioned by Paul, as well as the short hymn he cites in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, we find it lines up neatly with the overall outline of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection recorded in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. 

    The 600 or so verses that those first three Gospels share in common provide a literary core from which we can reconstruct the life of Jesus. The first three Gospels are called "Synoptic Gospels", due to their way of "seeing together" the biography Jesus. This literary core, which provides evidence of some sort of common oral preaching and teaching already ongoing by the Apostles, is the reason why scholarship further asserts the antiquity of Paul's use of this hymn in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4.

    As a final note, Paul's testimony of his conversion in Galatians 1:11-24 gives us the exact timeframe in which He would had received the tradition of Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection that he speaks of in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4. The testimony of Paul in Galatians 1:11-24, along with the three versions of his conversion in Acts 9, 22, and 26, places his conversion no later than 34/35 A.D. Jesus was crucified and resurrected in 33 A.D. 

    Therefore with these evidences at hand, we find the amazing fact that we are closer to the events of the empty tomb than any other record ever gets to any event in antiquity. The Gospel records were written within 30-40 years after the events they record. With what we see in Paul's testimony, we find only further corroboration of the reliability of the Gospel records.

D. Three reasons we can trust the Gospels of the New Testament (Geisler and Turek, ppgs 275-297).

    Scholar Dr. Frank Turek lists in his book "I don't Have Enough Faith To be an Atheist" reasons why we can trust the New Testament Gospels.

*The New Testament writers included embarrassing details about themselves. (Mark 14:50-52)

*They describe miracles like other events: with simple, unembellished details.

*The authors abandoned long-held sacred beliefs and practices, adopted new ones, and willingly died for their faith.

E. The textual reliability of the very words of the New Testament Gospels shows that we have the same words that were written in the original manuscripts.

    This final line for proving the reliability of the New Testament Gospels deals with how we can know whether or not we have the actual words used by the authors. The science of textual criticism tells us that on average, we possess a 99.9% certainty of the wording in our current translations in comparison to the 5,688 Greek manuscripts and over 20,000 manuscripts of ancient versions and translations of the New Testament. 

    No other document of antiquity comes close to possessing this amount of textual preservation between the composition of the manuscripts and their copies. Even though we do not possess the original manuscripts of the New Testament (also called "autographs"), we can reconstruct the text of the Gospels from all the thousands of manuscripts I just mentioned.

    I won't go any further, only to say that as we discover more manuscripts, we are producing better translations. The accuracy of the Hebrew Old Testament underlying our English Old Testament enjoys similar accuracy statistics, even though its translation and transmission spans twice as long as the New Testament text.


    Today we have looked at five ways we can know that the text of the New Testament Gospels is reliable. We noted archaeology, historical sources, Paul's statements in 1 Corinthians 15, certain other areas like embarrasing details, and the textual history of the text itself. In our next post, we will consider points seven, eight, and nine of our twelve steps to proving the truth of Christianity -

7. In the New Testament, Jesus claimed to be God.
8. Jesus is proved to be God.
9. Therefore Jesus is God.

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Twelve Points For Proving Christianity - Points Four & Five: Since God exists, miracles are possible and can confirm His message


    In today's post we shall treat the fourth and fifth points together in our series "twelve points for proving Christianity. In this series we have been exploring a twelve-point outline, devised by the late Christian scholar Dr. Norman Geisler, that serves to prove the truth claims of Christianity. The first three points that we have explored so far are as follows:

1. Truth about reality is knowable.

2. Opposites cannot both be true.

3. The theistic God exists.

    The fourth and fifth points deal with what follows from the fact of God's existence. Point number four tells us that since God exists, miracles are possible. Point number five asserts that a miracle can attest or confirm a message as coming from God.

    We had spent some time in the last post showing why Christian theism is the only valid view of Theism. Christian theism is the only version of theism that proposes God's intervention and preservation of the creation. Islam denies any real involvement of God in the affairs of people. Judaism tends to relegate God's involvement to the past, with a general sense that God is no longer involved in the affairs of life. Neither religious system has a well developed theology of what is called "Providence". 

    Although Judaism, Islam, and Christianity have beliefs about creation, only Christianity has a well worked out teaching of Divine Providence, which asserts God's continuing involvement in the governments of the world, history, physical laws, and personal lives.

    As noted, point number four tells us that since God exists, miracles are possible. Point number five asserts that a miracle can attest or confirm a message as coming from God. We will now move forward with a further discussion about God's providence and flesh out three implications which follow from points number four and five.

A. Christian theism establishes God created the universe and intervenes in our world.

    It is in the teaching on Providence that theologians speak of three subdivisions. There is what we first call "general providence", which refers to God's involvement and use of governments, history, physical laws, and personal lives. We could say God works indirectly through these to achieve His most wise ends. The Westminister Confession of Faith defines what this General Providence is in chapter five, section one of its statement on the subject

"God the great Creator of all things doth uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things, from the greatest even to the least, by his most wise and holy providence, according to his infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of his own will, to the praise of the glory of his wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy."

    As we think on general providence, scriptures such as Psalm 97; Psalm 104; Romans 11:33-36 are examples of this overall method by which God governs and sustains our world. 

    The second subdivision is termed "special providence". In general providence, God works indirectly through all things, as described further in chapter five, section three of the Wesminister Confession of Faith

"God, in his ordinary providence, maketh use of means, yet is free to work without, above, and against them, at his pleasure."

    In so-called "special providence", we find God working to a degree to specifically guide a particular portion of His creation or in a person's life in specific circumstance. If the key term for general providence is God's working "through things", special providence is God working "upon things". A prime example of this in the Bible is God interrupting the flow of the Jordon River in Joshua 3. We find God using natural events (spring-time flooding) and the circumstances of the Jewish people (they crossing into the promised land) to act upon a specific guiding of the Jordon to cease its flow. In personal life, God's answers to prayer, especially exceptional instances of answers to prayer, provide further examples of God's special providences. Roughly speaking, a "special providence" straddles the line between "general providence" and what theologians refer to under a third subheading - "extraordinary providence".

    Extraordinary providences or miracles involve God directly intervening in affairs that alter, enhance, modify, or suspend the course of physical laws and things. It is in this realm that God doesn't merely act "through" things, or "upon things", but "in things". As physical laws go, they describe a given state of affairs apart from the intervention of an intelligent agent. 

    If I drop a rock for example, the law of gravity tells me that the rock will hit the ground. However, if someone reaches out their hand to catch the rock, we see the altering of the rock's path. It is not that gravity is cancelled out so much as it is an intelligent agent intervening directly on the given situation. Miracles or extraordinary providences cover this final area. Theologians call this final category by this name, since this third route is the least frequent way that God operates in our world.

    In having surveyed briefly these three subdivisions of the subject of Divine providence (general, special, and extraordinary providence), what remains is to offer a definition of miracles (i.e extraordinary providence), define how we can tell when a miracle has occured, and then understand how this can prove a message has come from God.

B. Miracles are infrequent events done by God that are naturally impossible and identified within a particular spiritually and religiously significant context.

    In this above definition of a miracle, we find embedded the criteria by which to judge when a miracle has occurred and for discerning a given message. Let's proceed step-by-step through the definition.

    First, "Miracles are infrequent events done by God". According to the late H.L. Wilmington's book "The Complete Book of Bible Lists", we find roughly 85 main miracles in the Bible, along with an additional nearly 40 miracles done in the lives of other Biblical personalities. On average one miracle every five years occurred over the course of four millennia of redemptive history in the Bible. Of those, 35 were performed by Jesus. 

    A miracle's infrequency almost implies the inability to repeat it or replicate it. If certain miracles are found to occur in similar fashion to past ones, it serves to certify the same source for the miracle. We can think for instance of Jesus healing the blind, making the lame to walk, and performing exorcisms as proofs of the source of His ministry - God.

    Secondly, the definition states, "that are naturally impossible". The premier example of this is Jesus' physical resurrection. All agree that human beings do not rise naturally from the dead. The claim of Christianity is not that Jesus raised naturally from the dead, but rather "God raised Jesus from the dead". When historians are determining what best explains a certain event of history, they usually have a variety of rival explanations. In the case of the empty tomb, there have been roughly one-half dozen explanations offered throughout history (stolen body explanations, switching of Jesus' body, mis-identifying of the tomb scenarios, and others). Such explanations are rooted in naturalism - the assumption that all that exists is space, matter, physics, and chemistry. 

    Over time, each of the naturalistic explanations have failed to account for how a crucified Jesus could have any empty tomb, coupled with the testimony that God raised Jesus from the dead, as well as the emergence of Christianity in the midst of a pagan world hostile to it. Once we have established that a given event is "natural impossible", this leave room for accepting the truth of the miraculous.

C. Miracles can confirm the truth of a message or messenger from God, but cannot compel belief in God.

    Thirdly, in our definition of miracle, we note "and identified within a particular spiritually and religiously significant context." This last feature is crucial, since without a context, miracles could be viewed as nothing more than anamolies. All the miracles of the Bible always occur at particular moments, connected with particular persons, and in religiously important situations. This feature of the miraculous is important to note, since skeptics will claim that it is impossible to identify a miracle from a natural anamoly. 

    Yet with this final feature, identifying God's direct, extraordinary involvement nearly certain. Further, by connecting a miracle to its source (God) and its situation (something He has revealed in previous revelation in His Word), we can then identify its message.

Closing thoughts

    Today we looked at points four and five of our series on "twelve points that prove Christianity"

4. Since God exists, miracles are possible. 

5. A miracle can attest or confirm a message as coming from God.

    What these two points do is get us from "God in general" to the specific God of Scripture that intervenes in our world and performs miracles. In our next post, we shall look at point number six: The New Testament is historically reliable.

Monday, July 10, 2023

Twelve Points For Proving Christianity - Point Three: It Is True That The Theistic God Exists


    So far in this series we have considered the following first two points:

1. The truth about reality is knowable.
2. The opposite of what is true is that which is false.

    These points derive from an original outline devised by the late Christian thinker Norman Geisler. Readers may review the prior posts to this one in the supplied links above, where I introduce and explore the first two points. In this third part of our series, we want to explore point number three, "that it is true that the theistic God exists."

It is true that the theistic God exists.

    When we speak of the term "theism", what do we mean? The word "theism" originates from the Greek word for God - "theos". Thus, to say I am an advocate of "theism" means I am a believer in God's existence, or that my understanding of the world (i.e. my "worldview") is rooted in the existence of God. When defining what sort of God is believed to exist in theism, it is the belief that there is one, ultimate, Personal reality, God, separate from and responsible for creating and sustaining this physical reality we know as the universe.

A. What is ultimate reality? Only one view can be right.

    Dr. Geisler has throughout his many books and lectures summarized all of human thought and religion into seven worldviews.

*Materialism says that physics, space, energy and chemistry are all that is real. (ex: Secular Humanism)

*Pantheism states that all reality is god and god is all reality. (pan = all ; theism = god) (ex: Hinduism).

*Panentheism states that all reality is in god. He is changing and adapting to the world. (ex: Liberal theology)

*Atheism says there is no God, only this physical reality. (ex: New Atheism, Secular humanists).

*Polytheism states there are multiple gods. (ex: Mormonism)

*Agnosticism states we cannot know whether there is a god, or what god is like. (ex: Aldus Huxley).

*Theism states there is one all powerful, all knowing, all good God who created everything.

    As we have defined theism already, we understand that the general discussion about theism is subdivided into four very different schools of thought.

-Deism states God made the world, wound it up like a clock, then stepped back.

-Islam has a form of theism, but they believe Allah generally doesn’t intervene nor can be known.

-Judaism believes there is One God, yet deny the Trinity.

-Christianity states One God, who is Father, Son, Holy Spirit; He intervenes in our world by providence and miracle; Jesus raised from the dead.

    As we will explore the twelve points in this series of posts, there is only one type of theism that can ultimately true. What follows is an attempt to show why only one of these can be the correct view of theism. What the reader will note below are what we call "arguments" or "proofs" for the existence of the God of the Bible as revealed in Jesus. For sake of space I won't expound on any of the arguments. The purpose of such arguments is not so much to "prove" Christianity as to demonstrate that Christianity's truth claims are more probable, given the premises and conclusions each argument presents, along with whatever evidence one can cite in support of them. 

B. God is the best explanation for the origin of the universe. (This eliminates options #1-#4 above).

Premise #1: Everything that begins to exist, has a cause.

Premise #2: The universe began to exist.

Therefore, the universe has a cause for its existence.

C. God is the best explanation for the fine-tuning of the universe for intelligent life. (eliminates #1-#4, #6, Deism).

Premise #1: The fine-tuning of the universe is due to chance, necessity or design.

Premise #2: The fine-tuning of the universe is not due to chance or necessity.

Therefore, The fine-tuning of the universe is due to design.

D. God is the best explanation for objective moral values and duties. (Eliminates polytheism, Islam).

Premise #1: If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.

Premise #2: Objective moral values and duties do exist.

Therefore, God exists.

E. God is the best explanation for the facts of Jesus empty tomb

Premise#1: There are four main facts: Jesus’ crucifixion, honorable burial, tomb found empty by women followers, disciples claim post-mortem, physical appearances.

Premise #2: These facts are either explained by natural causes or resurrection.

Premise #3: The best explanation of these facts is resurrection. (i.e. “God raised Jesus from the dead”).

Premise #4: The entailment of resurrection includes the existence of the Biblical God of Christianity.

Therefore, the God of Christianity exists.

Closing thoughts:

    We have considered today why the theistic God exists. In the first two points of our "twelve points" case for Christianity, we saw that we can have a true knowledge of the world around us and that the opposite of what is true is false. In establishing those first two points, it begs the question as to what explains our ability to know anything about our world, or for there to be laws of logic such as the law of non-contradiction? Whenever we attempt to answer these questions from the other worldviews listed at the beginning of this post, we find none of them are adequate. Unless truth and logic are grounded in the nature of God Himself, that is, the God who can interract with our world in providence (which Christian theism affirms), then we have no truth or logic. The same goes for the sample arguments I gave. If we were to trace those arguments out in detail, we would find that the Theistic God alone can explain why we have a universe, why our universe is fine-tuned for intelligent life, why there are objective moral values and duties, and why the facts of the empty tomb are best explained by His existence. 

    As we continue in this series, we will take these first three points (the truth of our world is knowable, whatever is true is opposite of whatever is false, it is true that that theistic God exists) as our foundation. If we take these first three points to be the case, then the remaining points will follow as we proceed through the steps. In our next post, we will pursue point number four, "If God exists, then miracles are possible".

Saturday, July 8, 2023

Twelve Points For Proving Christianity - PointTwo: The Opposite Of True Is False



    Once I heard a lecture delivered by the late Christian apologist Norman Geisler. In the lecture he laid out what he called "Twelve Points for proving Christianity". I found his outline so helpful in thinking through how someone could discuss the truth claims of Christianity. The hope is that readers will gain greater confidence in sharing their Christian faith, as well as defending it. In our last post we began with the first point "The Truth of Reality is Knowable". Readers who desire to review the first two posts prior to this one may do so here and here In today's post, we link this first point to a second "The Opposite of whatever is true is false".

The opposite of true is false.

    What follows is defining and explaining a foundational principle for reasoning and understanding how we can know anything - the law of non-contradiction.

A. The law of non-contradiction means something cannot be true and not true in the same way and in the same sense.

    As I mentioned, the law of non-contradiction tells me that something cannot be one thing, and yet be its opposite at the same time and in the same way. It is such "first principles" for foundational laws of logic that enable us to make sense of anything or to know anything at all. Anytime an individual attempts to violate the law of non-contradiction, he or she is acting "irrational", that is, they do not have proper justification for their beliefs and behavior. We know that laws of logic such as this derive from God Himself, since the Second Person of the Trinity Himself is called "The Logos", expressing the very nature of God Himself (John 1:1,14). In other words, if God did not exist, logic itself would not exist.

    This second point of "the opposite of true is false" is so necessary when talking to people about Christian truth claims. Only Christianity can explain why we live in a world that includes the universal law of non-contradiction. There is a reason why there is no such thing as square circles or making a nonsense statement such as "I am here and not here at the same time". If we did not have such a thing as "the opposite of true is false" (the law of non-contradiction), then we could not have conversations with one another, make sense of anything, nor would anything exist at all!

B. Sinful tendencies of the tongue try to ignore the law of non-contradiction – James 3:8-12

    The law of non-contradiction not only grounds rational thinking and making sense of our physical world, but it also exposes the errors that occur in our ethical beliefs and moral behaviors. The Apostle James shows how irrational sin can be in the realm of our speech in James 3:8-12

"But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; 10 from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. 11 Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh."

    Here James demonstrates how God's nature in rooting rationality itself is woven into the created order. When we spiritually and morally oppose God, to do so is to sin or transgress. Sadly, human beings, even those born-again in saving faith, will find themselves saying one thing while meaning another, with the very act betraying their true intentions. They may think they can do two opposites at the same time and in the same way, yet God looks on the heart and sees their true spiritual and moral condition (compare 1 Samuel 16:7). 

    God's nature of being Holy shows that despite sin's efforts, it cannot violate the law of non-contradiction. In other words, we either are doing what is right and true or what is wrong and false. As the late preacher Adrian Rogers once noted "a half truth is still a full lie".

C.Sin by its very nature is irrational,
that is, it violates whatever is true. Isaiah 5:20-21

    When you think about it, sin itself is at its root irrational, since it attempts to believe and behave independently as if there were no God. The Lord Himself pronounced judgment on His people for their sin. In a striking passage that features what it looks like when the law of non-contradiction is violated, we read these words in Isaiah 5:20-21 

"Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! 21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes And clever in their own sight!" 

    We see examples of people attempting to violate the law of non-contradiction and thus leaping into irrationality, especially in the current popularity of identity politics and claiming to self-identify as one gender in opposition to one's true gender. Such moves are applauded, even though they have no basis in logic or physical reality. Paul would expound on this state of affairs in Romans 1:18-31, describing such a mindset in Romans 1:21

"For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened."

Closing thoughts:

    In today's post we explored the second point in our twelve points of proving Christianity - the opposite of true is false. This point, along with the first "the truth about reality is knowable" grounds our discussion in the all important subject of "truth". We know that Jesus included truth in defining what it means to be converted in the true knowledge of the God of the Bible (John 17:3). Moreover, Jesus also claimed that He Himself is "The Truth" (John 14:6). Truth, as we have seen, is not just an abstract principle, but ultimately is the Almighty powerful God, revealed in the Person of Christ Himself. In our next post, we will explore our third point for proving Christianity - "it is true that the theistic God exists".

Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Twelve Points For Proving Christianity - Point One: Truth About Reality Is Knowable.


    Once I heard a lecture delivered by the late Christian apologist Norman Geisler. In the lecture he laid out what he called "Twelve Points for proving Christianity". I found his outline so helpful in thinking through how someone could discuss the truth claims of Christianity. What I want to do in this post and the next several postings is take Dr. Geisler's outline and unpack the points he presented. In my last post I introduced these twelve points, which readers may access and review here

    The hope is that readers will gain greater confidence in sharing their Christian faith, as well as defending it. If the reader is not a Christian, perhaps these posts may demonstrate why it is most reasonable to believe Christianity, with the prayer that the Holy Spirit may use the Scripture references to convinced the reader to repent of their sins and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. 

    The first point gives us the proper starting point for setting the stage for any discussion about the Christian faith - the issue of truth.

1. Truth about reality is knowable.

    Now why is this first point essential? When we look at our current cultural situation, many deny there being any such thing as "objective truth". Often people will say something like "what is true for you is true for you, but what is true for me is different". Perhaps more contemporary is the slogan "my truth", meaning that someone is presenting their view of the world and themselves. 

    According to this popular view of truth (called "relativism"), truth is relative, truth is "what you make it" or "what culture defines it to be". Such ideas comprise what is called "post-modernism". Post-modern thinking is a group of philosophical notions that deny there being a larger narrative that explains everything else, that dismisses objective right and wrong, and doubts the absolute nature of truth. I won't go into the history of why this current wind of thought is so-named, only to say that some believe we have surpassed the so-called "modern" period of thought that began in the 18th century Enlightenment, emphasizing the certainty of man's reason to arrive at understanding the overarching purpose of the world. It is an area of much debate as to whether "modernism" and "post-modernism" are two stages of current Western thinking, or just one continuous pattern, since both deny the reality of Divine revelation, and tend to deny the reality and involvement of God in our world. For our purposes, we will treat the two as distinct stages in the history of Western culture for the past two and one-half centuries. 

    Postmodern thinkers tend to root knowledge in one's personal point of view more than objective reason, and tend to deny we can ever find such a thing as an overarching purpose or truth. That last area of post-modernism, "truth", claims that there is not one truth with a capital "T", but rather "truths" with a small "t". 

    To say "the truth about reality is knowable" may not seem like a big deal to some, yet in our climate of denying objective, universal truth, such a claim is a necessary starting point when discussing Christianity. When I say "objective", I mean that something is what it is and remains constant, regardless of what you or I or anyone else may think. 

    The feature of our universe and world that makes it capable of discovery, making observations, and drawing forth meaning from its regularities is what we call "the uniformity of nature". Where objective truth comes into contact is simply observing that people of any perspective can arrive at commonly shared conclusions about our physical world and universe, as well as discerning the objective moral values and duties woven into its fabric. 

     If truth is something that I only can construct in a given situation, then the ability to discover any meaning in life, to do science, or to have a conversation with someone else is made null and void. It is this feature of our world, namely that we can know true facts about it, regardless of who we are, that points the way to establishing the Biblical teaching that if indeed we live in an ordered world and universe, then it begs the question of what or Who brought it about? As you will see, a person cannot get very far without truth. If anything, we are designed to need and live by truth. 

    As I considered this first point from Dr. Geisler, I wanted to see what Scripture had to say about "truth". What follows are some of my own conclusions, as well as remarks about truth made by Dr. Geisler and other authors. 

A. Truth is whatever corresponds to reality. Genesis 1:16-19; 8:22; Ps 8:1-4 (God has made reality to be knowable).

B. Truth about truth (ppgs 37-38 “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist”, Geisler &Turek).

*Truth is discovered, not invented.

*Truth is transcultural; if something is true, it is true for all people, in all places, at all times.

*Beliefs cannot change a fact, no matter how sincerely they are held.

*Truth is not affected by the one professing it.

*All truths are absolute truths.

C. The road runner tactic (“is that true”?)

    Dr. Geisler popularized this "tactic" after the way the Road Runner in the cartoons would suddenly run around Wiley Coyote and cause him to be spooked or to fall off a cliff. The idea here is to take any particular claim, and apply the claim to itself to discover whether it is self-contradictory. 

    Such a move exposes the error of many of the popular slogans we hear in culture today. One can also ask the simple question "is that true?" (this has been made popular by Norman Geisler's student and now a leading Christian apologist, Dr. Frank Turek). Take the following examples.

*All religions are the same (is that true?)
     Is it true that all religions are the same? Christianity teaches Jesus was crucified and raised from the dead. Islam
denies the crucifixion but believes in a form of His resurrection. Judaism today has nothing to say about Jesus, since it believes He was a fraud. 

*All truth is relative (is that true?)
    This statement itself is a claim that is itself an objective, not relative, truth claim. Here we see the self-contradictory nature of the statement!

*You cannot know anything for certain (is that true?)
    In other words, are you certain that you cannot know anything for certain?

D. God is the basis of all truth, for He Himself is true by nature.

    It is amazing when you explore what the Bible teaches about this Divine attribute or perfection of God. God does not merely "have truth", He is true by nature.

*Exodus 34:6; Psalm 31:5; Psalm 57:10; Psalm 86:15; Isaiah 65:16; Malachi 3:6; John 14:6; Titus 1:1-2; James 1:17; 1 John 5:6.

More next time. 

Sunday, July 2, 2023

Introducing Twelve Points That Can Prove Christianity To Be True


    Today's post is the first of a series that presents a twelve-step process to demonstrating the truth claims of the Christian faith. The main outline is not original with this author. The late Christian author and thinker Norman Geisler developed this outline and spoke to many audiences when defending the claims of Christianity. Interested readers may access all of Dr. Geisler's teachings on Christian apologetics, theology, and more at Christian apologetics is that branch of Christian theology that seeks to explain, defend, and present why Christians believe what they believe. The term "apologetics" derives from a Greek word "apologia", which the Apostle Peter uses in 1 Peter 3:15 to describe "giving a defense of the hope that is with you". Below I have reproduced his outline of the "twelve steps"

1. Truth about reality is knowable.

2. Opposites cannot both be true.

3. The theistic God exists.

4. If God exists, then miracles are possible.

5. Miracles can be used to confirm a message from God.

6. The New Testament is historically reliable.

7. The New Testament says that Jesus claimed to be God.

8. Jesus’ claim to be God is confirmed by miracles.

9. Therefore, Jesus is God.

10. Whatever Jesus (who is God) teaches is true.

11. Jesus taught that the Bible is the Word of God.

12. Therefore, it is true that the Bible is the Word of God (and anything opposed to it is false).

    What I intend to do is devote the next several posts to the twelve above points. The goal will be to do an overview so as to equip Christian readers with an effective way of talking about their Christian faith. It is hoped too that non-Christian readers would seriously consider what each point has to say (I would even welcome responses and interraction). In all, may these next series of posts bring glory to the Lord Jesus Christ, who has decisively revealed God Himself in His incarnation, life, death, resurrection, and ascension.