- Atheists are enemies of the cross of Christ and of God. (Rom. 8:6-8).
- Atheists are not able nor willing understand the message of the gospel. (1 Cor. 2:15)
- Atheists operate with an unregenerate mind that is useless and lacking in content. (Eph. 4:17)
- Atheists minds have been blinded by the god of this world. (2 Cor. 4:4)
- Atheists will only come to Christ if the Lord opens their minds to respond to preaching of the gospel. (Acts 16:14)
Saturday, September 27, 2014
The Ultimate Reference Point: God or man
In short, here is what we are doing in presuppositional apologetics and what I think every Christian should do. First, we are providing the atheist an account for the hope that is in us according to 1 Peter 3:15. We are under no obligation to provide them with an account that meets their finite and ungodly demands for evidence which is according to their false standards. Their demands may be dismissed out of hand. They have no right, nor any authority to make such demands. If man is the ultimate reference point, which man is it?
We argue that Christian theism is true and as such is the only worldview that provides the necessary preconditions for the intelligibility of human experience.
We assert that if there is intelligibility, God exists. If there is no God, then nothing in human experience is genuinely intelligible. This means anyone arguing against God’s existence is actually presupposing God in order to argue against God. This is exactly correct.
The transcendental argument asks what else must be true in order for a particular claim to be true. Hence, we argue that Christian theism is true because of the impossibility of the contrary. And the contrary is only impossible if it involves contradiction. Hence, every version of the non-Christian worldview involves contradiction and is therefore impossible.
We step into the shoes of the unbeliever and ask him to provide us with an account of reality, of knowledge, and of morality that are consistent with one another. His metaphysic of pure chance makes it impossible for his own theory of knowledge and reduces his theory of morality to radically subjective nonsense. Whatever theory he invents, he always runs afoul in morality because he finds it impossible that morality can be transcendent, something that morality must be if it is to retain any meaning whatever.
Once we show the unbeliever that his position is self-refuting or involves contradiction, and hence reduce his view to absurdity, we ask him to see things from the Christian point of view.
We begin with the infinite, eternal, self-sufficient triune God of Scripture. And from there we show how God created all things, holds all things together, controls all things and that from this God all things flow. In Him we move and have our being. We show that we can have genuine knowledge because God reveals the truth about reality to us in nature and in Scripture. We show that morality is in fact transcendent and no human is above the divine moral law which is itself a reflection of God’s perfect nature.
We expect the unbeliever to reject this God because the unbeliever wants to make himself the ultimate reference point for reality, for knowledge, and for morality.
We realize that Peter did not command us to subject ourselves to the ungodly demands of unbelievers to meet their arrogant and ungodly standards. (1 Peter 3:15) We also realize that unbelievers hold the preaching of the cross of Christ in utter contempt. (1 Cor. 1:18) We realize that we do not shatter unbelieving worldviews with sophisticated rhetoric and clever logic. (1 Cor. 2:5; 2 Cor. 10:3-6) We understand that the world comes to Christ, not through their wisdom, but by the power of the Holy Spirit.
We engage the world in order to stop the mouths of the critics and the skeptics. We engage the world because we love God and seek to glorify Him in all we do. We engage the world because Jesus commanded us to make disciples, not converts. No, they are not the same thing.
Christian apologetics is first and foremost giving the non-Christian an account of the hope that is you through the gospel of Jesus Christ. This activity involves a positive proclamation of truth as well as it’s defense and in many cases it also involves the dismantling of the non-Christian system confronting it.
Unbelief is about the substitution of God for man as the ultimate reference point in human predication. We see this ultimate reference point reach it’s pinnacle in atheism. From this pinnacle, as it moves down toward the jungle if you don’t mind the expression, it begins to take on more nuanced and subtle expressions.
For example, while sitting on a plane in Charlotte this week, waiting to deplane, a lady sitting next to me was complaining to her friend sitting next to her about people that emphasize that boys and girls are different. She made the statement that as soon as her son says he won’t wear pink, she will dress him in pink from head to toe. I could not help but wonder where the child’s dad was in all this. The story is a perfect example of modern culture seeking to take the throne of human predication for it’s own self and reconstruct and engineer cultural norms. This mom was her own reference point and no one else, especially no God would impose such a foolish idea on her that boys and girls are different.
We see this same phenomenon in Denver, CO. where young kids and teachers are walking out on the school system because the board favors a more positive portrayal of American history than the current one which paints America in a very negative light. The teachers and mindless teenagers who blindly follow them insist in this case on being the ultimate reference point even for history.
This same principle can be witnessed by the “gay Christian” movement. These people desire to be the ultimate reference point for what makes one a Christian. They will not have anything, especially Scripture, serving as the final authority over their thinking on this subject. They know better than the writers of Scripture and no one, not God, and certainly not thousands of years of biblical history will convince them otherwise. They demand to be the ultimate reference point.
The Christian gospel begins with the ultimate reference point of God speaking to us through Christ, in Sacred Scripture, by the power of the Holy Spirit. From this basic principle, the Christian proclamation and defense of the gospel must begin. It is here more than anywhere else that our difference becomes clear. A Christian apologetic that compromises in this area is doomed to compromise in every other area even if that compromise is so subtle that only experts can see it. Where Christian truth is concerned, there can be no compromise at any time, for any reason, with anyone, ever!