Archive for the ‘Apologetics’ Category

Jeff Durbin

Jeff Durbin Pastor of Apologia Church, Christian apologist and host of Apologia Radio just spoke recently at a class on philosophy.  Here’s the video of it:

Here’s the video’s description:

Christian Apologist and Pastor, Jeff Durbin, was invited to speak to the Philosophy of Religion class at Scottsdale Community College. Initially, this was planned as a debate between Jeff and an Atheist. After being unable to find an Atheist to participate, Jeff was invited to give a positive presentation the existence of God and the truthfulness of the Christian Worldview.

Jeff presents and defends the claim: The proof of the Christian God is that apart from Him you can’t prove anything.

This is an excellent introduction to the Christian Worldview and the Biblical Gospel. We hope you’ll feel led to share this with your friends, family, and even those hostile to the Gospel.

It’s good to see someone applying Presuppositional apologetics as taught by Cornelius Van Til.

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discussion evangelism


It seems to be important that when we evangelize and engage in apologetics to communicate as clearly as possible the concepts of Christian truth or the reasoning for our defense and refutation.  Thus, apologetics illustration seems to be important in the apologist’s toolbox.

The following are twenty apologetics illustration I’ve thought might be helpful that I’ve written up on over the years.

I’ve tried to include illustrations also touching on facets of Presuppositional apologetics as taught by Cornelius Van Til.

Apologetics Sermon Illustration # 20: Torching A Safe Full of Fire Works and Self-Destructive Arguments

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“Pastor” Jaeson Ma of the New Apostolic Reformation movement has released a new music video called “Rise and Fall.”  At core it’s a Pelagian gospel instead of a Biblical gospel.

To begin with note what is omitted in the video:  The Gospel of how Jesus Christ actually saves us from our sins through Christ’s death, burial and Resurrection.

Now I realize that not every Christian song must be a three point sermon.  I’m not imposing a harsh standard that he has to use theological terminology like “Extra calvinisticum,”  “Supralapsarian” and “Asiety.”

The criticism here is more than nit-picking on what Jaeson Ma omitted; I don’t want to conclude that Jaeson Ma’s new song is heretical based merely on an argument from silence since that would be fallacious. We must also see what is in the content of the actual song: What is it’s message?

We must ask what is every song’s message or “gospel.”  Every song does reflect a worldview; the question is, which one does it reflect, the Christian worldview or a non-Christian worldview?

But how can we discern a song’s worldview?  Ask yourself, what does the song say about

  1. Man–Is he basically good or sinful (as Romans 3:10, 3:23 teaches)?
  2. God–Is He all Love without Holiness or is He Holy, and a God of Love and Wrath?
  3. The Problem–Is man’s basic problem with sin or something else?
  4. The Solution–Is Jesus the Savior or something else has become our functional gods and saviors?

Note what Jaeson Ma says between 3:16-26:

I know I made some mistakes in my life, No matter what you do right, no matter what you do wrong, you got to know you’re just human.”

Just “mistakes?”  God has revealed in the Bible that we have more than just mistakes–we have serious sins against Him.  It’s not picking on word choice–note also after pointing out how “no matter what you do wrong,” Jaeson Ma wants to comfort his hearers with the fact that “you got to know you’re just human.”  Does the Bible ever give that as a solution for man’s wrong doing and sin–to just know we are humans?  Is knowing we are humans then make everything wrong okay?

What a terrible means of justification; it’s fall short of being Biblical.

Note what  else is in minute 3:16.  The back ground lyrics between 3:16-24 says

You can knock me down I’ll get up standing tall, we rise and fall.”

Sounds like Moralistic Therapeutic Theism to me with its emphasis on one’s own effort.  The whole song has that theme but it’s at minute 3:16 that the content clearly is antithetical to gospel both with what Jaeson Ma has to say and the background chorus.  Come to think of it, it’s ironic that Jaeson Ma’s 3:16 is contrary to John 3:16, since one presuppose sin (John 3:17) while Ma present Moralistic Therapeutic Theism assurance that we’re just human.

That is not the Biblical Gospel since the Bible shares that the Gospel is about Jesus Christ who died and rise for our sins when Adam and all mankind has fallen.

The most disturbing part of the song that brings the brightest clarity that Jaeson Ma is preaching the Gospel of Pelagianism is towards the end of the song between 3:35-42:

Hold on to Hope.  Know that inside of you, there’s something good, so rise up.”

Jaeson Ma’s message is contrary to the biblical understanding of man’s total depravity.  Note how his lyrics contradict Romans 3:1-12:

as it is written,

“There is none righteous, not even one;
11 There is none who understands,
There is none who seeks for God;
12 All have turned aside, together they have become useless;
There is none who does good,
There is not even one.”

No doubt some might object that Jaeson Ma’s song can’t be heretical because it has a picture of Jesus.  Merely having a picture of Jesus doesn’t make one song Christian.  The question is whether or not the song is faithful to Jesus’ message.

In conclusion, Jaeson Ma’s Pelagian gospel attempt to rise, but it fall because of his lack of depth in understanding about the Fall.

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Vern Poythress

This is a lecture that Dr. Vern Poythress, professor at Westminster Theological Seminary.  It was delivered on April 8th, 2013 for a conference, called “Pensmore Dialogues on Science and Faith.”  It took place at the Patrick Henry College.  Dr. Poythress spoke for the second session and the title of his lecture is “Why the Beginning is Important and Why People Fight about it


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These are links on Presuppositional apologetics from around the Web between October 22nd-31st.  Enjoy!

1.) The Christian World View: Rational Predispositions That Support Truth

2.) Jack Kettler on Mormonism

3.) Antitheism Presupposes Theism (3)

4.) Facebook Epistemology [10/27/2013]

5.) Are Atheists Just Guessing? A follow up on a broken thought

6.) The Rape of Morality

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The following are links on Presuppositional apologetics between October 15th-21st, 2013.  Enjoy!

1.) Review of Van Til’s An Introduction To Systematic Theology

2.) Van Tilian Poetry

3.) Presuppositions and Harmonization: Luke 23:47 as a Test Case By Vern Poythress

4.) Peripatetic 20 – Islam and the Continuing Assertions of Yasser Ali

5.) A recent teaching by Jeff Durbin on Presuppositional apologetics:

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Jesus the Son of God D A Carson

This short work is an adaptation of three lectures that became the three chapters of this book, focusing on the title of Jesus as the Son of God. At the outset, the author explain that much of the discussion of the Son of God in contemporary scholarship focuses on it’s implication for Trinitarian theology but here he wishes to explore more of the idea of Christ as the Son of God in of itself. I enjoyed the book, especially with how Carson began this study with what the concept of “son.” Besides biological son, Carson noted how there are many “son of X” idioms with various variables of its function, ranging from identity, deserving and generating. The first chapter has various helpful charts showing different “son of X” idioms and how some of these are not translated in our English versions of the Bible but it is there in the Greek or Hebrew. It is in this context that Carson then unpacks the use of the Son of God in reference to Jesus in which the New Testament uses it to refer to His pre-existence, His Davidic root to the Messianic promise and as the Suffering Servant. Carson mentions several times that he can only look at a few passages due to space limitation but I wish he could have surveyed more passages in chapter, not because I didn’t think he did a good job but because he is capable and there is much to gleam from the passages he did analyze. I think the one thing I most appreciate about this book is D.A. Carson’s discussion about the role of exegesis, systematic theology, linguistics and Bible translations in the third chapter. While this last chapter mainly focuses on this discussion in the context of the translation of the Son of God in Bible versions used to reach Muslims, the implication of this chapter transcends Bible translation for Muslims. He notes how systematic theology without strong exegesis can be problematic, with the example of the doctrine of the eternal generation of the Son of God as Berkhof attempt to establish. Noting various exegetical error by Berkhof, Carson here notes that the eternal generation of the Son by the Father is best anchored in John 5:16-30 with it’s main point in 5:26. Carson’s treatment of John 5:16-30 in chapter two to establish the eternal generation of the Father is excellent and shows how advance doctrines of God can be established on exegetical lines. Yet one must have the maturity of being balanced with understanding the philosophical bent of theology in helping us explain concepts such as the Trinity and why the Church fathers employed philosophical language to sharpen distinctions and clarity so as to avoid heresies. Chapter three is an excellent apologetics for why translators should translate “Son of God” in a Muslim context, and a refutation of reader response theory form of translation philosophy. While I don’t want to give everything away, some of the highlights that I appreciated include his argument that the concept of Jesus as the Son of God is radically foreign no matter what the non-Christian cultural context is, even in the West’s pre-Christian and post-Christian era. There is something that is loss if we fail to translate the Son of God terminology in our translations since this term is quite theologically rich and have greater continuity in terms of the Bible’s inter-textuality. I appreciated the chapter closing with an appeal for Bible translators not to be only narrowly focused on linguistics but also exegesis, biblical and systematic theology. His parting words also encouraged me to see Bible translations in the context of a biblical missiology: “…the spread of the gospel in the early church saw the dissemination of Scripture along with the provision of missionaries and pastors. One wonders if at least some of the tensions over Bible translation springs from the commitment on the part of some to provide adequate translations without simultaneously providing missionaries and pastors” (108-09). Overall, a great book and one that shows how some books are physically small but packs a big punch.

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Scott Oliphint apologist

I think 2013 has been a very productive year for Dr. K. Scott Oliphint, Professor of Apologetics and Systematic Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary; he has done many interviews, written several articles for a general Christian audience and released a book after publishing another book previously last year.  Dr. Oliphint is definitely on a roll!

Last week Dr. Oliphint ministered at Holy Trinity Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Tampa, Florida.  He was a speaker for the church’s “Conversations that Matter” Series on the topic “If God is Good, Why is there Suffering and Evil?”

The Hour Long message can be seen here:




[HT: Westminster]

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If The World Lost Oxygen For 5 Seconds presuppositional apologetics

Point: As we mentioned earlier, it’s not easy conveying the two crucial idea of Presuppositional apologetics that (1) a non-Christian worldview end up being self-refuting and (2) the non-Christian actually presupposes something entirely different than what the nonbelievers professes to be their worldview.  How do we illustrate the fact that a non-believer can only theoretically argue against God’s existance when in actuality he’s dependent upon God as the precondition for human experience and rationality?

Picture:  Unlike the rest of the apologetics’ illustrations in this series, this one is not entirely original; rather it’s an attempt to improve on a popular analogy.  Greg Bahnsen, in his great debate with atheist Gordon Stein said

Imagine a person who comes in here tonight and argues ‘no air exists’ but continues to breathe air while he argues. Now intellectually, atheists continue to breathe – they continue to use reason and draw scientific conclusions [which assumes an orderly universe], to make moral judgments [which assumes absolute values] – but the atheistic view of things would in theory make such ‘breathing’ impossible. They are breathing God’s air all the time they are arguing against him.”

Using that same line of reasoning, we make our illustration more specific to Oxygen.  We are dependent upon Oxygen, even if we deny its existence; matter of fact, oxygen must exists to sustain someone’s life and breath to even utter their denial of Oxygen’s existence.

So what would the world be like if there is no oxygen?  What would it be like if the world loses its oxygen for say, five seconds?

Here’s an entertaining and educational video by Buzz Feed:

Note the benefit of Oxygen.  At the end of the day, one ought to feel thankful for Oxygen.

This picture is rather ironic and yet fitting for our analogy:

Thank you Oxygen


<After employing Presuppositional apologetics in a conversation >

CHRISTIAN: Don’t you see my argument?

OPPONENT: I’m having a hard time following.

CHRISTIAN: I’m trying to show that what you claim in theory doesn’t match with reality: you can’t even deny the existence of God and attempt to make your case without presupposing things that require God’s existence.  I suppose it’s like arguing with someone who denies Oxygen exists but continues to breathe in oxygen while he argues.

<Insert illustration>



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Who is Jesus


On Thursday, August 22, 2013 there was a debate/dialogue between the Christian apologist Samuel Green and Muslim Abdullah Kunde on the topic of who is Jesus.  It took place in Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia and was sponsored by a Muslim student group and an Evangelical student group.  I still need to watch this later but I’m putting it up here first!

Here is the You Tube Video:



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Patrick Hines, an Assistant Pastor at Grace Bible Presbyterian Church in Sharonville, OH has a Sunday School Series on Presuppositional apologetics.

I’m glad to see Presuppositional apologetics being taught more and more at the church level.

Apologetics Class – Part 1 – MP3
               Apologetics Cass – Part 1 (class handout)
Apologetics Class – Part 2 – MP3
               Apologetics Cass – Part 2 (class handout)
Apologetics Class – Part 3 – MP3
               Apologetics Cass – Part 3 (class handout)
Apologetics Class – Part 4 – MP3
               Apologetics Cass – Part 4 (class handout)
Apologetics Class – Part 5 – MP3
               Apologetics Cass – Part 5 (class handout)
Apologetics Class – Part 6 – MP3
               Apologetics Cass – Part 6 (class handout)
Apologetics Class – Part 7 – MP3
               Apologetics Cass – Part 7 (class handout)
Apologetics Class – Part 8 – MP3
               Apologetics Cass – Part 8 (class handout)
Apologetics Class – Part 9 – MP3
               Apologetics Cass – Part 9 (class handout)


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Russian attack dog ww2

Point: Sometimes an unbeliever articulates a worldview or uses an argument that ends up being self-refuting which undermines their own position more than it actually “refutes” Christianity.  Their attempt at attacking Christianity backfires on them so to speak.  Christians need to expose self-refutations when they see one and also gently press the antithesis to the nonbeliever.  At times a Christian might have to offer an illustration of the self-defeating nature of a self-refuting attack on Christianity.

Picture:  During World War two the Russians used dogs as an anti-tank weapon.  These dogs were taught to carry explosives to their military targets.  What the dogs did during training was one thing; and what these dogs did in real life was another.

According to Wikipedia, the following happened during World War two:

Another serious training mistake was revealed later; the Soviets used their own diesel-engine tanks to train the dogs rather than German tanks which had gasoline engines.[5] As the dogs relied on their acute sense of smell, the dogs sought out familiar Soviet tanks instead of strange-smelling German tanks.[7]

One can imagine that the Soviets strategy ended up backfiring and became self-defeating.


<After employing Presuppositional apologetics in a conversation >

OPPONENT: I don’t get what you are getting at.  What’s your point?

CHRISTIAN: I’m trying to show how your worldview is self-refuting if you believe in X.  X actually undermines and defeats your belief in Y.  You are shooting yourself in your own foot so to speak.  Your attempt to fight against Christianity ends up coming back to bite you.  I suppose this might be a fitting illustration.  Did you know that during World War 2 the Soviets used dogs as an anti-tank weapon?

OPPONENT:  No I didn’t know that.

CHRISTIAN: <Give illustration >

CHRISTIAN: In the same fashion, if you insulate yourself from Christians’ critical evaluation of what you believe, it’s easy for you to think that your arguments work against Christianity.  But in reality, in the battlefield of ideas, your weapon ends up coming back to destroy you.

OPPONENT: (Laughs)

CHRISTIAN: Do you need me to explain why it’s self-refuting and self-destructive your belief in X again?



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For those of you who are familiar with Theonomic Postmillennialists, the name David Harold Chilton might be new.  Like most Theonomic Postmills, David Harold Chilton is also a Presuppositionalist.  Coincidentally, like Greg Bahnsen, he died young (45) as a result of heart problem in 1997.

There is now a “Rev. David Harold Chilton Center for Reformed Theology” webpage up and running.  According to the new page, this center “was founded in 2013, to further the scholarship of the late Rev. David H. Chilton (1951–1997).”

I look forward to seeing what new materials there will be in the months to follow.

One of the materials they have online is titled “Battlefield Apologetics” which is an audio by David Chilton.  You can access it by clicking HERE.

Here’s the description:

Rev. Chilton followed the legacy of Dr. Cornelius Van Til in the presuppositional school of Christian apologetics. This school believes the Christian faith is the only basis for rational thought. It presupposes that the Bible is divine revelation and attempts to expose flaws in other worldviews.

This Van Tillian style of apologetics claims that there are valid arguments to prove that the God of the Bible exists but that the unbeliever would not necessarily be persuaded by them because of his suppression of the truth, and therefore the apologist, he said, must present the truth regardless of whether anyone is actually persuaded by it.



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I’m sure at this point readers already know about Miley Cyrus’ distasteful and lewd performance for some MTV Video Music Award.  Not a channel I would watch.  Not at all.

On my yahoo front page a day ago there was an article about Miley Cyrus’ way of dancing, Twerk, being something that is good for you.


I couldn’t believe it.  I’m just checking my email and I had to see this as the first thing after signing in?

Bascially the author Brian Kranz was trying to say twerking was a good form of exercise.  For instance, he writes

As the rhythmic shaking of one’s behind gains popularity with the American public, some are using it as an amusing and creative way to burn calories. After all, many popular dance-based workouts have swept through the country before, including Zumba.

Like the logo for Yahoo, I have to ask “Y?!”  Minus the happy face.

In our day of moral relativism and ethical confusion, the front page of Yahoo and Kranz’ article is suggesting that “If it gives you a physical work out, it can’t be wrong ethically.”

Think about that terrible ethical principle.

I hear from buddies who were Marine Corps Scout Snipers that sniping tests one’s patience and is physically and mentally strenuous.  There’s nothing like hunting another man.  Should we therefore make a blanket statement that “all occasion of sniping is good” without considering the elephant in the room that there are other moral consideration as well?  Should we disregard the instances when it’s inappropriate and down right wrong and talk about how much calories it burns for someone say in Al Qaeda or the Taliban?

Sex can also be a workout.  Does it no longer matter ethically in showing it to pre-teens and teens because “If it gives you a physical work out, it must be good for you?”

We can multiply more and more examples of what’s wrong with the underlining ethical principle behind Yahoo’s sleezy article.  It’s an irrational and dangerous worldview.  And the fact that this type of reasoning can be put on the front page of Yahoo is indicative of where our society is at.

Christians, let us keep on evangelizing, engaging in apologetics and articulate the Christian worldview with love, truth, clear thinking and in a Christ exalting way.

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apologist john whitcomb


John Whitcomb, who is often called one of the “Fathers of the Modern Creationist Movement” with the launch of his book titled “The Genesis Flood” more than 50 years ago, has also been identified as a Presuppositionalists by other VanTillians in addition to being a former Old Testament Professor.

Here is a video by Dr. Whitcomb on Miracles and the Modern mind.

Lord willing we plan to get an interview with him concerning Presuppositional apologetics as part of our series on Calvinistic Dispensational Presuppositionalists.


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