7 Truths from a Christian Worldview PART 1 (Tsouloufis)

7 Truths from a Christian Worldview (Part 1)
by  Dan Tsouloufis

Seven Fundamental Truths of Theistic Philosophy from a Judeo-Christian Worldview 

       (Introduction)

As a believer, I feel compelled to defend the Christian worldview, since much of the culture has been secularized, and is often dismissive of Christianity or outright condescending toward it. Thus, I like to write about and discuss not only the faith aspect of Christianity, but also the intellectual aspect, to demonstrate that faith is grounded in and supported by rational principles and arguments. I don’t believe that faith and reason are incompatible with each other, since God gave us our minds and we are created in His image.

This presentation is my attempt at articulating a case for Theism – a rational belief in God’s existence – from a Judeo-Christian worldview in an increasingly secular and science-influenced culture. Thus, it is a case based on classical apologetics with a goal toward demonstrating both a firm, rational belief in God, as well as the irrationality of disbelief in God.

This presentation comprises 3 parts.

In part 1, I’ll give a brief explanation of apologetics in general, and of classical apologetics in particular. Also, I’ll discuss the limitations of using a classical apologetics approach.

In part 2, I’ll present my case for the existence of God, by outlining seven fundamental truth claims which are foundational to maintaining a coherent and logically consistent worldview.

In part 3, I’ll dig much deeper and examine the incoherent and irrational worldview of those who doubt the existence of God or who outright reject the existence of God.

I will now begin with part 1.

Seven Fundamental Truths of Theistic Philosophy from a Judeo-Christian Worldview 

        (Part 1 of 3)

We normally think of the word “apologetics” as a defense of something, such as a defense of a particular doctrine, like the Trinity, or a defense of a specific event, like the resurrection. And this is certainly the typical use of the word. But apologetics can also be used to examine the incoherence and inconsistencies of competing worldviews, and in turn show the rational coherence and internal consistency of the Christian worldview. Therefore, when Christians undertake to defend any aspect of the Judeo-Christian worldview, there is no “one size fits all” approach to apologetics.

When I use the term “classical apologetics,” what I mean by that is: rational arguments for the existence of God, by appealing to our reason and to natural revelation, without presupposing any supernatural or special revelation, such as the Bible or the Incarnation of Christ or the Holy Spirit. But there are many other valuable methods in the field of Christian apologetics as well, such as evidential apologetics, presuppositional apologetics, and experiential apologetics. Some of these approaches overlap somewhat, particularly evidential apologetics and classical apologetics. But that’s a discussion for another day, as it would require a separate presentation to flesh out the benefits and uses of these other approaches, in contrast with classical apologetics.

As I mentioned, this presentation is concerned with demonstrating a rational belief in God based on classical apologetics; it does not go any further than that. Thus, it is merely a case for Theism, not the full, Trinitarian God of the Bible. This is because classical apologetics can only take us so far; it has its limitations. I firmly believe the Bible is the primary means by which we as Christians base our theology and our morality. However, my forthcoming arguments on the existence of God are more philosophical, not biblical, in nature, in order to articulate the theistic worldview to those who do not regard the Bible as God’s special revelation. But since God is the author of both the Bible and nature (i.e. special revelation and natural revelation), we can therefore know something about God and something about nature.

But before proceeding with my case, I will make a few brief points regarding the limitations of classical apologetics.

I believe that classical apologetics is vitally important, but is limited, since it can only lead us to Theism; whereas it cannot lead us to believe in such doctrines as the Trinity, or the Incarnation of Christ, or the inspiration and authority of Scripture. For these doctrines, we need the Holy Spirit to illuminate the truth to us, since they are wholly beyond anything we can reason or deduce on our own. This is because ultimately, reason and experience alone (natural revelation) come up short. Therefore, we need Scripture combined with the Holy Spirit in order to truly grasp the God of the Bible. While natural revelation can certainly point us to a divine Creator, it proves inadequate for grasping the nature and character of God as revealed in Scripture (such as His triune nature, His sovereignty, His holiness, His love, etc.). In other words, we may deduce that God exists by our reason and by our senses, but we cannot know Him personally except by divine revelation. We receive this revelation only through the work of divine grace and faith, as God intervenes in our lives and accommodates Himself toward us.

Therefore, I am a firm believer in a “faith seeking understanding” approach to apologetics, since many of the central doctrines of Christianity are only fully learned and understood once we become born again. But how can one become born again without the intervention and illumination by the Holy Spirit? Nature, by itself, does not inform us of the gospel, certainly not specifically. But the God who created nature accommodates Himself toward us and reveals the One whom the gospel proclaims – Jesus Christ. Without the Holy Spirit, one cannot make the jump from a merely historical Jesus to His Incarnation; nor can one deduce the triune nature of God or deduce something as mysterious as the substitutionary atonement and all it encompasses. In other words, there are many solid reasons for believing in the historical Jesus, including even in His resurrection. But one can know these things and not necessarily put their trust in them. This is where natural revelation ends and where special revelation must intervene.

Ultimately, saving faith requires a true work of the Holy Spirit. Also, saving faith requires not only belief, but trust. Paul says in 1 Cor. 2:14 that “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” So clearly, classical apologetics can only take us so far. It cannot, by itself, bring one from spiritual death into spiritual life. However, classical apologetics is still very useful for two reasons: 1) for solidifying the intellectual foundation for those already in the faith by demonstrating the “reasonableness” of our faith; and 2) for making the persuasive case to unbelievers that they are “without excuse” if they deny God, due to the general revelation that they already have since they are created in God’s image.

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