Apologetics 101: Methodology

by Robie Day

Last month, we held our first Bible School at Grace Brethren Chapel.  Since the event was held throughout the week, and work schedules kept several members from being able to attend the event for the entire week, we were in need of a teacher for our teen class.  I asked Dylan if he would be able to help us out for the weeklong event, and, thankfully, he was more than willing.

I was able to sit in with the teen class several times throughout the week, and let me say, Dylan did an outstanding job teaching around fifteen teenagers the basics of the Christian worldview.  The best part was that each night after their lesson, the entire group would stay for an extra thirty minutes or so, and fire questions at Dylan and myself.  As their pastor, I was extremely excited to see them thinking through some very difficult issues that so many Christians struggle with.  One question that was posed to us, in particular, was, “How do we know we can trust the Bible?”  As I began to answer the question, I could see Dylan across the table, grinning from ear to ear.  However, it wasn’t because my answer was incorrect, unsound, or even that he disagreed with anything I said.  It was because I typically take a very different approach to apologetics than he does, and the difference in our approaches was clearly seen in my answer.   (We had a good laugh about this later that evening.  And some day, Dylan will finally come to the conclusion that I am right!)  With that being said, we will take the next few weeks to examine a few varying apologetic methodologies.  However, let me start by citing an excerpt from Douglas Groothuis’ Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for a Biblical Faith.  He opens his chapter on apologetic methodology with the following passage:

Much ink has been spilled over apologetic methodology.  Various schools have contended that their way is superior to others.  Some apologists have spent as much or more time attempting to refute their fellow apologists’ methods than they have in attempting to bring apologetics to the people who need it most:  unbelievers and doubting followers of Jesus.  Evangelist Dwight L. Moody was once criticized by another Christian for his approach to evangelism.  Moody’s response was that he liked the way he did evangelism better than the way his critics didn’t do evangelism.  This lesson applies to apologetic method as well.[1]

Read the whole series:  Defining Apologetics / The Biblical Warrant / The Biblical Approach First Principles

[1] Douglas Groothuis, Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith (Downers Grove, Illinois: IVP Academic, 2011), p. 45.

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