Sample Summary of M001A1:

SUMMARY M001A1: Introduction To Integrated Christian Apologetics
Submitted By: Bruce Wade

Summary: Apologetics is that branch of Christian theology that answers the question, “Is Christianity believable?” Integrated Apologetics is the term for a specialized approach developed by the authors where they have integrated the best from all schools of thought in Christian Apologetics. Thus the authors, Drs. Johnson C. Philip and Saneesh Cherian introduce their parameters for their introduction to Integrated Christian Apologetics which they use in the Trinity School of Apologetics and Theology.

The need for Christian apologetics is great as all kinds of religious and spiritual beliefs have come under intense attacks from radical philosophers and critics, especially in the past four centuries. The Christian faith has received the major portion of these attacks. One reason for this is many of these criticisms against the Christian faith have received so much media coverage. This has created an atmosphere for Christians where criticism of the Bible and related subjects is widespread. These constant attacks on the Christian faith can produce a perplexed or confused attitude in a Christian who doesn’t know answered, or know there are answers. Left unanswered, these criticisms can cause a problem, even in one’s faith.

One major problem apologetics is faced with today is Humanism. Humanism is a philosophy that sets forth man in the position of God. This type of teaching is very strong in our education system. Therefore by the time one finishes their education they are often under the weight of numerous Humanistic ideas contrary to the Christian faith. The authors acknowledge that while no individual can possibly solve each and every doubt, apologetics can give answers to a good number of their doubts. Apologetics can help them to see the root causes of the problems faced and give them a capability to deal effectively with criticisms and questions. Ignoring our problems, questions, and fears will not help them, or cause them to go away. Learning Christian apologetics will be sufficient to face most of the attacks on the Bible and one’s faith.

Today our Christian society has thousands of scholars who are highly qualified and dedicated to the discipline of apologetics. They are seeking the answers to every question that has been hurled at the Bible.

A Biblical Basis for Christian Apologetics: “Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15, RSV), gives a biblical basis for Christian Apologetics. The word “defense” in this scripture is APOLOGIA, from which we get our word – apologetics. So then apologetics is a defending of the faith. It is not a giving of an “apology” as the words sounds like in English. For a good definition of the character and function of Christian apologetics the authors’ site:

“We live in the flesh, of course, but the muscles that we fight with are not flesh. Our war is not fought with weapons of flesh, yet are strong enough, in God’s cause, to demolish sophistries, and the arrogance that tries to resist the knowledge of God; every thought is our prisoner, captured to be brought into obedience to Christ” (II Corinthians 10:3-6, Phillips).

Sections of the Bible are listed as apologetic in their style: Almost all of the book of Job; Psalms 14 and 19; and in Acts 17 Paul used this style to preach of skeptical unbelievers. In Romans 1:20 it is stated that the marvels of nature are enough to indicate the existence of an intelligent and all powerful God.

APOLOGETIC APPROACHES IN THE BIBLE: An honest and sincere inquiry using reason and investigation can be an aid to growing in faith. God gave Moses two signs so that he would know he was sent to Pharaoh by God. Likewise Gideon was given two signs by God which confirmed what God was saying. Jesus repeatedly stressed that the primary purpose of His miracles were to demonstrate who He was, and not merely to bring health to the world. Jesus challenged Thomas and the other disciples to examine Him physically to show that He is risen. Thus we see that the Bible encourages sincere inquiry and apologetics uses this vein to give answers to Christian and non Christian hearers.

APOLOGETICS AND POLEMICS: While Apologetics deals with objections and an attack from those outside the Christian faith, Polemics is its companion and deals with attacks originating from within the Church. There have always been those within the Jewish and Christian faith who have attacked the Old and New Testaments. These attacks come in two forms: A distortion of Biblical interpretation; and secondly, false cults who claim to be a true Christian group. Many examples are given of those who attack from outside and within.

Both Apologetics and Polemics have the same goal: to refute error and to establish truth. Today, because those who attack the Christian faith borrow insights from one another an apologist must now be an expert in polemics, and every polemicist must be an expert in apologetics.

History of Christian Apologetics: Apologetics and Polemics are as old as the Bible itself. Some examples given were:

Apologetics in the Old Testament: In the Old Testament period many questioned whether the God of the Israelites is the true God. In many cases God provided them with suitable answers and demonstrations (some of these were listed earlier in the article).

Apologetics Among Jewish Fathers: From early on Jewish Leaders faced opposition and resentment from pagans who had a Universalist theology (salvation for all) who was in contrast to the Bibles teaching as : man is a sinner, totally depraved, and unable to save himself, and that Grace is the only means for salvation. “One of the best known Jewish apologetic works is Contra Apion, written by the first century Army officer and historian Flavious Josephus.”

Apologetics in the New Testament: The rise of pagan philosophies and the development of writing materials gave rise to a new breed of heretics and critics called “scribes.” Also in the New Testament doctrines of man’s total depravity, sin, salvation by grace alone and faith alone, etc. were proclaimed more clearly which made many people uncomfortable. There were those who wanted to be called Christians but didn’t want to follow the doctrines of Christianity. Thus throughout the New Testament we notice the opposition of scornful people and heretics at distorting biblical truths. New Testament writes didn’t ignore them; they wrote extensively to expose error, to condemn it, and also to establish truth.

Apologetics among Church Fathers: The same problems just mentioned carried over into the time of the early Church Fathers. Several Church councils gathered to condemn the heresies that arose, which was one way to suppress their false teachings. The Church Fathers wrote large amounts of materials to combat the many writings from heretics. The authors point to the heretic’s motive when they state:

“ . . . New Testament insistence of Bible Alone, Christ Alone, Grace Alone, and Faith Alone, also irritated many of them. Further, the fast spread of the Christian faith, and the deep commitment of these new converts also overwhelmed many of these non Christian critics. Fearing that this spread of spread would soon convert
the whole world into the Christian faith they launched out their tirades against the Bible, Jesus Christ, and Christianity.

Porphyry of Sicily was pointed out as one heretic who wrote a fifteen volume work titled “Against Christianity.” A warrior mentality has arisen in Apologetics and Polemics to combat these types of attacks.

Modern Creationism and Apologetics: After the first five centuries of the Church, the Roman Catholic Church ruled with a rod of iron for almost a thousand years. Opposing voices were not heard much in public because of a life-threatening atmosphere. The Reformation finally gave thinkers the freedom they wanted, and they came out in torrents against the Church. This also gave rise to a host of anti-Christian thinkers, philosophies, and movements. Many of them didn’t realize any difference between the Roman Catholic Church and the true Church of Christ, and the Christ of the Bible. Darwin’s Theory of Evolution supplied the attack they wanted to overthrow the authority of the Bible. A very strong influence came through some German theologian-atheists supported by Government funding to accept evolution as a fact over the authority of the Bible.

This led to a period of compromise, which is never good for the truth. This compromise took the form of trying to mingle evolution with creation. By the first half of the twentieth century it was difficult to find qualified theologians in the USA or Europe who would openly defend the Biblical story of creation. This influence carried over into India as well. The authors noted that during this period there was a small remnant of conservative church in the USA and a few American Seventh Day Adventists who openly defended the idea of creation. Today many have realized that compromise is a slow poison which destroys respect for truth and are asserting the historical and scientific reliability of the Bible.

Creationism in India: The influence mentioned in Modern Creationism and Apologetics were carried over into India. A turn towards creationism was led by Professor H. Enoch:

The first Indian to take a strong stand against the Theory Of Evolution was the late Professor H. Enoch. This was in the early sixties. His English book Evolution Or Creation influenced a large number of young Indians, specially through the EU and EGF groups. He wrote many articles in the UESI student magazine also.

In the sixties and seventies no evangelical magazine was willing to publish articles defending the historicity of the Bible or creation. The only exception was Cross And Crown, a Pentecostal Magazine edited by Dr. Thomas Mathews from Udaipur, Rajesthan. This magazine took a firm stand in favour of the accuracy of the Bible, and carried such articles in it regularly for decades.

Other groups began to develop, among them; Creation Research which was founded by Dr. Johnson C. Philip in 1970. “This movement is now known as Calvin School of Apologetics And Theology, and it offers full-length courses in creationism and apologetics.” In three decades of crusading by the Calvin School has given rise to a significant movement in India for the defense of faith.

Gains of Modern Apologetics: The continuance of compromise created skepticism in the minds of the average Christian. Therefore very few found the courage to take a public stand to defend the Bible or their faith. Today a revival has set in with the development of creationism and apologetics. This is beginning to have a diminishing affect on the influence of radicals and rationalists. Today anyone who wants to know about the Bible, its connection with science, evolution, history, and archaeology has many materials available which have been supplied by the Modern Apologetic Movement. This has strengthened the faith, and given faith to many in search of God’s truth.

As noted earlier, the Old and New Testaments, the Jewish and Church Fathers understood the benefits of apologetics. Although the attacks changed the purpose of apologetics remained unchanged.

The Unchanging Purposes of Apologetics: The authors point out that although the methods and priorities of Christian Apologetics keep changing, the aims remain the same. These are:

  1. To refute all the accusations that are brought against the Bible and the Christian faith.
  2. To demonstrate that only the Bible and the Christian way of life work in the actual life, and that only the Bible and the Christian faith provide permanent peace and happiness.
  3. To remove the sincere doubts in the hearts of believers and unbelievers, so that the hindrances to the growth and establishing their faith are eliminated.
  4. To provide SUFFICIENT evidence for achieving the above goals.
    In point number four, “Sufficient” evidence is in opposition to “Total proof.” Total proof would require that every case related to the subject to be examined which isn’t humanly possible. This isn’t required in any branch of science or history, nor is it in Christian Apologetics.

What Can Apologetics Do: There are four different ways of thinking which can be seen about Christian Apologetics, not all of them are valid or biblically sound. These four are:

Skepticism: There remains a small group of people who are totally skeptical of Christian apologetics. “Most skeptics are people who avoid grappling with real-life problems. Further, they totally overlook the numerous passages in the Bible itself which encourage apologetic activity.”

Christian Rationalism: Christian Rationalism places their trust in the capacity of the human intelligence/intellect in perceiving and recognizing truth. They have faith in the wisdom of the fallen man and often exclude the need or role of the Holy Spirit in illuminating the fallen and sinful human beings.

Logical Christianity: Reason is the starting point for this group which leaves faith to follow. “This viewpoint is more Biblical than the first two, but it is still not fully correct.”

Reason Definitely Aids Faith: This view is the one most widely held by evangelical and fundamentalist scholars. Here we find faith as the starting point, once established, it can be shown to be consistent with truth and reason. This view forms the backbone of this article and the studies to follow.

The Purpose of Apologetics: Apologetics is a Manward Operation: Apologetics has developed to defend the reliability of the Bible. However it is not to defend the Bible as if it were helpless; it is a manward operation to help the sincere inquirer overcome their doubts.

Apologetics has Limits: Apologetics is to play a supportive role towards one’s seeking of faith. It doesn’t exist to prove the Bible as the word of God, or create faith in a skeptics mind, but to show attacks against the Bible are not valid.

Barrier Removal is the Prime Target: The removal of barriers can be key to one taking a leap of faith for salvation, or to grow in one’s faith.

Rationalist Demands Might Be a Boon: Though many will try to use rationalism against the Bible its principles only help to strength the rational uniqueness of God’s word. Here, “Apologetics is meant for those sincere seekers who want to know how reliable the rational content of the Bible is.”

Proclamation is not to be Minimized: Apologetics doesn’t come to the forefront before the preaching of God’s word. The purpose of apologetics is to help anyone who wants to abandon their unbelief that has been due to their lingering, sincere and honest doubts.

Apologetics Demands Willing Reception: Apologetics has little effect on deliberate unbelief, yet it has great effect on sincere inquires. Only God and His word can cure unbelief.

Apologetics Helps Seekers Most: Apologetics helps remove barriers of doubts for sincere and true seekers. When one expresses their doubts apologetics can point to the uniqueness of the Scriptures, thus the gospel can be given a change to work.

Apologetics is not Scientism: “Scientism is the belief that ultimately everything has to be explained with the help of science. This is a false belief.” The purpose of science is the study of matter and energy. An apologist doesn’t need the help of science unless he is dealing with a scientific subject.

Practical Value of Studying Apologetics: Conservation of Own Faith: While one may be a believer in Christ they may be ill-informed about problems in the world. Spiritual life is a warfare where studying the enemy’s tactics and terrains leaves one better prepared than being ignorant.

Better Ability to Combat: A formal and systematic study of apologetics not only give a good background, but also makes the person discerning as to which line of reasoning and answering is likely to have the greatest impact on their listeners.

Ability to Recognize Refined Enemy Tactics: It is because all attacks fall into certain broad categories that one trained in apologetics will be able to see the question and immediately understand the category to which it belongs.

Aid in Witnessing: All of the items just mentioned come together to help one in their ability to communicate effectively the uniqueness and validity of the Christian faith.

Non-interest in Christian Apologetics: In Christianity there are those who do not have an interest in apologetics. They can be listed as:

1-People who never had any doubts in these subjects.
2-People who never had to face questions and attacks from scornful people.
3-People who have indeed faced personal doubts and external attacks, but who have been running away from facing the challenge.
4-People who believe that the Bible does contain errors.
5-People who have lost sensitivity towards the pains and problems of others.
6-Pseudo Apologists who love prestige, but who have never mastered the subject.

Those Who Never Had Doubts: It is important that this group be sensitive and has sympathy towards those who have their doubts.

Those Who Never Had To Face Attacks: Likewise this group needs to be sensitive, and they need to realize that the majority of young educated people face some sort of attack on their faith.

People Who Flee (Escapists): These are the ones who are running away from their problems and attacks. Their fear life can make their faith life very unbalanced.

People Who Believe in Error-Prone Bible: “They are spiritual compromisers, and they will surely attack anyone who takes a non compromising attitude.”

People Insensitive to Others: This group naturally pulls away from apologist because they start with the assumption that people have problems and difficulties in believing the Bible. They have become hardened to the real world problems of others.

Pseudo Apologists: This group often has some training in such areas as the sciences or humanities and has developed their own type of apologetics which is not bible-based. Instead of joining with a Christian Apologist they tend to attack.

The Christian apologist should not worry about the opposition these six groups put up, he will do well to expect some antagonism from them and try to use these to examine and refine further his presentation of the subject. The Christian apologist is looking for truth-seekers and sincere inquirers not those who want to argue against the truth.

The Lord Jesus Himself provides a good example that proof seekers are not to be shunned. When doubting Thomas demanded proof of resurrection, the Lord did not refuse his request. Rather, at the appropriate occasion he Himself personally, and with all compassion, invited Thomas to attempt his empirical verification.

Many Bible readers haven’t noted the empirical evidence Jesus gave to all of His disciples even without them asking for it. The gospel says, “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have” (Luke 24:39).

Opposition to Apologetics: Distrust of Reason: One reason some oppose apologetics is because they distrust human reasoning in the spiritual realm. For them, faith is in the spiritual world, and reasoning in the natural world. This would separate truth rather than integrate it as one should.
Fear: Some choose the easy of running away instead of the hard work of study to master the principles of apologetics. Faith is the answer to fear and apologetics can then show that faith is consistent with truth and reason.

Willful Blind Opposition: This group will willfully choose to oppose God’s truth. The apologist should realize this person is not a sincere inquirer and stay clear of them.

Public Debates with Hostile People: “The purpose of Christian Apologetics is not winning debates, but establishing the truth . . . . Thus the apologist should avoid debating in public, except in front of a mature crowd made up of a small number of seekers dominated by a true spirit of inquiry.” Don’t allow a willful debate to take control with mockery, sarcasm, or other disturbing tactics.”

Apologetics through Compromise: While “different” aspects of one entity may first sound like they don’t go together they may in fact hold to the same truth. “On the other hand, if conflicting reports come due to fundamental differences in the basic system itself, they cannot be reconciled.” We see this where the demands of evolution and creation cannot be reconciled with each other because they represent two fundamentally different, mutually hostile, and mutually exclusive systems. They do not represent different aspects of the same truth, but two mutually opposing systems. It is their presuppositional level which causes them to not be reconciled. Any attempt to reconcile these two systems would only hurt the truth.

An example of this is titled, “Theistic Evolution.” Though there are many different forms of this teaching all of them are saying that God used evolution as His method for creating the universe. If this position is accepted, then a literal faith in God’s Word, e.g. the creation account is doubted. The authors clearly state:

Opposites can be synthesized only at the cost of truth, and that is an alarming possibility for any apologist. In this book we take an unashamed stand in favour of truth, total truth, and truth alone. There will be no attempt to mingle error with truth. Tens of thousands of Protestant Reformers sacrifice their lives to defend the truth expressed in the following statements:

The “Sola” statements are the presuppositions upon which all teachings from the authors rest.

Sola Scriptura (Bible Alone)
Sola Gratia (Grace Alone)
Sola Fide (Faith Alone)
Solus Christus (Christ Alone)
Soli Deo Gloria (To God Alone Be Glory)

Critique: Introduction To Integrated Christian Apologetics

The authors set out a clear and concise introduction to Integrated Christian Apologetics. They moved smoothly from the need for Christian Apologetics which is to defend the faith and to fight the many attacks on the Christian faith into a basis for Biblical Apologetics. . I found this section to be very helpful in understanding Apologetics and Polemics. Likewise, the use of key scriptures was foundational.

I found their teaching on A History of Christian Apologetics to be extremely helpful. I gained good insight and foundation as their article progressed carefully and swiftly through history to show the need and development of Christian Apologetics. I was challenged as I was led through the teachings on the Old Testament down through the Gains of Modern Apologetics. In this section the development of Modern Creationism and Apologetics was most helpful to begin to understand the influences of the Roman Catholic Church, Darwinism, and the danger of compromise. It is very important to understand the extreme danger of compromising the truth.

The Importance of Apologetics in chapter 2 was quite precise. This section was very helpful to me as a student new to the discipline of Apologetics. It clearly supported the need for Apologetics and pointed the way. I appreciated how the authors moved through the weaknesses of Skepticism; Christian Rationalism; Logical Christianity; and showed how faith is the staring point, which in turn and be consistent with truth and reason. It was good to understand how the writers see that the purposes of Apologetics are for such things as: Defend the faith, remove barriers for true inquires, to help bring understanding where there are honest and true doubts, and to aid in witnessing.

The breaking down of why some people have a non-interest in Christian Apologetics and Opposition to Apologetics added to the overall picture and showed me a side I have never really thought about. This was very helpful. One of my favorite statements in this article came in the section, Public Debates with Hostile People. It was: “The purpose of Christian Apologetics is not winning debates, but establishing the truth.” This spoke to my heart about the true meaning of and need for Christian Apologetics.
I found the last section on Apologetics thought Compromise to both be explosive and reconciling. It exploded the truth that you cannot compromise the word of God and it reconciled all of the points set forth in this introduction on Apologetics. It is a point well taken that opposites can be synthesized only at the cost of truth.

The only minor criticism I had is I wanted the article to make a clearer development of Integrated Christian Apologetics. Although the term is briefly explained early in the article I thought it would be helpful to breakdown the areas, or numerate them to give an overview in the same manner as other areas were developed by the authors.

Personal Benefits

What an excellent first lesson for my studies at Trinity. This was very informative, challenging, and rewarding. This article gave me a framework for Christian Apologetics. Already in my first Bible Study class after writing my summary I found myself sharing some relevant parts of this information with my class! The basic overall truth of this article which shows the purpose and place of Christian Apologetics is important to any honest and inquiring believer or non-believer.

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21 Comments on "Sample Summary of M001A1:"

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  2. Where is the testing and grading take place and how big is this course? Do we get a reciept after comp;eting the course?

  3. I would like to know where the testing and grading is for these courses. Do we get a certificate for completing any course?

    • Michael Wesonga says:

      This example will go a long way in guiding all my summaries until that point I feel I don’t need to refer any longer

  4. Iam indeed challnged that students like me can bring up an excellent piece as that.I believe I can do more than that thru Christ who strendthens me.Please as a student of Barchelor in Theology,what course am I to start with?

  5. Ruben De Leeuw says:

    Where is the “What others have written on this subject” section in this assignment?

  6. B.Samuel says:

    It is encouraging me to present my Assignments in such a Scholastic way.

  7. Martin Makokha says:

    good work

  8. Sammor-Duah Lordson says:

    A powerful summary from a serious learner. It is an indepth of understanding about the subject matter that has produced this piece.It is a great clue I have taken on how I should go about my studies. I am blessed.

  9. Reverend Dawn Dean says:

    This was so helpful an quite intense in information. Has helped me alot being a street preacher. Thanks be to the glory of God an to Dr. Phillips for all his hard work an shared knowledge to equip the warriors for Christ. God Bless You

  10. Dr. EDWIN J. DOERR, JR. says:

    John Charles Ryle, Bishop of Liverpool state succinctly as follows:
    Let us learn what miserable creatures great men are, when they have no high principles within them, and no faith in the reality of a God above them. The meanest laborer who has grace and fears God is a nobler being in the eyes of his Creator than the king, ruler or statesman, whose first aim it is TO PLEASE PEOPLE. To have one conscience in private and another in public,–one rule of duty for our own souls, and another for our public actions,–to see clearly what is right before God, and yet for the sake of popularity to do wrongm–this may seem to some both right, and politic, and statesmanlike, and wise. But it is a character which NO CHRISTIAN MAN CAN EVER REGARD WITH RESPECT. Ryle, “Expository Thoughts on the Gospels”, volume 4, John 19:1-16, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, Reprint 2007, page 268.

  11. Akinyele,Nigeria says:

    Wow, this is really great.

  12. This is a work well done. It have given me a great insight on how to present my Assignment.

  13. everson danda says:

    i am quite thrilled by this well documented piece of understanding of the subject has been more pronounced and has created more hunger in me in pursuit of a in-depth knowledge concerning the least a leeway has been opened and with great eagerness iam raring to go come hell come thunder.this is not an ordinary field of study but an arsenal to combat fiery darts of the enemy.God bless

  14. Kedode David says:

    This is awesome.

  15. Ujeneza Gustave says:

    I am much challenged to see how this assignment is done and i hope by the grace of our lord Jesus Christ i can make it,
    stay blessed.

  16. Ruan says:

    I have a question. At my seminary, and pretty much at any reputable university, I’m most definitely not allowed to submit assignments that have no references.

    Why does the above assignment not contain any references?

    • Kochi_Admin_2013 says:

      References are not included because they become outdated quickly whereas these samples remain here for many years. The aim is to show how to summarize the text material. Referencing is a totally different matter.

      We expect extensive references!

  17. Jomi says:

    How to name and number the assignments?

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