Lesson Two - The Historical Apologetic


Intro to Apologetics - Dr. Adam Francisco
The Historical Apologetic

  1. Approaching the Historical or ‘Evidential’ Apologetic

    1. Many examples in John Warwick Montgomery, C.S. Lewis, and Richard Whatley

  2. Most people describe our world as the ‘Postmodern’ world

  3. Postmodern: Criticism of ‘Modernity’

    1. Modernity: “We can kanow with absolute certainty so many things about our world, including metaphysical things and natural things”

  4. Dr. Francisco's definition: A skepticism towards certainty

  5. The questions of postmodernity are rooted in the questions of the ancient philosophers

    1. “How do we know anything at all?”

  6. Example: Plato’s Phaedo

    1. Simmia’s response to Socrates, we cannot know things for certain unless of course we have a revelation outside of us

  7. Much of the debate of the Western revolves around the question: Do we have a word from God?

    1. Modern answer: Maybe?

  8. Ludwig Wittgenstein, one of the most influential philosophers of the 20th century argued that we can only make sense of the world in probabilistic terms

    1. If we want certainty, it has to come from outside of us (revealed)

  9. Analytical Philosophy and their 3 Types of Statements

    1. When it comes to our statements about the world, there are three types of propositions:

      1. Meaningless (i.e. “Blue runs faster than Tuesday”)

      2. Analytical (i.e. “All bachelors are unmarried males”)

      3. Synthetic (i.e.  “Jesus resurrected from the dead”)

  10. Important Elements of the Historical Apologetic Approach

    1. Inductive; anyone can inspect the evidence

    2. Positive; there are reliable sources to inspect

    3. Probabilistic; in principle, the resurrection is falsifiable

    4. Approachable through common historical and legal methods

  11. There are very few religions that are open to ‘testing’ divine claims

    1. Christianity is unique because it can be proven false

  12. Christianity is dependent on a unique revelation through Jesus Christ and his resurrection

    1. 1 Corinthians 15:16-19 - If Christ did not rise from the dead, we are the most to be pitied

  13. Like most religions, Christianity claims that is has a word from God

    1. But it rests on factual claims

  14. Christian Claim #1:

    1. God has revealed himself in very special and discreet ways, first and foremost, in and through the person and work of his son Jesus Christ

  15. Christian Claim #2:

    1. The Old and New Testament documents are special revelation. They are the very word of God.

  16. Response #1:

    1. We ask: Are the Gospels reliable historical documents?

  1. The Integrity of the New Testament

  1. Well-preserved

  2. Provide eye-witness accounts

  1. Claims of Christ in all of the Gospels

    1. Jesus says ‘I and the Father are one.’

    2. Referred to as the ‘Son of Man’

    3. Uses Miracles as evidence

  2. Jesus’ response to skeptics in the Gospels

    1. If you want a sign, consider the sign of Jonah: Just as Jonah was in the belly of a fish for three days, so will the son of man

    2. “I will tear down this temple and in three days rebuild it”

    3. Everything is pointing to the Resurrection

  3. Difficulty with ‘Miracles’ Today

    1. Due to David Hume’s line of thinking, there is a naturalistic bias that says ‘miracles don’t happen’  

    2. This is highly presumptuous though, especially when it’s only based on a hunch

      1. And when we acknowledge that we live in a post-einsteinian world

  4. Ruling out something ‘a priori’ is unscientific

    1. We need inspect each miracle, case by case

    2. Contrary to common historical methods

  5. What happens when we look at the evidence

    1. The evidence aligns with the Resurrection

      1. All four Gospel accounts attest that Jesus rose from the dead

      2. Jesus appeared to the women and the his Apostles

      3. Jesus appeared to over 500 people after the resurrection

  6. If they were making up their accounts...

    1. They wouldn’t have chosen women as the first to see Jesus, due to the cultural view of women at the time

    2. They wouldn’t have made themselves look so doubtful

  7. If Jesus is did, in fact, rise from the dead, he is the best source of objective truth

    1. He calls the Old Testament ‘the very word of God’

  8. What about the New Testament?

    1. John 14:26: The Holy Spirit causes the disciples to remember everything Jesus taught

  9. Thinking Inductively, there is a factual case that Jesus was God’s very son, and that God has communicated his will through the Old and New Testament

  10. Review of the Historical Argument, Book Recommendations  

    1. C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity

    2. John Warwick Montgomery History, Law, and Christianity