Biblical Apologetics (Class): Week 2

Now, you can take Biblical Apologetics at your own pace! Download the class workbook (below) and then go week by week watching the class recordings and following along with any other content provided.

Watch the Class: Week 2 Session

The Ten Tenants of Faith

Session Content

A Few Points to Ground You

  1. God creates all
  2. All are obligated to God as the creature
  3. God Makes himself known to us
  4. We are all sinners
  5. Christ redeems us.
  6. All knowledge comes from God’s revelation

Week 2 Content: The Ten Tenants

Tenant 1: The faith that we are defending must begin with, and necessarily include, the triune
God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—who, as God, condescends to create and redeem.

In saying we “must begin with” the triune God, we are not arguing that all apologetic
discussions must start with an explanation of the triune God; rather, we must never
assume that we are defending anything but what God himself—as Father, Son, and
Holy Spirit—has accomplished in creation and redemption. Generic theism is no part of
the Christian faith.

Tenant 2:God’s covenantal revelation is authoritative by virtue of what it is, and any
covenantal, Christian apologetic will necessarily stand on and utilize that authority in
order to defend Christianity.

We cannot begin our discussion with the assumption that the intellectual, moral, or
conversational ground on which we and the unbeliever are standing is the same. The
very reason there is a debate between us is that our respective authorities are in
conflict. The unbeliever will stand on something in order to debate and discuss, and we
will stand on Scripture (which finds its authority inextricably tied to God). We do not seek
to establish the authority of God’s Word, only explain it.

Tenant 3: It is the truth of God’s revelation, together with the work of the Holy Spirit, that brings
about a covenantal change from one who is in Adam to one who is in Christ.

We are encouraged by this third tenet to communicate the truth of God because it is this
truth that the Holy Spirit uses to change hearts. What a privilege it is that we, as
believers, can be instruments of the Holy Spirit as he changes minds and hearts!

Tenant 4: Man (male and female) as image of God is in covenant with the triune God for

This point can hardly be overstated. Since all men and women are images of God, they
are responsible to him for everything they are, do, and think. Every person lives coram
Deo—that is, before the face of God. All are obligated to obey him because he is their
creator and sustainer.

Tenant 5: All people know the true God, and that knowledge entails covenantal obligations.

Scripture is clear that all people know God; not simply a feeling that there is something
bigger out there, but the true and living God of Scripture (Rom. 1:18–20). This
knowledge comes not through some inferential process, but because God reveals
himself in all of creation that renders all people everywhere responsible to respond
rightly to who he is.

Tenant 6: Those who are and remain in Adam suppress the truth that they know. Those who
are in Christ see the truth for what it is.

Though God has clearly revealed himself, because of sin we seek to suppress this
knowledge of God. In Adam, we deceive ourselves from the truth, and instead build up
falsehood to avoid God.

Tenant 7: There is an absolute, covenantal antithesis between Christian theism and any other,
opposing position. Thus, Christianity is true and anything opposing it is false.

When we get down to any system of belief, there are only really two foundations: either
submission to Christ and affirmation of the truth of what God says, or we oppose him
and try to “create” another world of our own making. No matter what kind of opposition
we face, we know that it cannot make sense of the real world since God has created
and maintains all of reality. Denial of Christ entails submitting to some sort of falsehood.

Tenant 8: Suppression of the truth, like the depravity of sin, is total but not absolute. Thus,
every unbelieving position will necessarily have within it ideas, concepts, notions, and
the like that it has taken and wrenched from their true, Christian context.

When someone suppresses the truth in unrighteousness, that suppression is total.
There is nothing that he knows, thinks, and does that is not affected by it. But it is not
absolute. He cannot completely eradicate or submerge the knowledge of God that is
always his and always being given by God. Thus, there will be aspects of the truth of
the knowledge of God that surface in those who are in Adam. So even as an unbeliever
may be able to know true things about the world around them, their knowledge is
ultimately borrowed and serves to further condemn them.

Tenant 9: The true, covenantal knowledge of God in man, together with God’s universal mercy,
allows for persuasion in apologetics.

How can we commend the faith to unbelievers if they will suppress God wherever they
can? First, when we speak God’s truth to them, it “gets through” and “connects” to that
knowledge that God is continually giving to them. Second, because of his universal
mercy, God will sometimes restrain sin and depravity that might hinder our
conversations, so that his Word might be planted in good soil.

Tenant 10: Every fact and experience is what it is by virtue of the covenantal all-controlling plan
and purpose of God.

The facts of the world display God’s glory (Ps. 19:1ff; Rom. 1:20). To take those facts for
selfish use is to twist them and pervert them. This is culpable rebellion against God, and
it takes place as those in Adam “live and move and have [their] being” in the triune God.
So in order for someone to understand one fact properly, that fact needs to be seen in
the context of God’s plan and purposes.

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