What is Classical Apologetics?

There are different approaches to Christian apologetics. As you recall, apologetics comes from a greek word used in the New Testament that means to give a defence, to give reasons for something. A previous post on this blog covered the commands that we are given in the New Testament to defend the faith. There have been different approaches to apologetics, which we will deal with in future posts.

The classical approach claims that it does no good to start explaining Jesus if the person does not believe the Bible is true, and it does no good to explain the Bible is true if the person does not believe God exists or objective truth exists.  The classical method of apologetics might be described as a three step method:

1. The reality and knowability of truth. This step also includes:

    • Something exists, namely us, for we cannot deny our own existence.
    • Objective truth exists, logic is inescapable, and humans are reasonable beings.
    • The nature and meaning of language, which says that we can get objective meaning from language.

2. The truth of theism, including:

  • Arguments for God’s existence (cosmological, teleological, moral)
  • When comparing theism to other systems such as atheism and pantheism, theism is the only viable system.
  • Since God exists, miracles are possible.

3. The Bible is true:

  • The Bible is historically accurate.
  • The writers of the Bible did what they claimed to do
  • The Bible has proven itself reliable and infallible in practice.
  • The Bible claims to be the word of God
  • The Bible claims that Jesus is uniquely God and claims Christianity is exclusive.

Therefore if these three points can be proven (and they can), then:

  • Objective truth exists.
  • God exists.
  • The Bible is true, and claims that Jesus is the only way to a right relationship with God.

This is the three-step, classical approach to Christian apologetics. It should NOT be used in its entirety with everyone, and classical apologists do not claim that it should. Rather, in an ideal situation, the Christian would start with explaining the gospel, then bring in elements of the classical approach only as the non-Christian introduces objections or questions.

The classical approach to apologetics believes that God gave humans enough reason to think about these things and that the image of God still exists in fallen man enough to rightfully think through these issues.


About humblesmith

Christian Apologist & Philosopher
This entry was posted in Apologetics. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to What is Classical Apologetics?

  1. llondy says:

    I am writing a paper on classical vs. pressupositional apologetics for my theology degree. I think that there is a time and place for both, and that there can be issues in both approaches if only one is used for any given situation. I find that a good combination of Van Til and Sproul is useful

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