Sunday, February 26, 2012

Wisdom and Reason

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen
Edited 10-30-2016, mostly to change images

Where is the philosopher? Where is the scholar? Where is the debater of this age? Hasn’t God made the world’s wisdom foolish? For since, in God’s wisdom, the world did not know God through wisdom, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of the message preached. For the Jews ask for signs and the Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles.
(1 Cor. 1:20-23,HCSB)

For the longest time, my approach to apologetics (ἀπολογία) was based almost entirely in evidentialism. The basis for this was something like, "Here we are, two reasonable people on neutral ground discussing the existence for God, the reliability of the Bible, evidence for the bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead (and so forth). Then, you'll see that Christianity is entirely reasonable, repent, surrender to the risen Savior so your life will be more abundant and you'll have eternal life".


Oh, really? One obvious problem with this scenario is that it is strictly naturalistic, leaving out the spiritual realm and hindering the work of the Holy Spirit.



The Bible is to be the basis of our thinking in every area.
Image credit: Freeimages / John evans
The Bible has some things to say about the "natural" (unsaved) man and human wisdom:
  • Foolish when compared to God's wisdom (1Cor. 1:20-23, 1 Cor. 3.19-20)
  • It will perish (Isaiah 29.14 NASB)
  • True wisdom comes from God (Psalm 111.10 NIV, Prov. 1.7 NKJV)
  • The heart of man is deceitful (Jer. 17.9)
  • People really do not want to know God (Rom. 3.11-12, 18)
  • Cannot understand spiritual matters (1 Cor. 2.14)
  • They are fools (Psalm 14.1) Note that "fool" is a spiritual and moral condition, not because God became moody and wanted to insult the intelligence of unbelievers

Ray Comfort has a very strong point that he makes in the "School of Biblical Evangelism" and in other places: We can spend a great deal of time in apologetics and offering evidence, but if we leave out the Word of God, we may get an intellectual "convert" but the soul is still lost.

Some presuppositionalists rattled my cage. Although I am unable to understand much of what they are saying, I have been impacted. "Presuppositional apologetics" is not a unified approach, as is seen in the differences between Cornelius Van Til, Gordon Clark, John Frame, Greg Bahnsen and so on; I understand that Francis Schaeffer had a mix of methods, and was not exclusively presuppositionalist. So, I do not feel so badly about my gradational understanding.

“In other words, they decided right from the start that there's no God, and they're setting out to try to prove that there's no God, ... That's their bias to start with.”
“It’s a matter of which bias is the best bias to be biased with.” 
— Ken Ham
Evolutionists and atheists are hardcore presuppositionalists themselves! You can offer evidence all day long, one after another, and constantly be rejected because the other person has a "rescuing device" to escape or deny the evidence because it does not fit into his or her worldview.

Ken Ham made an impact on me many years ago when he pointed out that nobody is unbiased. Some evolutionists foolishly proclaim that fossils are proof of evolution. No, a fossil is a fossil. In their worldview, they see something that is the result of uniformitarian processes that took millions of years. 

Dr. Jason Lisle wrote a book and gave some lectures on The Ultimate Proof of Creation and similar topics. He pointed out in no uncertain terms that there is no "neutral ground"! (Nobody is unbiased... no neutral ground... I think I see a pattern emerging here.) I am unwilling to discard God's Word in the name of "neutrality", because the Bible says there is no neutrality (Romans 8.7, Matthew 12.30, James 4.4), you are either gathering or scattering. If we claim to be neutral, we say that the Bible is wrong and we are not being neutral!
Dr. Jason Lisle:
"There are two things to remember when people ask  you to be neutral:
1. They're not.
2. You shouldn't be."
Edit: I learned that he was quoting Dr. Greg Bahnsen.

When someone wants to meet on "neutral ground", they are having you give up your beliefs and presuppositions in order to acknowledge their naturalistic presuppositions; you concede defeat by discarding God's Word.

Do not misunderstand me, I am never opposed to answering honest questions and providing evidence (or referring people to sources of good evidence). But I will not toss aside the Word of God to play on someone else's field, with his rules, with his conditions, conceding victory at the onset. When someone says, "Give me your theory, give me your explanation, but leave God out of it", I'm being a fool and contradicting God's Word.

Christians need to remember that we should not do apologetics and defend the gospel out of ego, pride, the desire to play intellectual games and win arguments. At the Judgement, the Lord is not going to be asking you how many arguments you won. Rather, he is more interested that you knew him, knew his Word, used his Word (Heb. 4.12) and led souls to Christ (Matt. 28.18-20).