Friday, September 23, 2011

Read Along: Christian Apologetics Ch03

Today we continue with chapter three of Read Along with Apologetics315, a weekly chapter-by-chapter study through Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Christianity by Douglas Groothuis. Each week’s post will provide a brief summary of the chapter, an audio introduction to the chapter by the author, as well as a PDF study guide suitable for printing and using for personal or group study. The audio is also available in a podcast feed for easier weekly listening. Here’s everything you need this week:

[Audio Intro] – Dr. Groothuis introduces this chapter.
[Chapter 3 Study Questions] – PDF study guide.
[Podcast Feed RSS | Podcast in iTunes] – Click to subscribe to the audio.

Chapter Three: Apologetic Method: Evaluating Worldviews (pages 45-72)
This chapter introduces the apologetic method the author will be employing. This is hypothesis evaluation and verification. But first, Groothuis provides an overview of the laws of logic, expressing their importance and using examples. With this foundation in place, the author outlines eight criteria for worldview evaluation. Each of these criteria is a way to test for the truthfulness of a hypothesis.

The author outlines other apologetic systems (fideism, presuppositionalism, reformed epistemology, and evidentialism) and offers an assessment of each one’s strengths and weaknesses.

After reading this chapter, the reader will have an understanding of the basic laws of logic, know the various apologetic methodologies and their main proponents, and understand the purpose of the eight criteria for evaluating worldviews. This chapter lays the methodological foundation for the rest of the book.

Notable quotes:

Evangelist Dwight L. Moody was once criticized by another Christian for his approach to evangelism. Moody’s response was that he liked the way he did evangelism better than the way his critics didn’t do evangelism. This lesson applies to apologetic method as well. (Christian Apologetics, p.45)

Simply put, if a worldview fails to explain what it promises to explain, fails to make sense on its own terms (internal consistency), fails to describe what is there (objective and inner reality), fails to give intelligible meaning to life, or fails to be intellectually and culturally productive, it is disqualified from consideration. I will argue that Christianity passes these tests better than any of its competitors. (Christian Apologetics, p.70)


  1. What is the best method of apologetic reasoning and why?
  2. Why is it important to understand the laws of logic?
  3. Can you offer a succinct description of reformed epistemology as an apologetic approach?
Next week
Chapter Four: The Christian Worldview


  1. Meg Cusack September 23, 2011

    Thanks, Brian. I appreciate the PDF questions too. One suggestion I have is to also post the page numbers assigned for that chapter, toward the top of the link each week. I know I can look these numbers up in the book, but it would be helpful to see them at a glance in your post each time a new week begins. It helps with planning how many days it will take me to get through the reading. 🙂

  2. Brian Auten September 25, 2011

    Ok, good idea.

  3. Mark September 28, 2011

    Several of the worldview testing criterion are interesting of themselves. For example, the fifth criterion proposed is existential viability. In summary, that the worldview can be affirmed without philosophical hypocrisy. That is that an adherent of the worldview could actually live it, without denying reality.

    This works as a criterion against a worldview which denies a physical reality, such a acts of evil which exist. However, there may exist some persons whose experience in existence has not encountered the conditions to sufficiently use this criterion to test the worldview. As long as those persons remained isolated from those contradictory conditions, they could then affirm a false worldview.

  4. The Atheist Missionary October 17, 2011

    Is Christianity internally inconsistent? Here are a few questions that I am hoping Prof. Groothuis will tackle in this book:

    1. Why does God need apologists, defenders and advocates? Can't he take care of that himself?

    2. If God is perfect, why would be bother to create imperfect humans?

    3. If God is perfect, why would he demand worship?

    4. Why did God create evil? [I sure hope the professor doesn't play the mystery card here]

    5. If salvation is by grace and only for the elect, isn't the die cast for me (one way or the other) before I was born?

    6. If Adam and Eve did not literally exist, how does Christianity account for original sin?

    7. If Adam and Eve did not know right from wrong, how can they be blamed for eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil?

    8. If evolution by natural selection is accepted as a fact, does that defeat Christianity?

    9. If there is a God, is it not just as likely that he is supremely malevolent as benevolent? See:

    That's enough questions for now. I have plenty of reading to do. By the way, this is shaping up to be a great read and I am going to recommend it to all my heathen brethren. I've already shipped a copy to Prof. Law. He's going to have his hands full with William Lane Craig tomorrow – for those living in a hole, Law and Craig are debating the issue Does God Exist? at Westminster Hall in London, England at 7:30 p.m. BST on October 17, 2011. The event is being hosted by Premier Christian Radio.

  5. The Atheist Missionary October 17, 2011

    I apologize for the fact that the link referred to in my comment above does not work. The article I am referring to is Stephen Law's "The evil-god challenge" Religious Studies (2010), 46: 353-373 – you should be able to access it with this link:

  6. Maryann Spikes March 10, 2012

    TAM did u stick with the study and did it answer your questions? If not you can plug them into the C.A.S.E. search engine (Google it). If that still doesn't help email me

  7. Maryann Spikes March 10, 2012

    TAM did u stick with the study and did it answer your questions? If not you can plug them into the C.A.S.E. search engine (Google it). If that still doesn't help email me