Read Along: Christian Apologetics Ch09

Today we continue with chapter nine of Read Along with Apologetics315, a weekly chapter-by-chapter study through Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Christianity by Douglas Groothuis. Please leave a comment on your reading below. This is where you can interact with others reading the book, ask questions, or add your own thoughts. Series index here. Click below for the audio intro, chapter 9 study questions PDF, and summary:

[Audio Intro] – Dr. Groothuis introduces this chapter.
[Chapter 9 Study Questions] (with kindle locations) – PDF study guide.
[Podcast Feed RSS | Podcast in iTunes] – Click to subscribe to the audio.

Chapter Nine: In Defense of Theistic Arguments
(pages 171-184)

Chapter nine is the first chapter of Part 2, The Case for Christian Theism. Part 2 explores theistic arguments, and so the foundation must first be laid for natural theology. Groothuis defines natural theology, explains the major types of theistic proofs, considers how they contribute to Christian apologetics, and then defends them against criticisms.

Chapter nine also include nine objections to natural theology: the biblical omission argument, the biblical authority argument, the noetic effects of sin argument, the direct knowledge of God argument, the proofs lead to pride argument, the natural theology in competition with special revelation argument, the religious irrelevance argument, the complexity of proofs argument, and the rational weakness argument. These nine objections are described and then shown to fall short of dismissing the work of natural theology.

Notable quotes:

Theistic proofs thus form part of Christian apologetics, but not the whole of it. Their aim is to establish rationally the existence-and certain core attributes-of God. They do not fully fill out all of the attributes of the Christian God, nor all the Christian worldview. (Christian Apologetics, p. 172) 

If God is the author of the book of nature as well as the book of Scripture, these books will not conflict any more than God can deny himself. (Christian Apologetics, p. 182)

Natural theology in the Christian tradition has never been regarded as an end in itself (which could lead to deism) but rather as a prelude to other evidences and arguments pertaining to its creed. (Christian Apologetics, p. 183)  

In the end, the proof of the theistic proofs lies in the proving, that is, in their validity and soundness, and not in theoretical musings about what they can and cannot or should and should not do. We must simply discover whether the arguments, singly and taken together, make belief in God more credible than otherwise. (Christian Apologetics, p. 184)  


  1. Does the author address any of your own objections to natural theology?
  2. What’s the difference between natural theology and natural revelation?
  3. What reasons do you have for doing natural theology?
Next week
Chapter Ten: The Ontological Argument
Written by

Brian Auten is the founder emeritus of Apologetics315. He is also director of Reasonable Faith Belfast. Brian holds a Masters degree in Christian Apologetics and has interviewed over 150 Christian apologists. His background is in missions, media direction, graphic design, and administration. Brian started Apologetics315 in 2007 to be an apologetics hub to equip Christians to defend the faith.

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The mission of Apologetics 315 is to provide educational resources for the defense of the Christian faith, with the goal of strengthening the faith of believers and engaging the questions and challenges of other worldviews.

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