Tenets of Apologetics

PMT 2014-009b by Scott Oliphint

Introductory note by Ken Gentry: Dr. K. Scott Olipint has written an excellent introductory work on Van Tillian apologetics. He has changed the name of “Presuppositionalism” to “Covenantal Apologetics,” in order to clarify the true nature of apologetics. His book is titled: Covenantal Apologetics: Principles & Practice in Defense of Our Faith (Crossway, 2013). I highly recommend this work for those either interested in practical apologetics or in understanding the mechanics of this Reformed apologetic.

In this book he provides ten tenets of biblical apologetics. I will list his ten tenets and encourage you to buy the book to see how he works them out.

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 to redeem.

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

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.

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

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

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

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.

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.

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

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


Standard Bearer: Festschrift for Greg Bahnsen
(ed. by Steve Schlissel)
Includes chapters on apologetics, Revelation, and theonomy


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