Defending Our Faith, Part 5

In our last devotion in this series on defending our faith, we considered the truth that the notion of neutrality is a myth. Though many demand the Christian apologist approach the discussion with the unbeliever with an attitude of neutrality, and further set his distinctive Christian beliefs aside to take a neutral position in his thinking, Christians must refuse such demands. Why? Because Christians must not hold false positions nor act according to them. Nothing, and no one, is neutral. They are either for Christ and His Lordship or they are against Him (1 John 3:7-10). With our allegiance being to the Lord Jesus Christ, we must stand on His truth and proclaim His truth, especially in apologetic discussions. Our defense must be distinctly Christian.

Another myth is the notion of human autonomy. Why is this true? The fallen, depraved man refuses to recognize, accept, and rely on the living God and His revelation of knowledge and reality. Instead, such a man desires to begin with himself, and his interpretation of reality, as the starting point for knowledge. As an unbeliever, he also desires, and often demands, that others recognize his court of self-opinion to reign supreme not only in his own life, but also in yours and anyone who will listen and join in with his views and beliefs. 

Yet, what is true? God is God and we are not. Consider the Creator-creature distinction. This is important as we understand foundations and starting points. There is an absolute ontological difference (an absolute difference in being) between the living Triune God and the creature. God is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in His being wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth (WSC 4). His creatures aren’t eternal, but temporal. We aren’t infinite, but finite. We aren’t immutable, but can change. Yet, though God is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable apart from His relation to us as His creatures, He remains such in relation to us.

Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 7.1, summarizes this relationship well as it speaks of God’s voluntary condescension – “The distance between God and the creature is so great, that although reasonable creatures do owe obedience unto him as their Creator, yet they could never have any fruition of him as their blessedness and reward, but by some voluntary condescension on God’s part, which he hath been pleased to express by way of covenant.” See and take joy in this- The transcendent God condescended to us in covenant that we would know Him to be our blessedness and reward! (Psalm 113:5-6, Ephesians 1:3) Praise Him!

Considering these truths, and others from Scripture, the claim of human autonomy falls flat. Man is created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26–27) with the law of God written on his heart (Rom. 2:15). He knows that God exists as his Lord (Rom. 1:19–20). Yet, because of the corruption of sin in his heart and mind, man suppresses that truth in unrighteousness (Rom. 1:18). Therefore, man has neither the right nor the ability to evaluate reality (i.e., to reason) independently from his Creator. Recognizing Christ’s Lordship, we both know and confess that we are dependent on Him.

As we move forward in sharing our hope and defending our faith, let us make God’s Word our presupposition. Again, as Dr. Greg Bahnsen’s words his book, Always Ready, are helpful, “To make God’s word your presupposition, your standard, your instructor and guide, however, calls for renouncing intellectual self-sufficiency – the attitude that you are autonomous, able to attain unto genuine knowledge independent of God’s direction and standards…All knowledge begins with God, and thus we who wish to have knowledge must presuppose God’s Word and renounce intellectual autonomy” (Bahnsen, 20).

So, let’s discuss and talk with those we encounter with this presupposition of Scripture in mind. Let us prayerfully seek the Lord’s grace that, if it be His will, they would abandon their autonomous self-interpretation having come to a saving knowledge of the person and work of Jesus Christ in the Gospel. 

“Talk no more so very proudly; Let no arrogance come from your mouth, for the Lord is the God of knowledge; And by Him actions are weighed” (1 Sam 2:3).