5 Types of Apologetics

Posted: September 19, 2013 by Dillon in Apologetics
Tags: , , , , , ,

God has really caused a motivation to start working on a project I’ve been mulling over for about a year…writing a short apologetics ebook.  The idea is to be a crash course for anyone interested in learning some of the basics of apologetics in one easy location.  I’m posting a small section about the different types of apologetics just to get some feedback on the writing style I’m using, and to ask for some prayers in my endeavor.

Types of Apologetics
There are 5 main types of apologetics, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. No one method is more correct than another, but most people are drawn to a particular style based on the interests God has given them.

Classical Apologetics

Named because it is the oldest method, classical apologetics is usually the most philosophically weighty form of apologetics. Leaders in the early church, such as St. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, developed the system of classical apologetics and it is used today by many apologists (William Lane Craig, J.P. Moreland, etc.)

  1. Prove the existence of God through rational argumentation (usually one of the big four1)

  2. Establish Christianity specifically by appealing to the nature of Jesus in light of God’s existence.

Historical Apologetics

Sometimes called evidential, historical apologetics seeks out historical evidences, both secular and non-secular, to demonstrate the truth of Christian claims. This method is much more research based than classical apologetics and is the method of choice for Justin Martyr and Dr. Gary Habermas.

Experiential/Existential

The least intensive method, experiential apologetics relies on the power of personal experiences and testimonies. Lives transformed by Christ are the chief tools used by these apologists, as well as accounts of miraculous experiences in people’s lives.

Presuppositional

This view rejects any of the big arguments and instead presupposes the truth of Trinitarian Christianity. The presuppositional apologist then shows Christianity superior to other worldviews. Arguments are frequently made about Christianity presenting the only logically consistent view of reality.

Cumulative Case

A common type, cumulative apologetics seeks to overlap and harmonize all other forms of apologetics. Uses classical starting arguments, seeks historical evidences, and may rely on personal testimonies. A good beginning point, Lee Strobel and Josh McDowell are noted for this form of apologetics.

1The “big four” are the Cosmological argument (specifically the Kalam variant), the Teleological argument, the Moral argument, and the Ontological argument.

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  2. […] 5 Types of Apologetics (whybelievethat.wordpress.com) There are 5 main types of apologetics, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. No one method is more correct than another, but most people are drawn to a particular style based on the interests God has given them. […]

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