Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
On How Theology Determines Apologetics
04/10/2007 - James White
I would like to request James White to use his knowledge to tame Islam - rather than wasting time on other christians like William Lane Craig, who frankly is doing a very good job. Let us focus on the MAIN doctrines like Divinity of Christ, his life and message, which we all accept cutting across different apologetic styles, cutting across denominations etc. So, instead of wasting time on minor issues of differences, it will be better to spend time on those who do not accept Christ at all. Today's challenge is Islam. I am from a place where I am seeing on TV, islamic channels that are talking more on christianity than Islam - they are using completely incorrect understanding of christian doctrines, attacking them and airing them on TV to audiene who do not know anything. If Islam is tamed at the level of best Islamic debaters, the well defined arguments can then be used by ordinary people in their conversations with muslims.
I appreciate your desire to see Islam refuted. I share your passion, and am regularly involved in study of Islamic belief and apologetics. I am spending the majority of my study time on Islam and its apologists.
But I cannot allow my desire to see Islam refuted to over-shadow the truth to which I seek to direct Muslims themselves. You have given very clear expression to one of the greatest dangers in apologetics: pragmatism. "We need to respond to Islam! So, let's not worry about the specifics of the faith to which we hope to direct them!" May I suggest that our desire to see Muslims come to know Christ should only heighten our concern for accuracy in our proclamation of biblical truth? Vanilla Christianity is not what Muslims need to hear. Biblical, thorough, accurate, consistent Christianity is the only antidote to Islam.
W.L. Craig's theology is sub-biblical. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. His Molinism is more of a symptom of a wider theological weakness, one that, I believe, illustrates what happens when philosophy becomes the guiding force in theology. As a result there is a tremendous difference between the apologetic he represents and that which would flow from a consistent theological position. Apologetic methodology must of necessity flow from our theology. What we believe about God, His self-glorifying purpose in Creation, His nature, His power, His will, and His creatures, will determine how we defend His truth. A theocentric theology will result in a theocentric apologetic; an anthropocentric theology always results in an man-centered apologetic.
Let me give you an example. It is common for WLC and those trained in his system to argue that the "preponderance of the evidence" points to the "greater probability" of the truthfulness of Christianity. Is this kind of argument consistent with the Apostolic proclamation? Did the Apostles claim that "there is very good reason to believe Jesus rose from the dead!"? Or did they proclaim it as a certainty, the very foundation of God's judgment itself (Acts 17:31). Did they say there is more evidence Yahweh exists than there is that He doesn't, or did they identify as foolish any argument raised against the existence of the Creator by the created? I believe a consistent biblical theology will result in the proclamation that outside of the Creator, who has revealed Himself perfectly in Jesus Christ, there is no grounds for human predication at all, and that Christianity is not merely the "best of a number of possibilities," but it is the only possibility. What is more, the WLC system places the sinner, man, in the position of "neutral judge" of these "probabilities," and again, this is something the Apostles did not do. Man is not a neutral judge of the existence of God: he is a rebel creature busily suppressing the knowledge of God. What you believe about these things will tremendously impact your apologetic methodology as a whole, and your response to Islam in particular.
So while I encourage you to continue working toward the proclamation of God's truth to the Muslim people, I would suggest you consider well just what it is you are saying to them, and how you are doing it. Are you trying to tell the Muslims there is a "better chance" Christianity is true than there is that Islam is true, or are you proclaiming a clear, consistent, compelling, and certainly true revelation in Christ and in His Word that means beyond all doubt that Islam is false? I hope you can see the difference, and why apologetic replies to Islam are not helped by fuzzy theology on the part of Christian apologists.