You've probably seen this bumper sticker: "God said it, I believe it, that settles it." As well-meaning as this phrase might be, it falls far short of its intended mark. A better phrase would be: "God said it, that settles it." Christians don't believe God's Word because they've done the detective work of validation and confirmation, but because the Holy Spirit reveals to us the truth of God's self-revelation so that we might know and serve Him.
If this isn't the foundation of our apologetics, any attempted defense or vindication of the faith will fail. We'll end up submitting our proofs to men for them to evaluate and pass judgment on in light of their own assumed authority, rather than calling them to repentance on the authority of God's revelation. That is the true task of the Christian apologist: to show men God's truth as revealed in Scripture and to demonstrate that all men know God, though unbelievers suppress that truth in unrighteousness.
How do we use Scripture to defend our faith? In plain language anyone can understand, K. Scott Oliphint answers exactly that question in The Battle Belongs to the Lord. This isn't a book about the historical reliability of Scripture; it's a book about the self-attestation of Scripture, and how that forms the center of a consistent Christian worldview. As the center of our faith, then, it is the Bible that must form the center of our apologetic in defense of that faith.
Oliphint, a professor of theology and apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, PA, begins with 1 Peter 3:15, in which the apostle Peter calls all Christians to be ready to defend the faith. This defense comes in the context of persecution, which is the only context for apologetics—those who simply believe have no need of a defense. It is those who resist or even attack the truth we must defend it against, but on God's terms rather than theirs.
One of the central biblical texts used by Oliphint is the first chapter of Romans, in which the apostle Paul talks about the true state of the unbeliever, revealing the fact that all have knowledge of the true God but suppress this knowledge in unrighteousness. As he examines these verses, we become aware more and more of the truth that God's Word defends itself, and is our greatest apologetic tool, far above any human reason or evidences.
Whether you're a novice or an experienced apologist, The Battle Belongs to the Lord is a book that needs to be in your library. It offers an unshakable foundation on which to build a consistent worldview by examining several key Scriptures, and by showing how all of Scripture can be used to defend our faith once for all delivered to the saints. Readable, convicting, and informative, this is destined to be a classic in its field and to help equip many future generations of Christian apologists.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here
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