Cultural Apologetics: An Evangelical Standpoint -- By: Clark H. Pinnock

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 127:505 (Jan 1970)
Article: Cultural Apologetics: An Evangelical Standpoint
Author: Clark H. Pinnock

Cultural Apologetics: An Evangelical Standpoint

Clark H. Pinnock

[Clark H. Pinnock, Professor, Department of Theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois.]

Perspectives. A sad feature in contemporary evangelical Christianity is the intellectual intimidation of Christians, who, finding themselves incapable of defending the gospel against skeptical attack, retreat to some untestable religious experience they have had, or to some existential version of faith in faith.1 The result is altogether disastrous, because, when a person gains the impression there are no reasons to be a Christian, he certainly does not become one, but continues unchallenged in his secularism.

The weakness is especially obvious in the nominally Christian colleges and seminaries of the land which seem more proficient at persuading students to doubt the faith of our fathers than in training aggressive apologists for it. One of the most urgent tasks of biblical Christians today is to construct an apologetic for the gospel which will adequately describe the rational and historical basis upon which it securely rests.2 For our theology without this apologetic is a mere castle floating in midair, and our preaching presumptuous proclamation calling for blind credulity. Faith is a

grounded conviction, formed in the heart by the Holy Spirit acting upon evidences.

Evangelicals are not bound to worship at the altar of Kant’s postulational or Kierkegaard’s volitional theism.3 Ours is a religion of factual belief whose object consists of revelational data actually present in the cosmic (Rom 1:19–20) and historical (Acts 17:31) order, and which it is our responsibility to present and defend. Our case rests upon the evidence from the created order that God exists, and the evidence from the historical order that Christ is Lord.

Cultural apologetics falls within the field of general revelation or natural theology, whose aim it is to uncover the grounds for belief in God, and to refute the grounds advanced in favor of disbelief. Unlike natural theology, however, with its preoccupation toward theistic argument, cultural apologetics focuses on the existential dilemma of unbelieving man. It conducts a journey through the vale of tears, the metaphysical wasteland, moral, spiritual, intellectual, in which modern man by his own confession dwells. It attempts a diagnosis of the “soulscape” of the worldly fashion that is p...

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