Drollinger: Should You Argue from the Bible in a Secular World?

Should a Christian political leader — or any believer, for that matter — avoid using the Scriptures as his or her authority if others do not view the Bible as authoritative? In a broader scope, above and beyond evangelism, should a believer argue from the Bible relative to policy matters in an increasingly secular America? Over the years, I have spent a considerable amount of time studying apologetical systems and evangelistic approaches in relation to political leaders. The Bible study “Should You Argue from the Bible in a Secular Capitol?” examines the Apostle Paul’s approach to persuasion when speaking to a secular audience as recorded in the book of Acts and how and why he unwaveringly uses Scripture. In Acts 17:22-31, Dr. Luke records one of Paul’s sermons. This passage of Scripture is quite informative and profoundly important because it provides an exemplar and thesis for developing a foundational understanding of the biblically proper way to defend (cf. 1 Peter 3:15) and proclaim (cf. Colossians 1:28) eternal truths to non-believers. An in-depth study of Acts 17 yields guidelines for communicating truth to the unregenerate. Paul’s sermon reveals how he went about the task of persuading non-believers with biblical truth. More specifically, we witness the heralding of kerygmatic (publicly proclaiming the gospel) truths to Athenian secular philosophers or, better stated, ancient Greek ideologues. Paul’s apologetical approach was consistently presuppositional in nature. In other words, the sermon’s content presupposes that Scripture is the absolute and final authority and should be the foundation for all argumentations. While unbelievers may deny it, in their hearts they know the Scriptures are the true and inerrant Word of God. The Bible tells us so. In Romans 1:18-20, Paul wrote, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” The Apostle is declaring that men know God in an inherent sense and that he is evident to them, but that they suppress this truth, this inherent knowledge, instead of acknowledging him. This typical reaction is a consequence of the Fall of man and man’s rebellion against God due to man’s endemic sin nature. Notice what John 3:19b states in this regard: “The Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.” If Paul used Scripture as his basis in the first-century world to a secular audience, does it not follow that believers today should use the Scriptures as their starting point and final authority for all reasoning and apologetical and evangelistic endeavors? I think so! In every nation and capital of the world, people already know that Christ is God, that the Bible is true, and that they need to repent of their self-appointed authority and autonomy and fall on their knees in submission to God’s authority. They know this in their heart of hearts via the witness of their conscience and the surrounding creation of God. Therefore, the believer’s job is not so much to convince and persuade as it is to aid and lovingly coach the unconverted to quit suppressing what they already know to be true! May the Spirit aid us in such a ministry. Following Paul’s example, the Scriptures and our ability to reason based on scriptural truth need to be our final and complete authority. I challenge you to begin arguing from scriptural precepts to make your point relative to policy matters. When challenged with “Well, I don’t view the Bible as authoritative,” answer with, “Oh, yes, you do; it is just that you are suppressing its authority.” Another one of my favorite responses when arguing about this subject is the following: “Should I believe what you proclaim about the Bible, or should I believe what the Bible proclaims about you?” Click here to read the full study. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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