The fourth section in Always Ready by Dr. Greg L. Bahnsen deals with the conditions necessary for apologetic success. The first point that is mention is the fact that God is the sovereign granter of wisdom. True wisdom comes from the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. Only those who have placed their faith in Christ have the Spirit of God living within them. Apart from the Holy Spirit there is no understanding of wisdom. So, the unbeliever can never fully understand the truth until he or she is indwelled by the Spirit which takes place at the moment of salvation. Therefore, one must believe in order to understand. As Proverbs 1:7 tells us, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” Knowing God is the first principle. You cannot have true wisdom apart from knowing God.
For the one who is striving to defend the faith and to give answers to what they believe to an unbelieving world, his or her strategy must be guided by what they believe. We cannot walk by intellectual self-sufficiency. In other words, ‘our faith is not in the wisdom of man, but in the power of God.’ We must have complete trust in the Word of God. God’s Word has self-attesting authority, therefore, in order to defend the faith, there really is no ‘proving’ that needs to be done. The issue has to do with belief. You either believe it or you don’t. Your faith is either in man’s wisdom or in the power of God. There is no middle ground, you cannot be neutral. As Jesus said, “You are either with me or against me.”
Another condition for apologetic success is to make sure you are not beguiled as Eve was. When Satan tempted Eve in the garden he started out by bringing into question the Word of God. He brought doubt to the authority of God’s Word. This is exactly what Satan is trying to do to Christians today. He is using the wisdom of this world, the vain philosophies of men, and intellectualism in order to cause us to bring into question what the Bible says. This is done in very subtle ways. Unfortunately, Satan will use people within the church in order to cast doubt on what God’s Word says. This is a very dangerous thing and we must protect ourselves from that. The real issue again goes back to what are you going to believe. Will you believe what sinful man says or will you believe what the Word of God says? To be a real defender of the faith, you cannot allow yourself to be deceived by the lie of Satan as Eve did in the garden.
A final condition for apologetic success is to not lie in order to defend the truth. Often times we are tempted to abandon what we believe in order to be ‘neutral’ in an argument. Saving faith cannot be grounded in human wisdom or secular presuppositions. Saving faith is generated in the power of God. When we follow secular presuppositions it causes us to not be able to discern the truth about God. The truth about God can only be understood through the Holy Spirit of God. No academic study can discern God’s truth. In other words, you cannot abandon the faith in order to defend the faith.