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1993 Issue 5

This article is the first of a monthly apologetics series. The field of Christian apologetics is a vital discipline of the Christian faith. "Apologetics is the vindication of the Christian philosophy of life against the various forms of the non-Christian philosophy of life" (Cornelius Van Til, "Apologetics," p. l). The term apologetics is derived from the Greek word "apologia" which means a "a defense offered." We see several occasions where Paul gives his apologia ( Acts 23:lff; 24:1; 26:lff; Galatians 1 and 2; and II Corinthians 13). Apologetic situations are inevitable. Every Christian at some point has encountered an apologetic situation whether it be to an unbelieving family member who thinks the Christian is a fanatic, whether it be an acquaintance who thinks that Christianity and the Bible are merely one of many viable religious alternatives, or whether it be the average man on the street who lets his feelings dictate his moral actions.

As we noted in the last article Columbus always (and with remarkable orthodoxy considering the times in which he lived) professed Christianity. That this profession was more than simply perfunctory is confirmed by the unanimous testimony of those who knew him.

His son Ferdinand, who was with his father throughout the last six years of his life says, "...he was so great an enemy to cursing and swearing, that I never heard him utter any other oath than 'by San Fernandd!' and when he was most angry with anyone, his reprimand was to say, 'May God take you!' for doing or saying that. And when he had to write anything, he would not try the pen without first writing these words: Jesus cum Maria sit nobis in via ["Jesus and Mary be with us on the way")..."

Each month the "Cross-Examination" column presents a summary statement of a Reformed and Reconstructionist conviction in theology or ethics, and then offers brief answers to common questions, objections or confusions which people have about that belief. Send issues or questions you would like addressed by Dr. Bahnsen to the editor.

Recap: We began our study by asking what is the status of the children of a believing adult, according to the Scriptures. Are they viewed as part of the common world of unbelief or part of the church, the community formed by God's saving covenant?

A careful reading of the birth narratives of Matthew and of Luke will reveal that each evangelist presents his material from a different perspective, making the accounts supplementary but not contradictory. Both give clear witness to the virgin birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, but it appears that Matthew does so from the perspective of Joseph, and Luke does so from the perspective of Mary. In Luke's narrative Mary's inmost thoughts are revealed, and the whole narrative seems to be presented from her point of view, which would not be unexpected for Luke because of his high regard for women evidenced throughout his book. It appears that Luke obtained his information concerning the birth of Jesus directly from Mary, the mother of Jesus. "The womanly touch in the narrative is perhaps adequately explained by the supposition that the information came ultimately from Mary, whether or not it passed through other lips before it was finally put into literary form. What really stands firm is that the narrative is written from Mary's point of view, and therefore in some sort claims to come from her." - J. Gresham Machen, The Virgin Birth of Christ, pg. 201.

As seen in the Introduction, the work of the Spirit is summed up in John 16:14, where the Lord Jesus says, "He shall glorify Me." Commenting on this passage, James Boice writes, "The work of the Holy Spirit is primarily to glorify Christ. Indeed; when they are correctly understood, all the other works that might be mentioned are included within this one overriding purpose." James M. Boice, Foundations of the Christian Faith, p. 381.

As we begin our study of the work of the Spirit, we first need to recognize that His work is wholly Christ-centered. There is an inextricable relationship between Pneumatology (Doctrine of the Holy Spirit) and Christology. The Spirit carries on the ministry of the Lord Jesus, after His ascension to the right hand of the Father. Jesus Himself teaches this in John 16:5-15. Luke further illuminates this fact in the book of Acts.

The Evil of Evils or The Exceeding Sinfulness of Sin by Jeremiah Burroughs Soli Deo Gloria 213 W. Vincent St. Ligonier, Pa. 15658 1992 345pp. $22.95.

In God's good providence, this book is back in print after almost 350 years. (It was first published in 1654). We are living in a day when we are seeing an increasing hatred for Biblical Christianity in our culture and sadly within many churches. Christians have been and, I believe, will increasingly, be put in a position where their faithful, loving stand for the truth will lead to verbal abuse, hindrances to promotions, job loss, and perhaps even jail terms. Thus Christians are often faced with compromise and giving in to temptation rather than holding fast to the claims of the Gospel and its implications for all of life.