The Christian Apologist has several arrows in their quiver when it comes to preevanglism. We have the witness of the Holy Spirit which in itself is a properly basic belief based on experience. We also have such tools as history, archaeology, literary criticism, and the laws of logic. Here are the conditions for a good, sound, or valid argument:
Three Conditions for a Sound Argument
1) The argument must be logically valid – The conclusion must follow from the premises according to rules of logic.
Example: All men are mortal. Pastor Glenn is a man. Therefore, Pastor Glenn is mortal.
2) The argument must have true premises – The premises are the steps of the argument from which the conclusion is inferred using the rules of logic.
Example: Premise 1 – All men are mortal
3) The premises must be more plausible than their negations – The premises must be credible, supported by evidence, or obvious and more plausible than their negations or contradictory of that statement.
Example: A – All men are mortal is more pausibly true than B – Not all men are mortal
Conditions for “Proof”
Mathematical demonstration – A + B = C has a 100% proof
Philosphical proof – A is more plausibly true than B
The argument does not have to have 100% certainty. It must only be more plausible than its opposite.
Example: A – The universe began to exist is more plausibly true than B – the universe did not begin to exist.
Therefore, the word “Proof” raises a standard in the minds of some that is unrealistic. There is virtually nothing in life that can be proven with 100% certainty.
Negations or Defeaters
We must remember that assertions are not arguments against our positions. In order to give valid negations or defeaters of our arguments, valid counter arguments must be given.
Example: A – “The disciples stole Jesus’ body, therefore the tomb was empty.” – is an assertion and not an argument.
Valid and plausible premises must be proferred in order to negate or defeat your premise.
Remember, the truth is on our side. 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6. We therefore must always be confident in giving reasons for the hope we have.