Monthly Archives: October 2012

The Wonders of Google

In my house, we sometimes joke that Google is omniscient. While that may not be a good joke to tell in an Apologetics round, it gets my point across: In terms of human knowledge, Google knows it all.

When I research for Apologetics, my typical first action is to type the topic into Google. I’ll click on the first few links just to get a feel for the topic. If a quote is especially helpful, I’ll paste it into the document I have open.

For example, one of the cards I wrote recently is on the topic “What is the meaning and significance of Jesus as the Word of God?” The image below is part of the first page of search results.

 

 

Here’s what my research process looks like: The first result on the list is a website with audio files from theologians such as Alistair Begg and R.C. Sproul. Because I just want to get a quick overview of the topic, I go back to all the results.

The second result is more what I’m looking for. It’s from gotquestions.org (stay tuned for more on that website in a future post), which is a great resource for Apologetics. It explains how the apostle John’s describing Jesus as the Logos would have helped his readers comprehend his meaning.

The third result is the Wikipedia article on the topic — not generally the place you want to get your theology, but it can be helpful in getting a general understanding of a topic. When I think I have a good idea of what the topic means, I outline the card and start to write.

One important point to keep in mind is that Google does not differentiate between good and bad theology. You have to ensure that whatever sources you’re quoting have correct theology. If I quote a website I haven’t heard of before, I will always go and check the “About Us” page or, if they have one, their Statement of Faith. If all else fails, I’ll just read some of the other articles — bad theology loves company.

No, Google isn’t really omniscient. But if you want a lot of information in a short amount of time, Google is the place to go.

Systematic Theology

This post is the first in a series where I’ll reveal my favorite resources for preparing Apologetics speeches. I think I’ll call the series “Equip-ment”! Topping the list is Dr. Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology.

There are two complementary approaches to theology: “systematic theology” and “Biblical theology”. Biblical theology is more or less chronological, and draws theology from an individual passage of the Bible (hence the name). Conversely, systematic theology deals with a single topic and studies verses from all over the Bible that deal with that topic. When researching for Apologetics, you typically need to use the systematic approach, because you’re studying an individual topic.

Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology is used in seminary courses all across America. Its whopping 1,264 pages covers basically every theological concept you could ever be interested in. However, despite the length, Grudem is incredibly easy to read. He takes even the most complicated of theological concepts and makes them easy to understand.

One of the things I like most about Grudem is how balanced he is. When writing about a particular concept, Grudem will explain the various viewpoints concerning that topic. Only then will he reveal which viewpoint he holds to. He will bring up the Biblical support for that position and explain why he holds to it.

I disagree with Grudem over his position on the cessationism/continuationism debate. But, since there isn’t a topic on cessationism/continuationism (Praise God!), that isn’t really an issue.

So, I highly recommend Systematic Theology to anyone competing in Apologetics. It is a very comprehensive yet very readable resource, and deserves a place on every Apologist’s shelf.