July 30, 2008
After reading this I find that you're right about the need for new apologetics, but it also rises the question what's happening ot the church? I mean people do leave the church for how fellow "brothers" are treating them, and the arguements continue, from how pastors who are called to be leaders of the flocks drive brand new bentley's and so forth. <br><br>We need to start comming back to God's grace. We need to learn how to be true brothers and sisters in Christ. We need to understand that religion isn't just religion but a life style and start living that life. Then we will find those people who will be writing the apologetics that are needed
This is totally what I am finding. It's real difficult to discuss answers when so many people doubt the validity of questions!<br><br>Here is my suspicion however and maybe I should just whisper this. **I actually suspect that our new wave of apologetics will follow on the heels of a new wave of religious restrictions and persecutions. It will be this that shows the world the power of the Gospel. Bummer, huh?***
I've been involved in the Alpha Course. Serving people a fabulous free meal on good china, loving them, remembering names, being interested in what they have to say, responding in a non-threatening manner, and asking nothing in return really disarms people. <br><br>Francis Shaeffer's "The God Who is There" is still pretty applicable as more and more aspects of our society seems to fall below what he called the "line of despair." Helping people admit that they are speaking from below the line, that they are approaching religion with cynicism and not really being open-minded about Christ is a helpful starting point. <br><br>Don Richardson's "Eternity in Their Hearts" has been helpful in discussing how God has been at work in other cultures revealing the truth of redemption. It takes some creative thinking to connect the dots but well worth it when chatting with people from other cultures or people who think Christianity is irrelevant to other cultures.<br><br>I think the church has to demonstrate a heart of service and compassion before any of our words will be heard.<br><br>I also think it's more important to win a soul than to win an argument.
The "New Atheism" should rightly be called "Atheism Redefined and Popularised". Until very recently an "atheist" was clearly someone who affirmed a proposition namely, "God does not exist". Especially popular after the enlightenment this position lost popularity and followers and atheism was receding into agnosticism when someone got the great idea to define an atheist as "one who is not a theist". By this new definition agnostics, deists and the general mindless public are all atheists. This was brilliant and suddenly the numbers looked good again.<br><br>What the "New Atheists" basically preach is the news that most people are not theists or at least that their supposed theism is shakey. They convert people who thought they were theists by sowing doubt and confusion using passionate, humorous and polemical writings which can not seriously be called "arguments".<br><br>The modern apologist needs to know how to see through these attacks because they are new and novel and creative and not directly anticipated by previous generations. For example, it takes some practice to see that Dawkin's "God could not have evolved" argument is just "Who made God?" in disguise.<br><br>At the outset in any discussion we need to establish ground rules and not accept critics jumping around between logical positivism and post-modernism where it suits their case. This is a typical strategy of new Atheism - "all beliefs are culturally constructed and relative, except mine" or "the human mind is easily fooled and conditioned by tribal instincts but of course mine is above all that"....<br><br>Although opposed to the new atheists I can see how God is using this to rouse His church to new levels of intellectual engagement with his nature and truth. For those who love Him, he's working the New Atheism for our good!
What have I found to be the most effective approach with non-Christians? Below are a few things I discovered that almost always works: <br>Pray, then relax. <br>Get them talking about themselves. <br>Be honest about myself. <br>Take them as they are, not as I think they should be. <br>Wait for God to show me when to share the good news about Jesus. <br>Only if they ask, do I share my own story. <br>Pray, then let God do the rest.
The most effective approach I have discovered when engaging with non-Christians is to love them as those whom Christ gave His life for, and be honest with them in a loving manner as they ask questions. If they attack Christ, I do not hesitate to stand up for Him and let the attackers know they'd better be extremely well-prepared to defend what they are doing. <br><br>If an unbeliever does not bring up the topic of Christ (they often will, if only to ask what I believe), I will bring up the subject, and rarely have I not been able to share Christ with them, at least once. Often it has been my privilege to sow many seeds.<br><br>It has been my discovery that a great many people in the U.S. have heard some things about the Lord Jesus Christ, but have no perspective on what the world was like before Him, Who He was in His time, and therefore what His relevance is today. Sometimes when I inquire about how long ago Jesus was born, they will have absolutely no clue as to why the western world calls this year 2008. <br><br>Dostoevsky wrote something to the effect of , 'At heart, people are much simpler than first believed,' and I have found this to be true as pertaining to the Gospel: no matter the "ism" of the age, people are sinners, they need love, Christ the living Lord is the answer.
no one gives a rip about apologetics (i mean, outside of the Christian bubble). <br><br>there are a million-billion things that Christians ought to focus on instead of apologetics. If we'd just feed the poor, clothe the naked, and help those in need, i think our reputation wouldn't be so nasty. <br><br>anyways, no apologetics please. It doesn't do much...
Doug, that's awesome! You have a real insight as to what God loves and how He works. We get too caught up sometimes thinking that we have to be the ones to "save" someone. We are called to "go" and "share" and leave the results up to God, and you've hit it right on the nailhead! Thanks for your comment.
Helping those in need is a very Christian thing to do, Adam, and I agree with you that our works need to occur in the realm of the love of Christ. However, I don't agree that apologetics doesn't do much ... if we are not prepared to give an answer as to the hope that is in us, then our effectiveness in bringing souls to Christ is diminished. No one is apt to agree with our beliefs if we cannot effectively share them. It's a whole package, not just works and not just evangelism, but all together. Remember James 2:18. If we have both effective evangelism and good works, then our focus is on the Kingdom of God and nothing else. I appreciate your heart for those in need, Adam. Maybe that is your spiritual gift? Thanks for your comment!
Sorry Adam, there are many parts to the body, each with different gifts, and it is very sad if one part of the body says to another "I don't need you". If everyone specialised in apologetics, it would be a poor testimony, but that does not mean apologetics does not have a vital place. Peter told us to be able to give a reason for the hope that we have (1 Peter 3: 15). God has given us the ability to reason, and intends us to use it - failing to do so is dishonouring to our creator, and if the church leaves the intellectual highground to the atheists it has failed in its witness.<br><br>Not everyone is gifted to be able to handle apologetics - that does not mean they are inferior in any way, but by the same token it does not give them the right to belittle those who can
As Alvin Plantinga puts it - "of all the anti-theistic arguments, only the argument from evil deserves to be taken really seriously."<br><br><a href="http://www.calvin.edu/125th/wolterst/p_bio.pdf" rel="nofollow">http://www.calvin.edu/125th/wo...</a><br><br>Anyone familiar with his philosophy will see the significance of that statement. Certainly anyone can see the power in it, if they respect (and even moreso, if they agree with) Plantinga's work. Plantinga has breached the furthest extent scholarship that examines and defends the Christian faith, and he is on the frontier. Look out for his work. He is making real progress.<br>
I beg to differ. The apologetic writings of C.S. Lewis saved my ASSets. I mean of course God did the saving but old Lewis gave me good reasons to call on His name without commiting intellectual suicide!
I'm coming along a few days late here, but another facet of this struck me as I read what Rachel Evans said: "Iâ€™d built my faith on answers, so when I started asking questions, my faith began to crumble." I agree it is very important to be able to give an answer to those who ask, but we need to be cautious in our own lives and in teaching others that our faith does not rely on having all the answers. Part of faith is knowing that we don't have all the answers, but still trusting in God's sovereignty, holiness, and goodness even when we don't see or understand it.
Apologetics are fine for those people who come closer to God through apologetics. Personally, I am one of those who find them boring. Micah's "He has shown you oh man what is good..." and Jesus's affirmation that "all the law and the prophets" hang on two commandments is about all I really need as foundation. As long as I have those to hang onto, the Revelation to St. John just isn't helpful. Neither are pat answers to a long litany of querelous questions. I admit that I found <i>The Screwtape Letters</i> to make many details clear in a lively and edifying way. But please, if we are going to have more apologetics, let it not be in reaction to whatever nonsense the star-quality atheists are tossing out for entertainment. Richard Dawkins is truly pathetic, and I speak as one who can trace the foundations of evolutionary biology to the first two chapters of Genesis, to the shame of both Dawkins and the mythologists at Answers in Genesis, who missed the most important answers. If there is a God who created the universe, he lies outside the material world subject to scientific examination. That means we can't PROVE there is a God, and science cannot PROVE there is none. End of discussion.
yes that is wonderful to do and we should do it . But it doesnt make people Christians .<br><br>Only Gods word does that. <br>apologetics is important because it gives us a chance to use that life changing word <br>about Jesus living a perfect life for us and dying for our sins winning us all heaven .<br>(objective justification) <br><br>Gods word is so powerful it makes christians and then out of thanks for what Jesus has done we act more<br>like Jesus . through the word about our only savior from sin -----Jesus . there will be more christians that will want to feed and house the needy.
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