Part two of three, part one and part three.
In this post, I want to describe the second leg of the stool of evangelism, wisdom. As I indicated in the previous post, I learned these concepts from Stand To Reason’s model of a Christian ambassador.
Regarding our knowledge Koukl suggests it “… must be deployed in a skillful way. There’s an element of wisdom, a tactical and artful diplomacy that makes his message persuasive.” This subject is handled in depth in Koukl’s book Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions. Continue reading
Part one of three part two and part three.
As a Christian apologist I am haunted by the desire to share what I have learned about the Christian worldview. As someone immersed in this field I am also confronted with the observation of Solomon,
What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there anything of which one can say,
“Look! This is something new”?
It was here already, long ago;
it was here before our time.
In other words everything worth saying about the Christian worldview has been said. I will never write like C.S. Lewis or have the intellectual depth of a William Lane Craig so what fuels this obsession I have had for almost 20 years? The answer is to be a light to those around me. To put it another way, I believe the role of the apologists is to be a conduit to bring the intellectual depth of the Christian worldview back to the Church and society. A modest goal would be to encourage believers and give skeptics something to think about. Apologetics is not just about answers. It is not about refuting skeptics or detecting logical fallacies. Apologetics is necessary tool for evangelism but it is not sufficient. Continue reading
What is service? What does service mean for the Christian? These are not questions I typically dwell on. Not being an especially devotional thinker, neither an eloquent writer, it is with a certain foolish enthusiasm that I dive into something one would be more likely to read from the likes of John Piper. Yet dive I must, as I learned something about service that surprised and invigorated me, something so obvious in retrospect and yet so elusive until I experienced it.
Greetings! Well it took months of procrastination and denial, but I finally started my own blog. For those of you who know my posts at Hieropraxis.com, you will find some of the posts familiar. For those who are new to my writing I hope you are challenged to think.
What is the most difficult question you can ask a fledgling apologist?
“What book would you recommend for someone just starting in apologetics?”
When I first started hearing this question a couple years ago, I was caught completely off guard. At the time, I was three years into my MA degree from Biola and I realized that being a student of such books should be an important part of my reading life. In this post I will review The God Conversation by JP Moreland and Tim Muehlhoff. These gentlemen bring interesting and important skills to the subject of evangelism. Dr. Moreland’s as an eminent philosopher and writer on topics ranging from philosophy to spiritual formation. Dr. Muehlhoff has been applying communication theory to a variety of subjects related to the Christian worldview for almost 20 years.
As a Christian apologist I frequently find myself plagued by opposing motives. My highest aspiration is to encourage believers to think. There is a tag line that became a book title: “Challenging believers to think and thinkers to believe.” In this post, I am drawn to a different, more critical, motive that I believe is equally important: paying heed to our changing culture and responsibility the Church bears for those changes.
Two recent pieces published in The Atlantic serve as the inspiration of this post. The first, “The Great Succession,” is a critique of Christian responses to the tsunami of same-sex marriage and birth-control mandates found in the Affordable Care Act. The author, who describes himself as a homosexual atheist, is offering advice to the church that withdrawal from society will only harm the Church and society. In response to many who argue that the Christians want to “opt out” of activities they hold to be morally objectionable, the author offers the following prediction and advice: Continue reading
The more time I spend learning about and trying to practice Christian apologetics, the more I am overwhelmed by the following observation: the strongest opponents to Christian apologetics are sometimes Christians. This is not a new observation. Many Christian leaders have lamented this problem for a few decades now. The importance of loving God with your mind, and the need to rekindle the same within the Church, has motivated my thinking for a long time. If that need is real, it is because the life of the Christian mind has been neglected in the Church. While the reasons may vary, the bottom line is that there are Christians who believe the life of the mind should not be an emphasis of the Church. Overcoming that very attitude is one of the tasks faced by every apologist within their Church community.
I first became aware of J. Warner Wallace via his guest hosting the Stand To Reason radio show. I welcomed the opportunity to review his new book, Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels, for the simple reason that I have not read many introductory apologetic books. For someone studying apologetics and involved in an apologetics ministry, that is a strange admission. Having dipped my toes into the world of college ministry in the past few months, I have been scrambling to develop a list of books I can recommend that introduce apologetics. While I would recommend Cold-Case Christianity to the apologetics neophyte, it also offers insights and suggests books every seasoned apologist should know about. I could recommend it to skeptics, but its audience should include Christians as well.
In part one, I discussed four different elements of the debate surrounding views of creation. Depending on the question you will find two of the views under consideration (young earth, old earth, and framework) agreeing with each other. Also, again depending on the question, you will find different combinations of views that agree with each other. This observation occurred to me in the process of reading the Genesis Debate this past spring. In this post I want to explain the significance of this observation.
In a previous post, I addressed how the rhetoric and views of some young earth creationists pose a threat to the task of an apologist. Some young earth proponents contend that the message of the Bible itself is in jeopardy if their hermeneutic is not followed. Such an exclusionary view makes it impossible to consider any other view of the creation narratives. To even consider the arguments for another view is to reject the very foundations of Christianity itself! (While such a summary might seem hyperbolic, I can assure it is not.)