Monday, September 3, 2012

Criticisms (Objections) Coming From Those Against Apologetics


Introduction.

This morning I posted a Facebook comment that said that the reason why the church in America was behind the eight ball in the culture was because much of the secular city defines truth from the parameter of science, and in many cases psuedo-science.  The result has been (at least since Darwin's writings) the religious community withdrawing itself with a foundation in faith and feelings, thereby insulating itself from the secular thinkers then and now.  

Well as it is with Facebook, whenever one puts something like this up on their wall, especially as the local Chapter Director/Apologist at the University of Mary Washington, it will draw commentary from a different array of folks.  This comment was no different as it drew the ire of a twenty year old Inter-varsity student telling me that we are all sinners and one trying to reason out the BIble in 'scientific or logical ways' to someone who is not a Christian does not work.  He also stated that the reason why the we are in a 'post-Christian culture is because the Church as a whole has done a horrible job of witnessing to people in a "Loving Jesus Type way."   How is that for friendly fire?

Well, as I ponder my next series of postings, I am drawn to answering some of the top objections that people raise about apologetics.  Many of these objections show one's misunderstanding of this subject and that everyone who says that philosophy is a bad thing really does not understand that they are making philosophical statements themselves.  The reason is because philosophy enters our lives from three different angles.  It may be through the use of philosophy, logical theory, or academic statements that one may argue the point they are trying to make.  It may be through an song, a movie a play where the philosophy or worldview encased in the song may be illustrated.  Or it may be through just the casual conversation around a dining table or the kitchen table at home where we all try to ideas of the cultural setting.  Nevertheless we all are impacted by philosophy in one way shape or form.  The only thing is whether or not the philosophy one has is a good one or not.  

So with this let me enter the first objection.  That objection of whether or not apologetics denies or diminishes biblical authority.

Does apologetics diminish or deny biblical authority?  

In responding to this objection, I am referencing the "friendly fire" comment that we are in no way able to "reason out the BIble in 'scientific or logical ways' to someone who is not a Christian" because it "does not work."  

This statement is partially true and partially false.  It is very true if one is under the impression that the apologists' arguments are going to make the Bible authoritative.  If I or any other apologist thinks that we are going to make the Bible authoritative by the way we are defending it, then this objection is credible.

On the flip-side of this objection is the statement's falsity.  Let me make this perfectly clear, the Bible is ALREADY AUTHORITATIVE; and so long as our apologetic keeps taking the skeptic or the critic back to the Word of God and not to myself or my argument, then we are in line with that authority in our methodology and in our purpose for our polemic at that moment.  

The task of the apologist is not to usurp the authority of the Bible.  The task of the apologist IS to drive people BACK to the biblical authority.  Much of the challenges coming after the church and into the church today are centered on where "authority" comes from:  does it come from the Bible or does it come from some place else outside of the Bible?  

It is the task of the apologist to defend that authority of the Word of God, while "clearing the bushes" so people can get a clear picture of who Jesus is, and why He came and how they can receive the forgiveness that His sacrifice and resurrection offers them.

Conclusion.

In my next posting, I will be answering the objection:  "You cannot prove God exists!"  Look for it in the next Real Issue.  



2 comments:

Eric Pement said...

I think of apologetics as giving answers to help overcome obstacles or objections to the gospel. Often, apologetics takes the form of reasons, explanations, or intellectual arguments in defense of elements of the Christian faith, the credibility of Jesus' resurrection, or refutations of some counter-arguments against Christian essentials.

Those who argue that apologetics "doesn't work" may be saying that offering these explanations doesn't accelerate the process of conversion or make someone more prone to accept Christ as Savior.

Many times, this is true. Some "obstacles" to conversion are truly intellectual doubts, and in these cases being "ready with an answer" (1 Pet. 3:15) to those questions or doubts truly helps them along the road.

However, other obstacles are not intellectual at all. They may be negative associations with Christianity, cultural or family pressures, damage done by professing "Christians", fear of Christianity not being "real", unresolved guilt, simple unbelief and rebellion disguised as an intellectual objection.

In these cases, apologetics-as-intellectual-answers will do little good&emdash;except to show that the apologist is missing the real issue. Apologetics is no more the answer to every spiritual problem than surgery is the answer to every medical problem.

Rob Lundberg said...

The objective here was to just answer an objection without any additional commentary. I left that open to those who wish to provide comments. Thanks for your insights. Blessings, Rob