Learn apologetics

If you are interested in Christian apologetics–that is, the defense of the Christian faith–I urge you to attend the summer program of the International Academy of Apologetics, Evangelism, and Human Rights, which will be held in Strasbourg, France, July 5-16.

You will study under the great John Warwick Montgomery, a giant in the field.

Also teaching this summer will be Craig Parton (author of The Defense Never Rests), my friend and co-director of the Cranach Institute Angus Menuge, Concordia Theological Seminary professor Adam Francisco, and Australian theologian Ross Clifford.

Here are the topics for this summer:

The Apologetic Task Today
Philosophical Apologetics
Scientific Apologetics and Medical Issues
Historical Apologetics
Legal Apologetics & Human Rights
Literary and Cultural Apologetics
The Apologetics of C.S. Lewis
Cults, Sects, and the World’s Religions
Biblical Authority Today

The cost is $2,995, which includes lodging at the University of Strasbourg, most meals, and extras, such as a tour led by Dr. Montgomery of the Alsace region in northeastern France, close to the German border.   This includes visits to the local vineyards and wine-making operations, a viewing of the Grunewald Crucifixion and Resurrection, and sampling of some amazing French cuisine.

I taught there last summer, lecturing on Literary and Cultural Apologetics, and I can say that a good time was had by all.  I love Strasbourg, the historic center of French Protestantism.  The university goes back to Johann Sturm’s original Reformation academy. Calvin taught there; the Huguenot Cross is still worn; and lots of Lutheran churches can still be found.

The teaching is high-level, but accessible to a wide range of backgrounds.  Last summer there were college students, laymen, and lots of pastors.  There was a high school student, married couples, folks of all ages.

And if you can’t go, this would make a great gift from a congregation to its pastor.

Go here for more information.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Greg Smith

    This sounds fantastic. However, I wonder why Lutherans so seldom do apologetics. This is one of the few times I have ever heard of professor-level Lutheran doing this. Why do Lutherans leave this to our reformed brethren?

  • Greg Smith

    This sounds fantastic. However, I wonder why Lutherans so seldom do apologetics. This is one of the few times I have ever heard of professor-level Lutheran doing this. Why do Lutherans leave this to our reformed brethren?

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    Greg @ 1,

    I think Lutherans tend to avoid it for two reasons:

    1) The Lutheran acceptance of paradox in theology is absolutely essential, but it does mean that we often have a hard time making our peace with reason.

    2) We confuse apologetics with trying to create faith by reason (usurping the place of the Holy Spirit). On the contrary, apologetics with respect to Law is an accusation of intellectual sin while apologetics with respect to the Gospel is a part of clear communication.

    But if I can get a quick plug in for my own book on apologetics, some Lutherans don’t just leave it to the Reformed.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    Greg @ 1,

    I think Lutherans tend to avoid it for two reasons:

    1) The Lutheran acceptance of paradox in theology is absolutely essential, but it does mean that we often have a hard time making our peace with reason.

    2) We confuse apologetics with trying to create faith by reason (usurping the place of the Holy Spirit). On the contrary, apologetics with respect to Law is an accusation of intellectual sin while apologetics with respect to the Gospel is a part of clear communication.

    But if I can get a quick plug in for my own book on apologetics, some Lutherans don’t just leave it to the Reformed.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    Or perhaps I should actually give a working link.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    Or perhaps I should actually give a working link.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    I’d correct the broken link in the last post, but the blog is swallowing the correction when I use html. The site is http://www.matthewcochran.net/atiwat.php

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    I’d correct the broken link in the last post, but the blog is swallowing the correction when I use html. The site is http://www.matthewcochran.net/atiwat.php

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    I’d love to go, but methinks that if I were in Strasbourg, I’d have trouble bothering to go to the classes…… :^)

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    I’d love to go, but methinks that if I were in Strasbourg, I’d have trouble bothering to go to the classes…… :^)

  • http://www.trinitycreston.org Rev. Jonathan Watt

    I’m going and I can’t wait!

  • http://www.trinitycreston.org Rev. Jonathan Watt

    I’m going and I can’t wait!

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    Wow! Nice conference.

    Edmonton also has a conference coming on apologetics with Dr. Jonathan Strand of Concordia University College of Alberta.

    http://www.canadianlutheran.ca/plan-ahead-for-continuing-ed/

    $250.00 is the cost.
    (Anybody coming up might even stay with my husband and myself. :))

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    Wow! Nice conference.

    Edmonton also has a conference coming on apologetics with Dr. Jonathan Strand of Concordia University College of Alberta.

    http://www.canadianlutheran.ca/plan-ahead-for-continuing-ed/

    $250.00 is the cost.
    (Anybody coming up might even stay with my husband and myself. :))

  • Booklover

    I’ve wanted to attend this ever since I heard about it years ago. But I’m saving for a tour of Italy that our college alumni choir is taking next year, in which we’re singing in cathedrals. Maybe in another ten years!!

  • Booklover

    I’ve wanted to attend this ever since I heard about it years ago. But I’m saving for a tour of Italy that our college alumni choir is taking next year, in which we’re singing in cathedrals. Maybe in another ten years!!

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Why is there the perception that Lutherans do not do apologetics? Who is the most influential apologist today? John Warwick Montgomery. He’s Lutheran. And he has influenced just about everybody else, including popular writers such as Josh McDowell.

    Also Craig Parton is no slouch at apologetics. He’s Lutheran. So is Angus Menuge. And I’m glad to see Matt Cochran’s book. And there are more, including an online apologetics conference that I’ll be blogging about later.

    And why are the Reformed being given credit for being such great apologists? Of course, there are some good ones in that tradition, but i would say that Reformed theology is intrinsically much more resistant than other traditions, what with their belief in irresistible grace, etc. Most Reformed apologists are presuppositionalists, teaching that people are locked into their worldviews and can never get beyond them, an approach to apologetics that basically says that apologetics isn’t possible.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Why is there the perception that Lutherans do not do apologetics? Who is the most influential apologist today? John Warwick Montgomery. He’s Lutheran. And he has influenced just about everybody else, including popular writers such as Josh McDowell.

    Also Craig Parton is no slouch at apologetics. He’s Lutheran. So is Angus Menuge. And I’m glad to see Matt Cochran’s book. And there are more, including an online apologetics conference that I’ll be blogging about later.

    And why are the Reformed being given credit for being such great apologists? Of course, there are some good ones in that tradition, but i would say that Reformed theology is intrinsically much more resistant than other traditions, what with their belief in irresistible grace, etc. Most Reformed apologists are presuppositionalists, teaching that people are locked into their worldviews and can never get beyond them, an approach to apologetics that basically says that apologetics isn’t possible.

  • http://gslcnm.com Pastor Phil Spomer

    Dr. Veith,
    I’d include Wolfhart Pannenberg to that list. Though not works of apologetics per se, his work is singularly useful.

    P.S. I’d love to go if I had a few spare grand. As for my congregation making a gift? Her resources are just as meager as mine. :(

  • http://gslcnm.com Pastor Phil Spomer

    Dr. Veith,
    I’d include Wolfhart Pannenberg to that list. Though not works of apologetics per se, his work is singularly useful.

    P.S. I’d love to go if I had a few spare grand. As for my congregation making a gift? Her resources are just as meager as mine. :(

  • http://journeytoluther.blogspot.com/ moallen

    I went to an apologetics conference about 1 1/2 years ago with Craig Parton and Rod Rosenbladt. It was excellent – and Craig Parton made a strong appeal for Lutheranism – or was it he made the Lutheran Christian tradition seem very appealing? It definitely got me to thinking. The conference ended on Reformation Day – we went to the Church Service – it was unlike anything I had experienced up to then, in a good way.

  • http://journeytoluther.blogspot.com/ moallen

    I went to an apologetics conference about 1 1/2 years ago with Craig Parton and Rod Rosenbladt. It was excellent – and Craig Parton made a strong appeal for Lutheranism – or was it he made the Lutheran Christian tradition seem very appealing? It definitely got me to thinking. The conference ended on Reformation Day – we went to the Church Service – it was unlike anything I had experienced up to then, in a good way.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Matt Cochran @ 3

    The Roman Catholic reviewer of that book you wrote an essay for: “Natural Law, a “Lutheran ” Reappraisal” says this:

    God´s Law is written in two ways and two places: Not only in the words of revelation, but in our being, for we are made in God´s Image. For a long time, many christians neglected or even denied this insight because of the mistaken idea that if the image of God can be obscured by sin, then for all practical purposes there is no natural law. How ironic, and how deadly to our common witness, that this common ground among all human beingl this universal prologue to the Gospel, should have become a battleground among christians themselves. Catholic myself, I rejoice to see the rekindling of reflection on natural law among Lutherans, and I look forward to many interesting conversations” J. Budziszewski, Professor of Govt and Philosophy, University of Texas at Austin.

    This is exactly what is wrong with “natural law” defined by Rome and Calvin and late Melancthon:

    Our Lutheran Confessions say that the Image of God is COMPLETELY absent and lacking . This is the Lutheran definition of Original Sin in fact. The Confessions locate the Image of God as being nothing other than Adamic Original Righeousness , which was alone faith alone in Jesus Christ. (Ap art II “On Original Sin”).

    So Lutherans teach that the Image of God is completely absent before Holy Baptism and is fully restored , alone, in Holy Baptism.

    This is precisely why the Lutheran Confessions deliberately restrict the definition of the term Natural Law as being the Divinely Revealed Law that we call conscience (Ap art IV “On Justification”) as being the same identical Divine Law as the Decalog in a different format. And then they draw a bright line against aquinan/aristotelian natural law theories by setting up a new amoral category called “Divine Ordinance” which would include things like the law of gravity and other such laws and most pointedly the sex drive (Ap art XXIII “On priestly celebacy”).

    I would be interested to hear whether or not you believe, teach and confess that the Image of God is “lacking/absent” completely before Baptism because the Image of God is located alone in faith alone in Christ, or if you , as melancthon, calvin and Rome, believe that the Image of God is located in the revelation of the Law and is so merely damaged/obscured but not completely lost.

    Thanks! :)

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Matt Cochran @ 3

    The Roman Catholic reviewer of that book you wrote an essay for: “Natural Law, a “Lutheran ” Reappraisal” says this:

    God´s Law is written in two ways and two places: Not only in the words of revelation, but in our being, for we are made in God´s Image. For a long time, many christians neglected or even denied this insight because of the mistaken idea that if the image of God can be obscured by sin, then for all practical purposes there is no natural law. How ironic, and how deadly to our common witness, that this common ground among all human beingl this universal prologue to the Gospel, should have become a battleground among christians themselves. Catholic myself, I rejoice to see the rekindling of reflection on natural law among Lutherans, and I look forward to many interesting conversations” J. Budziszewski, Professor of Govt and Philosophy, University of Texas at Austin.

    This is exactly what is wrong with “natural law” defined by Rome and Calvin and late Melancthon:

    Our Lutheran Confessions say that the Image of God is COMPLETELY absent and lacking . This is the Lutheran definition of Original Sin in fact. The Confessions locate the Image of God as being nothing other than Adamic Original Righeousness , which was alone faith alone in Jesus Christ. (Ap art II “On Original Sin”).

    So Lutherans teach that the Image of God is completely absent before Holy Baptism and is fully restored , alone, in Holy Baptism.

    This is precisely why the Lutheran Confessions deliberately restrict the definition of the term Natural Law as being the Divinely Revealed Law that we call conscience (Ap art IV “On Justification”) as being the same identical Divine Law as the Decalog in a different format. And then they draw a bright line against aquinan/aristotelian natural law theories by setting up a new amoral category called “Divine Ordinance” which would include things like the law of gravity and other such laws and most pointedly the sex drive (Ap art XXIII “On priestly celebacy”).

    I would be interested to hear whether or not you believe, teach and confess that the Image of God is “lacking/absent” completely before Baptism because the Image of God is located alone in faith alone in Christ, or if you , as melancthon, calvin and Rome, believe that the Image of God is located in the revelation of the Law and is so merely damaged/obscured but not completely lost.

    Thanks! :)

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    Dr. Veith,

    My perception comes from my own interactions with Lutherans rather than a survey of prominent figures in apologetics. In my opinion, the tendency is for Lutheran pastors and theologians to fall somewhere between lukewarm and hostile when it comes to apologetics. I could be a victim of sampling bias here, but I don’t get that sense from other Christian traditions.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    Dr. Veith,

    My perception comes from my own interactions with Lutherans rather than a survey of prominent figures in apologetics. In my opinion, the tendency is for Lutheran pastors and theologians to fall somewhere between lukewarm and hostile when it comes to apologetics. I could be a victim of sampling bias here, but I don’t get that sense from other Christian traditions.

  • Booklover

    Of all the books on apologetics in my library, John Warwick Montgomery’s *Tractatus Logico-Theologicus* is my favorite. (Don’t let the title scare you.) He begins with seven major propositions, and delineates and answers every single possible argument pertaining to each one in an admirably organized manner. The important thing is, he does it with Wit and Warmth. He is highly intelligent, yet even I understand him. Others write dry apologetic books. Why would you fight for the Saviour of the World in a dry and boring manner?

    Craig Parton’s *The Defense Never Rests* delivers an interesting apologetic for the Christian faith, while providing a critique of much of American Christianity. He does it with a personal story of captivating interest.

    Dr. Veith’s *The Spirituality of the Cross* is a self-described plan to “lay out what Lutheran spirituality is;” I think it provides an excellent apologetic for our Christian faith.

  • Booklover

    Of all the books on apologetics in my library, John Warwick Montgomery’s *Tractatus Logico-Theologicus* is my favorite. (Don’t let the title scare you.) He begins with seven major propositions, and delineates and answers every single possible argument pertaining to each one in an admirably organized manner. The important thing is, he does it with Wit and Warmth. He is highly intelligent, yet even I understand him. Others write dry apologetic books. Why would you fight for the Saviour of the World in a dry and boring manner?

    Craig Parton’s *The Defense Never Rests* delivers an interesting apologetic for the Christian faith, while providing a critique of much of American Christianity. He does it with a personal story of captivating interest.

    Dr. Veith’s *The Spirituality of the Cross* is a self-described plan to “lay out what Lutheran spirituality is;” I think it provides an excellent apologetic for our Christian faith.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    You can put me in the category of folks who don´t get excited about apologetics.

    I think it is because most apologetics assume that the Image of God is not entirely lost in mankind.

    So the result of that is that it is imagined that there are arguments, apart from alone faith and alone christ that can help people know God and not hate him and stop fleeing from his judgement.

    1) a practical example: How would you do “apologetics” to a homosexual? The apologetic approach to homosexuals would be a Law one that would first require, before going to the Gospel, that that person see himself as “objectively disordered”. This is in the calvin/roman sense that we inform him that he has the Image of God in him, and that the part of that Image that is damaged by the sin of homosexuality needs to be repaired to have Original Righeousness restore in him in his baptism.

    Since both Calvinists and Rome believe that the Image of God is revealed in the Law, therefore restoring the Image of God is for one to become re-conditioned to conform to the Law that reveals God´s Image. So this apologetics approach, based on the aristotelian “natural law ” of St Thomas Aquinas would drive that person to dispair most likely or entrench him in some sort of pharisaism and trust in his own inate goodness and ability to love.

    Since Lutherans believe that the Image of God is alone faith in christ alone , which was Adam´s Original Righeousness, Lutherans would take a different approach.

    We would make that homosexual see that even if he could straighten up, he would still be condemned by the Law of God because he has a heart that does not have Faith in Christ but rather looks to his own works as a propitiation to God. And so even if that man or woman was not able to acknowledge their sexual or other sinning as sin, we could still tell them that the Image of God would be restored to them in Holy Baptism , or invite them to return to that Image that was given them in their Baptism in the form of trust in Christ alone. We would urge them to trust Christ alone.

    2) Faith: Often apologists miss the fact that convincing someone that jesus rose from the dead on the third day, and that all the historical facts of the bible are true is to convince someone only of what all the devils know and also believe to be true.

    In fact, this is an important Roman catholic argument as to why we cannot be saved by “faith” alone. When rome thinks of “faith”, they think of this “historical faith” not understanding that we Lutherans mean something other than this when we say that we are saved by “faith alone”.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    You can put me in the category of folks who don´t get excited about apologetics.

    I think it is because most apologetics assume that the Image of God is not entirely lost in mankind.

    So the result of that is that it is imagined that there are arguments, apart from alone faith and alone christ that can help people know God and not hate him and stop fleeing from his judgement.

    1) a practical example: How would you do “apologetics” to a homosexual? The apologetic approach to homosexuals would be a Law one that would first require, before going to the Gospel, that that person see himself as “objectively disordered”. This is in the calvin/roman sense that we inform him that he has the Image of God in him, and that the part of that Image that is damaged by the sin of homosexuality needs to be repaired to have Original Righeousness restore in him in his baptism.

    Since both Calvinists and Rome believe that the Image of God is revealed in the Law, therefore restoring the Image of God is for one to become re-conditioned to conform to the Law that reveals God´s Image. So this apologetics approach, based on the aristotelian “natural law ” of St Thomas Aquinas would drive that person to dispair most likely or entrench him in some sort of pharisaism and trust in his own inate goodness and ability to love.

    Since Lutherans believe that the Image of God is alone faith in christ alone , which was Adam´s Original Righeousness, Lutherans would take a different approach.

    We would make that homosexual see that even if he could straighten up, he would still be condemned by the Law of God because he has a heart that does not have Faith in Christ but rather looks to his own works as a propitiation to God. And so even if that man or woman was not able to acknowledge their sexual or other sinning as sin, we could still tell them that the Image of God would be restored to them in Holy Baptism , or invite them to return to that Image that was given them in their Baptism in the form of trust in Christ alone. We would urge them to trust Christ alone.

    2) Faith: Often apologists miss the fact that convincing someone that jesus rose from the dead on the third day, and that all the historical facts of the bible are true is to convince someone only of what all the devils know and also believe to be true.

    In fact, this is an important Roman catholic argument as to why we cannot be saved by “faith” alone. When rome thinks of “faith”, they think of this “historical faith” not understanding that we Lutherans mean something other than this when we say that we are saved by “faith alone”.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    fws @ 15

    The Lutheran Confessions teach that God cannot become an object of Love until a person first has the Image of God , which is faith alone in christ alone restored in Holy Baptism.

    This is because Reason is ONLY able to see the Law. And the confessions teach this about the Law:

    “The Law ALWAYS accuses!” Always always always … accuses. This is why we confess that ALL unbaptized persons hate God and flee from his judgement.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    fws @ 15

    The Lutheran Confessions teach that God cannot become an object of Love until a person first has the Image of God , which is faith alone in christ alone restored in Holy Baptism.

    This is because Reason is ONLY able to see the Law. And the confessions teach this about the Law:

    “The Law ALWAYS accuses!” Always always always … accuses. This is why we confess that ALL unbaptized persons hate God and flee from his judgement.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Kind of surprised to hear Greg Smith’s complaint. Dr. Rosenbladt who studied under John Warwick Montgomery, who Vieth rightly points out is the most influencial apologist today, has been teaching apologetics at Concordia Irvine for decades now. Dr. Marquart used to teach a class on it at Ft. Wayne. Apologetic themes are also a constant on Issues etc, handled often by professors.
    The Wanderlust in my veins is getting very anxious to go somewhere. I have wanted to go to this for a long time. Just can’t get it worked out. It’s more a timing problem for me at this point.
    As for typical complaints about Lutherans not getting excited about apologetics, it is typically because they get a second rate exposure to it, from the reformed camp, and then leave it all alone. Most of the theologians of the Orthodox period devoted much time to apologetics. Antithesis to apologetics is really a hangover from the pietist era.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Kind of surprised to hear Greg Smith’s complaint. Dr. Rosenbladt who studied under John Warwick Montgomery, who Vieth rightly points out is the most influencial apologist today, has been teaching apologetics at Concordia Irvine for decades now. Dr. Marquart used to teach a class on it at Ft. Wayne. Apologetic themes are also a constant on Issues etc, handled often by professors.
    The Wanderlust in my veins is getting very anxious to go somewhere. I have wanted to go to this for a long time. Just can’t get it worked out. It’s more a timing problem for me at this point.
    As for typical complaints about Lutherans not getting excited about apologetics, it is typically because they get a second rate exposure to it, from the reformed camp, and then leave it all alone. Most of the theologians of the Orthodox period devoted much time to apologetics. Antithesis to apologetics is really a hangover from the pietist era.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    Frank @ 12,

    Gee, why do I feel like I’m being asked whether I am now or have ever been a member of the Communist Party? Not exactly the thing I like to be subjected to out of the blue when I’m publicly commenting on something completely unrelated.

    In answer to your question: You severely confuse the issue by glossing over a difference in terminology between various traditions. The Lutheran confessions are rather unique in using “the image of God” specifically to mean no more or less than original righteousness. Indeed, much of the classical Christian tradition has used the term to describe a kind of relatedness between God and human nature. Some folks, like the scholastics, bundled the two ideas together.

    In his endorsement, Dr. Budziszewski is talking about God-created human nature, which, as FC1 points out, is not obliterated by the Fall and is easily distinguished from original sin. You’d have to ask him whether he bundles original righteousness along with that, but I see no reason to presume it.

    Likewise, when the Confessions talk about the image of God, they mean only original righteousness and are therefore saying absolutely nothing about natural law or any ethics based upon it except that such cannot save. Why nothing? Because original righteousness was granted to Adam at creation and restored to us in Baptism completely independently from any works of the law.

    Therefore:
    1) I “believe, teach, and confess” that man’s original righteousness has been completely obliterated by the Fall.
    2) I “believe, teach, and confess,” along with our confessions, that God-designed human nature has not been completely obliterated (just completely corrupted in us).
    3) I “believe, teach, and confess” that different terms mean different things in different contexts and that assuming everybody uses Lutheran lingo–especially when they explicitly identify themselves as non-Lutheran in the very thing you’re quoting–is foolish.

    That said, I’ll stop talking about me and start talking about apologetics.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    Frank @ 12,

    Gee, why do I feel like I’m being asked whether I am now or have ever been a member of the Communist Party? Not exactly the thing I like to be subjected to out of the blue when I’m publicly commenting on something completely unrelated.

    In answer to your question: You severely confuse the issue by glossing over a difference in terminology between various traditions. The Lutheran confessions are rather unique in using “the image of God” specifically to mean no more or less than original righteousness. Indeed, much of the classical Christian tradition has used the term to describe a kind of relatedness between God and human nature. Some folks, like the scholastics, bundled the two ideas together.

    In his endorsement, Dr. Budziszewski is talking about God-created human nature, which, as FC1 points out, is not obliterated by the Fall and is easily distinguished from original sin. You’d have to ask him whether he bundles original righteousness along with that, but I see no reason to presume it.

    Likewise, when the Confessions talk about the image of God, they mean only original righteousness and are therefore saying absolutely nothing about natural law or any ethics based upon it except that such cannot save. Why nothing? Because original righteousness was granted to Adam at creation and restored to us in Baptism completely independently from any works of the law.

    Therefore:
    1) I “believe, teach, and confess” that man’s original righteousness has been completely obliterated by the Fall.
    2) I “believe, teach, and confess,” along with our confessions, that God-designed human nature has not been completely obliterated (just completely corrupted in us).
    3) I “believe, teach, and confess” that different terms mean different things in different contexts and that assuming everybody uses Lutheran lingo–especially when they explicitly identify themselves as non-Lutheran in the very thing you’re quoting–is foolish.

    That said, I’ll stop talking about me and start talking about apologetics.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Maybe I’m missing something, but I never thought that anyone (hmm … at least not any reasonable Lutherans, let’s say?) believed that apologetics would create faith. Of course, since apologetics is nothing more than an expounding of God’s Word, I don’t see why anyone would find it a useless area, either. Can God work through the words of an apologetic to create faith? If not, we’re all in a world of hurt, no? But do let me make clear that such would involve God working, and not any particular series of logical arguments.

    Still, I think there’s something to be said in attempting to remove seemingly logical arguments against belief. Namely, the revealing of unbelief for what it truly is. I think once that’s done, apologetics is no longer useful, as such.

    I’m not sure if that’s what other people think about apologetics (I have to admit, as a lay Lutheran, it’s not something I’ve heard much about, and the only book I have on it is an unread, used copy of Evidence That Demands a Verdict), but that’s how I see it. I’m reminded of some very dear friends of mine, who are not believers. They don’t offer up arguments or justifications. When I’ve asked them before what they think Christianity is about, they’ve given a better answer than many Christians do. They simply … don’t believe. I see little need to “use” apologetics on them. Prayer, on the other hand …

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Maybe I’m missing something, but I never thought that anyone (hmm … at least not any reasonable Lutherans, let’s say?) believed that apologetics would create faith. Of course, since apologetics is nothing more than an expounding of God’s Word, I don’t see why anyone would find it a useless area, either. Can God work through the words of an apologetic to create faith? If not, we’re all in a world of hurt, no? But do let me make clear that such would involve God working, and not any particular series of logical arguments.

    Still, I think there’s something to be said in attempting to remove seemingly logical arguments against belief. Namely, the revealing of unbelief for what it truly is. I think once that’s done, apologetics is no longer useful, as such.

    I’m not sure if that’s what other people think about apologetics (I have to admit, as a lay Lutheran, it’s not something I’ve heard much about, and the only book I have on it is an unread, used copy of Evidence That Demands a Verdict), but that’s how I see it. I’m reminded of some very dear friends of mine, who are not believers. They don’t offer up arguments or justifications. When I’ve asked them before what they think Christianity is about, they’ve given a better answer than many Christians do. They simply … don’t believe. I see little need to “use” apologetics on them. Prayer, on the other hand …

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