There are a lot of ways to “do” apologetics, but from my perspective far too many of the books and educational programs focus on winning debates rather than winning souls for Christ. My friend Paula summarizes this concern well when she writes,
My concern is that apologetics, which is by nature a rational sharing of information, has become for some an emotional tool of conflict creating a divide rather than reconciliation.
So what then is good apologetics? For me, it has to be incarnational. I define it like this;
Incarnational Apologetics is not to convince others that the Church is “relevant” NOR to persuade them of the truth.
Incarnational Apologetics is our Divine-mission to remove false-shelters that keep God’s Lost children from a personal encounter with the Spirit of Jesus Christ and knowing Him as the Way, the Truth and the Life!
If you want to dig in deeper, then I encourage you to watch my series of 10 minute videos on my YouTube playlist.
I stood in the checkout line at my local All-Natural Grocery with my lunch in hand—fresh sushi with a bottle of water. I patiently waited for my turn with the cashier when I heard a young woman behind me say with incredulity, “How can you miss a baby you never knew?” She was referring to the most recent cover of People Magazine that features a teenage couple who gave up their baby for adoption. I turned to see a woman in her late-teens or early 20’s with a man of the same age. My curiosity was piqued as they engaged in a conversation that would impact me beyond imagination.
The young man responded to her, “Wouldn’t you miss it if someone cut off a part of your body?”
“What do you mean a part of ‘my body’?” she replied with a confused look. I tried not to stare, but at this point I was fully engaged in their conversation… I could not help myself.
The young man put his hands to his stomach an said, “I mean, the baby is inside her for all that time, of course she will miss it just like anyone would miss a part of their body when it is cut off.”
“The baby is not a part of my body.” she said with some frustration, “it is more like a parasite than a body part.” She continued to explain herself to him, “The baby eats everything I eat and can’t live outside my body. That is just like a parasite.”
The young man did not pause for a second before agreeing, “You are right, a baby is a parasite, it is just that people often form emotional attachments to their parasites. Some people even feed their tapeworms.”
My gut reaction was to turn and say, “I am sure you still live at home and your parents feel the same way about you; living in their house and eating from their fridge like a parasite.” You will be glad to know that I did not say anything to the couple, but my mind began to process the truly horrific implications of the beliefs held by these people. In their Naturalistic worldview, a baby is the same as a tick, a mite, or even a tapeworm—a meaningless “life”-form that the host can choose to love or hate; nurture or annihilate.
I could write a volume about the conversation I overheard; the philosophy that undergirds it, the politics that enshrine it, and the culture that celebrates it, but today I only want to make one simple observation.
This story of my experience at the grocery store illustrates precisely what I have been teaching about Faith in Politics; the Abortion laws in America (and in Europe) are rooted in a philosophy that will not change by passing a new law. Even if abortion were outlawed tomorrow, this couple would still have no regard for the Divine-beauty of human life because they have no regard for the Divine.
The worldview expressed by this young couple is the same for all those who chant the mantra of “Pro-Choice.” To those who support such laws, a baby is simply a meaningless blob of inconvenient DNA and killing it has no meaning beyond the woman’s “right” to choose.
The Evolutionary-Narcissim reflected in our national’s Abortion laws will not change with the stroke of a President’s pen, it will only change by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit who alone can bring the conviction of sin, the righteousness of Christ and a genuine love for human life created in the image of YHWH.
Hi. My name is Dr. Joe Miller and in this series of the ten minute teacher I want to help you discern key facets for contemporary Apologetics and develop a solid foundation for a Christian Worldview in our post-modern age. In this inaugural episode, I define the most important concept of Incarnational Apologetics and why it is essential to your daily life of discipleship.
Lately, I have been witness to a lot of debates between Christians who seem all to willing to condemn other Christians for adhering to a different system of theology. Folks like Ed Stetzer have observed this trend of bitterness among the New Calvinists (aka young, angry and reformed). I do not imagine I will resolve the Calvinist vs. Arminian debate on my blog, but I thought my friend George Somsel had an interesting perspective so I asked him to share some of his thoughts.
Read what George has to say and let me know what you think of his approach.
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ …
The message of the earliest church which we find in the gospels and in the rest of the New Testament is a call to “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.” Throughout the history of the Church there has been continual controversy regarding doctrine with the question being “What must be believed.” Those who can muster the greatest number of adherents then anathematize those with whom they disagree and exclude them from the church. Those who know me know that I would be one of the last to say that there is no correct view of God and his relationship to his creation, but the question is “Is mental assent to certain theological views what it means to ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ’”?
One of the earliest controversies in the Church was regarding a view which had arisen in both Judaism and Christianity known as Gnosticism. The gnostic party maintained that what was necessary was for man to have a right conception of cosmology and man’s place in it. The gnostic view of salvation is that of remembrance of what one truly is. Notice some excerpts from the Hymn of the Pearl.
When, a quite little child, I was dwelling In the House of my Father’s Kingdom,
And in the wealth and the glories
Of my Up-bringers I was delighting,
From the East, our Home, my Parents
Forth-sent me with journey-provision.
Indeed from the wealth of our Treasure,
They bound up for me a load.
Large was it, yet was it so light
That all alone I could bear it.
Straightway I went to the Serpent;
Near to his lodging I settled,
To take away my Pearl
While he should sleep and should slumber.
I forgot that I was a King’s son,
And became a slave to their king.
I forgot all concerning the Pearl
For which my Parents had sent me;
And from the weight of their victuals
I sank down into a deep sleep.
And for me they wrote out a Letter;
And to it each Noble his Name set:
“Remember that thou art a King’s son;
See whom thou hast served in thy slavedom.
Bethink thyself of the Pearl
For which thou didst journey to Egypt.
I remembered that I was a King’s son,
And my rank did long for its nature.
I bethought me again of the Pearl,
For which I was sent down to Egypt.
The Hymn of Judas Thomas the Apostle in the country of the Indians Translated by G.R.S. Mead
There were many forms of Gnosticism, but all had in common that one’s intellectual conception was the determining factor. While Gnosticism as a system died out, much of the Church can yet today be considered gnostic. When we separate ourselves from others who profess to place their trust in Jesus Christ because of disagreement over some particular doctrine, we reveal gnostic tendencies. The question arises as to which view of reality is correct (or conforms most completely to the scriptures).
How much conformity to True Doctrine is to be considered sufficient or are there certain points which are sine qua non?
If one is a follower of Arminius, are Calvinists correct to anathematize him?
If one adopts higher critical views of scripture, are those who accept “verbal plenary inspiration” correct to anathematize him?
Does one’s relationship to God depend upon having the right thoughts? Is that what was meant by the call to “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ”?