Kevin’s Conversations: Giving A Defense or Creating An Offense?

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56 Responses

  1. Michael says:

    I’m almost done with internet media.
    Back in the ’90’s when I first got online you could learn a tremendous amount from people who were accredited experts in their fields.
    You had to have a lot of humility and take the time to do actual reading, but those investments were rewarded by interaction and instruction from wonderful professors who saw what this media could accomplish.
    Now, with the help of Wikipedia and Google,everybody is an instant expert.
    Nobody wants to be taught, everyone wants to pontificate, and the ignorance level has climbed to heights previously unknown in western civilization.
    Most communication has been reduced to the civility and grace of a bar fight.
    What I once believed would change the world for good with real knowledge for no cost (other than time) has become a intellectual wasteland.
    I feel like we’ve all been robbed, but we invited the criminals in because we thought we could take them.
    I won’t even begin to comment on the cost to personal and corporate holiness that keyboards have afforded us…everyone who disagrees with the insights we picked up via Wiki and Google is either stupid or evil or both.
    I thank God I got in early and ask forgiveness for staying late.
    Well done, Kevin…

  2. Dallas says:

    Sometimes one of the biggest obstacles to a good apologetic is simply the ability to project a life to the world that has hope.

  3. Em ... again says:

    Dallas, you said a mouthful!

  4. Michael says:

    Dallas,

    Hope is very hard to find amidst the demolition derby that is our current discourse.
    Trying to think through what can be done about that…

  5. Dallas says:

    Philippians 4 seems like a treasure trove for strategizing on spreading hope.

    “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.”

    “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

  6. Al says:

    Actually, the Internet and access to information is very Populist.

    You actually express an Elitist philosophy.

    It’s messy, but it’s good. Better than Thought and “This is YOUR CORRECT BELIEF!” defined for you by a select few Gurus, “Experts”, Sects and Leaders.

    It’s a Brave New World….and I know if makes some nervous, but you ain’t putting that Genie back in the bottle….

  7. Al says:

    “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

    Galatians 5:12 I wish those agitators would go the whole way and CUT THEIR BALLS OFF!

    The bible says one thing, does another, quite often LOL

    Is what it is.

  8. Al says:

    “LOVE your enemies! Turn the other cheek!”

    God nukes his enemies in a fiery hell torturing them for all eternity. Jesus comes back on a White Horse and slaughters his enemies with a sword etc. Samuel hacks unarmed King Agag to pieces with a sword ISIS style in the presence of God and it pleased God, etc.

  9. Al says:

    You guys are the ones who keep telling me the bible is perfect and true.

    OK, I believe you. All of it is true, right?

  10. Michael says:

    Yes, I’m elitist.
    I want my doctor to have graduated from medical school.
    I want to learn from people who have invested the time and work necessary to be real experts in their fields.
    I don’t want every conversation to be reduced to the lowest common denominator of language and reason.
    I don’t want to engage with people who believe every interaction is the opportunity for a brawl.
    This is not how a society survives…it’s how it destroys itself from within.

  11. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Al,
    “OK, I believe you. All of it is true, right?”
    Yes

  12. Michael says:

    Alex,

    Stop.
    No one here has any desire to debate you, nor are they interested in another rehash of your theological views.

  13. Al says:

    “Yes, I’m elitist.
    I want my doctor to have graduated from medical school.
    I want to learn from people who have invested the time and work necessary to be real experts in their fields.”

    Haha, I agree on that point.

    “I don’t want every conversation to be reduced to the lowest common denominator of language and reason.
    I don’t want to engage with people who believe every interaction is the opportunity for a brawl.
    This is not how a society survives…it’s how it destroys itself from within.”

    I disagree on that point. That actually describes what you espouse as “good”…the Canonization Process of picking the bible and the long ugly process of Church History in defining for you what is “orthodox” etc.

    They killed people over that stuff. We rant.

  14. Al says:

    Shut up or I will burn you at the stake 🙂

    JK LOL. Have a good day. I’ll take my ranting elsewhere, but I won’t have anyone burned alive or drowned 😉

  15. Michael says:

    I’m talking about today.
    Hopefully we have learned from our past and we should endeavor to make today and the future better than our past.
    I’m sick and tired of explaining over and over again to my kid that the examples he sees on TV and the internet are not worthy of imitation…that we must strive to be about better things.
    I’m sick and tired of people abusing each other over issues neither side really understands.
    I’m sick and tired of the notion that for one to be “right” everybody else must not only be wrong, but evil and a fool.

    There are going to be real world consequences for all this invective and all the macho posturing…and there will be untold accidental victims of our shallowness and pride.

    It’s wrong and it needs to stop…especially in the church.

  16. Dallas says:

    Galatians 5:12 after quickly (and I do mean quickly) re-familiarizing myself with it seems to fit into the discussion well, even if it does so with strong language. Keep your focus on the hope that you have in Jesus, I wish that anyone that would tempt your focus otherwise would cut their balls off.

    Fits as far as I’m concerned 🙂

  17. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    The Galatians passage shows that women were not in ministry. 🙂

  18. Duane Arnold says:

    Michael

    I think what you long for is the return of courteous civil discourse. It is similar to the advice I would imagine most give in pre-marital counseling – “Yes, you will have disagreements and arguments, but have to learn how to ‘fight fair'”. That is, don’t wantonly seek the hurt the other person… disagree, but do no harm.

    We seemed to have lost this in society at large, in much of the Church, and certainly in the digital world. We simply don’t apply the idea of “doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I’ve been in numerous academic debates and disagreed vehemently with an opponent, but I’ve always tried not to lose my respect for them…

  19. Kevin H says:

    Feels like we’ve been through a few times lately on my articles.

    Strong words and language and actions have their proper place at times. No one is saying they should never be used. Of course Jesus used them at times and there are other examples in the Bible as such.

    But the key is using them at times that are appropriate and without sinning while doing so. Especially in this internet and social media age, we seem to fail at doing this.

  20. Dallas says:

    MLD, it also shows that Paul is probably funnier than we give him credit for.

  21. Michael says:

    Duane,

    Yes to all of that…plus I remember when debates were centered around facts and not just who was the most clever about cursing.
    I can win a cursing contest hands down, but they don’t educate or edify anybody.

    When I first went online I joined a couple theology groups that were populated by academics.
    I thought I was quite knowledgeable about the subject…and I was quickly informed and shown that I was not.

    They didn’t just stomp me down and leave me bleeding and ignorant…they gave me books to read and taught me patiently…they helped me grow in myriad ways.

    Looking back, I could have reacted in humiliation or in humility and by the grace of God I was humble for one of the rare times in my life.

    It has paid off immensely…and I’ve never stopped trying to learn from my bettors since…

  22. Em ... again says:

    #5- when i read Dallas’ comment, what came to mind was, “the joy of the Lord is your strength” … we’ve discussed the difference between happy and joy here before … joy=peaceful mind – happy is a little different

    we have a Book that addresses the human condition… like the human “condition,” it isn’t static nor does one declaration fit all circumstances… we can go to war as members of a citizenry with a good cause, but we can’t murder… not every marriage dissolution frees one to remarry legitimately in God’s eyes, but a few do… the Law set before man in the O.T. is unyielding to our peccadillos, but grace makes an allowance for our circumstances here – an allowance, not a blind eye and that wonderful God-given Book is a masterpiece of prophesy, instruction – edification – and hope of the ultimate resolution of what we’ve done to spoil God’s gift here – the planet still sings, “there is a God”
    we need salvation and the Book confronts denial of that … IMHO

  23. Duane Arnold says:

    It is the difference between “learning” and “posturing”. I always enjoyed the UK tutorial system for that reason. You sit with a senior academic and five or six of your peers. You quickly learn, on numerous occasions, that you are not the smartest person in the room! And that’s a good thing to learn early on – hard to get humility without being humbled a few times. That part of what real learning is all about.

  24. Kevin H says:

    Michael,

    Bettors or betters? If it’s the bettors you’re trying to learn from, I hope you learned enough that you were laying down money on your Vikings so far this season. 🙂

  25. Michael says:

    KevinH,

    The Vikings need to play autocorrect and sack it… 🙂

  26. Al says:

    “You sit with a senior academic and five or six of your peers. You quickly learn, on numerous occasions, that you are not the smartest person in the room! And that’s a good thing to learn early on – hard to get humility without being humbled a few times. That part of what real learning is all about.”

    I need to get in different rooms LOL

  27. Michael says:

    Duane,

    Trust me when I say that my first couple of months online were brutal… 🙂
    I wouldn’t trade that time for the world now…

  28. Dallas says:

    It’s one of the reasons that I love dialogical education, not only can you benefit from how smart I am, but I can benefit from how dumb I am. 😉

  29. Owen says:

    Michael,

    “They didn’t just stomp me down and leave me bleeding and ignorant…they gave me books to read and taught me patiently…they helped me grow in myriad ways.”

    ….This is why I keep coming back here. I’ve not been stomped yet, and I’ve learned plenty.

    Dallas,

    In your #28, I had to refocus my eyes on the screen, I thought you said “diabolical education”….. 😮

  30. Michael says:

    Owen,

    Thank you…we need to do more to both encourage people and help them learn about the faith once delivered.

    I’ve let it slide…but it’s time.

  31. Duane Arnold says:

    Yes to #27 – #29… and we should say that you can even learn from people with whom you might disagree about other matters. For instance, I very much disagree with much of the theology of the late JAT Robinson, but his book on the early dating of the New Testament is pretty fantastic and of great help in apologetics.

  32. Dallas says:

    Owen, you made me double check that I hadn’t made such an epic autocorrect error.

  33. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    So back to apologetics – which method shall we use?
    Evidential?
    Classical?
    Presuppositional?
    Reformed Epistemology?
    Cumulative Method?

    I’ll bet we could fight over that. 😉

  34. Em ... again says:

    well, evidently some of us are presupposed to classically accumulate reformed epistemology…
    home alone with nothing to do … and just sayin’

  35. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Em … that (#34) is quite clever 🙂

  36. Michael says:

    I have little interest in apologetics to be blunt.
    No one has ever been debated into the kingdom.

  37. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Apologetics is nothing more than clearing the rubble (roadblocks) from the path so a traveler can see better where they are going.

    I doubt that when a person in casual conversation says to you, “you know Michael, I just don’t see any evidence that Jesus was a historical person” – that you just walk away with no comment.

    That and the command by Peter to be ready to make just such a defense.

  38. Michael says:

    My guess would be that Peter gave his defense though the Scriptures…which today would be relegated to the category of circular reasoning.
    If someone tells me that they don’t believe that Jesus was a historical person, then that person probably won’t be convinced of the evidence that he was.

    It is the Word alone that has the power to convert…the rest is a large waste of time in most cases.

  39. Em ... again says:

    the real gift is not the ability to engage in esoteric intellectual grappling with your peers, rather it is the ability to take your hard earned knowledge of God’s revealed Truth and feed the sheep – perhaps, there is more to our daily bread than just the physical, although we should expect to be sheltered, clothed and physically sustained also – even if it is, for God’s purposes, just a camel hair tunic and locusts and wild honey – however, most of us aren’t in John the Baptist’s league and need more propping up than just one smock and some sugared bugs…
    sometimes, i confess to being embarrassed at how faithful and merciful God has had to be to me to keep me going…

  40. Kevin H says:

    “It is the Word alone that has the power to convert.” – Yes, but as MLD states, apologetics can clear some of the rubble. Some may need some rubble cleared before they are even willing to hear or read the Word.

  41. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “It is the Word alone that has the power to convert…the rest is a large waste of time in most cases.”

    I fully agree that the word alone converts, but some folks have big roadblocks in their way before they can get to the word. Otherwise street preachers would be the only ones out there doing it right.

    If there is one thing I disagree with the Lutheran Church is their resistance to using apologetics (and we have some pretty good ones – John Warick Montgomery, Craig Parton and Angus Menuge) – but to try and get them into the church is difficult.

  42. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael, as a Calvinist would you lean towards presuppositionalism? That was the Calvinist invention in the apologetics arena.

  43. Michael says:

    MLD,

    To be blunt once again, I don’t lean toward any apologetic method other than living my life out in front of other people.
    If someone wants to know about the faith, I’m more than happy to go through the narrative of God’s work on our behalf.
    If they want to argue, I send them to you. 🙂

    Most “roadblocks” are nothing but sophistry to continue in unbelief…

    I do not believe my faith that a dead man got up and walked and because he did, I will too, really can be explained in rational terms.
    It’s supernatural and a gift from God, not the result of reasoned, objective review of facts.

  44. Michael says:

    Most of the objections I get from my unbelieving friends center around the hypocrisy of Christians and politics.

    My being a Democrat hasn’t converted them either…

  45. Michael says:

    Presuppositional apologetics were the brainchild of Cornelius Van Till…I tried reading Van Till and almost became a Buddhist… 🙂

    His work is so dry…and my faith is not.
    We are expecting floods, so it may finally come in handy…

  46. Michael says:

    MLD,

    You did forget one category of apologetics.
    That is the “end time prophecy proves it’s all true” school…

  47. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I lean towards classical apologetics with a strong leaning towards natural theology.

    However, most unbelievers have been trained to ask for evidences.

    I love presuppositional because it assumes God (and what Christian would not want to argue (make a case) from that point of view? — however, most people you speak to, do not.

  48. Josh the Baptist says:

    While all believers engage in apologetics to some degree, it is difficult to find a very studied apologist that doesn’t have an issue with pride.

    The teenagers that I teach are very interested in apologetics. They are believers and want to see reasoned and biblical answers to some of their friends’ objections. This isn’t as much to win the friend to faith as it is to settle their own. I help them along with that as much as possible, but try to impress upon them three words. “I don’t know.” I try to let them know that it is OK to not have all the answers. Share what they know, but be relieved of the need to know a “Christian” answer for every possible objection in the universe.

  49. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I don’t know for sure, but I would guess that CS Lewis and Peter Kreeft were pretty well studied apologists who didn’t have a more than normal issue with pride.

  50. Josh the Baptist says:

    True for Lewis, though I don’t know of him debating atheists and such. He also claimed that Mere Christianity wasn’t apologetics, so he seemed to want to distance himself from the field somewhat.

    I don’t know much about Kreeft. Anyway, my statement wasn’t universal, just a general observation from the Apologists I’ve encountered.

  51. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I try to get people away from the Josh McDowell type pablum and more into the philosophical side of apologetics.
    CS Lewis – Norman Geisler – and Peter Kreeft fit the mold

    Geisler and Kreeft are heavy into Thomas Aquinas. Kreeft is a Roman Catholic.

  52. Josh the Baptist says:

    Mcdowell was amazing early on. I’ve watched an old video of him debating a muslim scholar, and he was fantastic. Obviously, his biggest books were written for a popular audience, but seemed to strike a chord for a lot of people. For some reason I think of Geisler and Mcdowell in the same vein. Maybe just because they are at a lot of the same conferences.

    My favorite from way back in church history would be Anselm of Canterbury. I like Aquinas too.

  53. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I really should have been critical of McDowell’s stuff – I was thinking the way others present his material.

    The difference between Geisler and McDowell is McDowell leads with the evidences and Geisler does not bring in the evidence until he has made the philosophical case first

  54. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I really should not have been critical of McDowell’s stuff – I was thinking the way others present his material.

    The difference between Geisler and McDowell is McDowell leads with the evidences and Geisler does not bring in the evidence until he has made the philosophical case first

  55. Josh the Baptist says:

    To be fair, I’ve never read McDowell, only watched the 1981 debate against Amad Deedhat.

    My 13 year old daughter loves Evidence that demands a verdict. She also loves Lee Strobel, who I can’t stomach.

  56. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    You should get her to watch Sean McDowell (Josh’s son) – he does a good job witht e younger crowd. Many youtube videos

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