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Evidentialism and Reformed Epistemology

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james b

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The place and worth of apologetics
« on: November 03, 2007, 05:47:09 pm »
Hi Guys,

   

   Given the kinds of things we often bang on about on this forum, it seems like a fairly fundamental question to ask.  But I was wondering what you guys saw as the main point of apologetics.

   

   Is it a way of opening people up to the gospel?  Or of bolstering the faith of Christians who struggle with doubt?  Or of testing and refining our thinking about the world around us?  Or all the abive?  I tend to see it as a plus if you achieve no more than showing someone they don't have to surrender their intellect to turn to Christ.

   

   James.

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Fianchetto

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The place and worth of apologetics
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2007, 06:45:17 pm »
Those are all fine answers. Dr. Craig spoken about this question in an audio file called "Christian Apologetics: Who needs it?" It's on the audio/visual page.

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Harvey

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The place and worth of apologetics
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2007, 07:42:22 am »
Most of what goes by apologetics is meant to keep conservative Christians from leaving the faith. It's not really convincing to someone who is trained in science, philosophy, and skeptical responses to religious beliefs. However, as you move from the popular writings on apologetics to the philosophical discourse, then apologetics takes on a different tone.

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Ryan Blood

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The place and worth of apologetics
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2007, 08:25:32 am »

I think it all depends. Certainly having been a very nominal Christian indeed (to the extent that in all fairness I would  be far more accurately labeled a deist) apologetics awoke my from my "dogmatic slumbers" however the problem with apologetics is that for every good, intellectually honest apologist like Dr. Craig there are God only knows how many good ones. Personally I think when apologetics is used properly and seriously it has 1000 uses, when its used poorly without intellectual honesty it has only one and thats eventually turning people away from Christ


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Ryan Blood

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The place and worth of apologetics
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2007, 08:26:33 am »

Replace "good ones" with "poor ones"


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Cross.eyed

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The place and worth of apologetics
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2007, 10:13:14 am »
Col 4:6 and 1Pet 3:15sMa4a

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Cross.eyed

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The place and worth of apologetics
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2007, 10:19:04 am »
Um, skip the sMa4a stuff-I'm having trouble posting with the sec. letters-is anyone else?

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demurph

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The place and worth of apologetics
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2007, 01:19:49 pm »

james b wrote: Hi Guys,

Given the kinds of things we often bang on about on this forum, it seems like a fairly fundamental question to ask. But I was wondering what you guys saw as the main point of apologetics.

Is it a way of opening people up to the gospel? Or of bolstering the faith of Christians who struggle with doubt? Or of testing and refining our thinking about the world around us? Or all the abive? I tend to see it as a plus if you achieve no more than showing someone they don't have to surrender their intellect to turn to Christ.

    As of late, I've been questioning the value of "apologetics" as a whole.  Most of the people within the church that go in for it tend to already have philosophical inclinations and could just read non-apologetic phil of religion stuff from Christian philosophers, which tend to be more thorough and fleshed out in their ideas.  Other people in the church, I've noticed, don't really pay all that much attention to it at all.  Fideism is alive and well in most evangelical minds, so they feel they don't need it.  And, as harvey1 said, most of the stuff that counts as apologetics these day would never convince most non-believers.  So, why do we need apologetics?  At the very least, why do we need so much apologetics (especially when, as someone else pointed out, so many of these apologists aren't very intellectually honest)?


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Luke Martin

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The place and worth of apologetics
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2007, 01:24:11 pm »

Well, as Bill Craig always points out when he talks about this, one value of (good) apologetics is that, even if it doesn't convince most people, it helps to create an intellectual milieu against which the gospel can be heard in a more receptive light.


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james b

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The place and worth of apologetics
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2007, 03:19:37 pm »
Col 4:6 and 1Pet 3:15

   

   Personally, I've always found 1 Peter 3:15 a pretty poor proof text for apologetics.  It seems to me that the context here (as elsewhere in 1 Peter) is that of suffering graciously -- and even happily -- especially when it's not us who are at fault.

   

   As Christians, we suffer now 'for a little while, if need be' (1:6)  Why?  So that our faith 'might be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ' (1:7).  We're therefore to bear our suffering in the same way Christ bore his.  'For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps' (2:21).  Specifically, we're not 'to return evil for evil, but to give a blessing instead' (3:8-9).  For 'if we suffer for the sake of righteousness, we are blessed'  (3:14).

   

   Rather than being intimidated by suffering, then (3:14), we should sanctify Christ in our hearts -- i.e. we should see our handling of suffering as our service to the Lord, and as part of God's will for us (3:15).  We should also be ready to 'give an answer' to anyone who asks us 'for a reason (apologia) for the hope that is in us' (3:15).

   

   What, then, is 'the hope that is in us' (3:15)?  Well, it's not that we happen to know a few decent arguments for God's existence!  It's that we know God personally, and love Him (1:8).  It's that we're called according to his purposes (2:21).  It's that we're achieving the end of our salvation (1:9).

   

   So the reason we have hope whilst we're suffering is because of Christ.  The verse has nothing to do with making a rational defence of the Christian faith, in my opinion.  (And I don't think Colossians 4:6 fares any better either)

   

   James.

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RyanH

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The place and worth of apologetics
« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2008, 08:18:26 am »
I think 1 Peter 3:15 is talking about that a person should know why they are a Christian, which then may include proving that God exists.

I think we have warrant to use apologetics when witnessing because that's how Paul did it.

Like when Paul was dealing with the Philosophers at Athens (Luke 17:16-34), Paul quoted from their own poets: "For we are also His offspring" (v28). Then Paul said (v29), "Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising."

So Paul was using logic to point out that if man is the offspring of God, as the Greek poet suggested, it is foolish to think that God could be nothing more than a man-made idol. In that, he was showing them that there gods don't really exist.

So in our life, if we meet someone who does not believe in God, we can use reason and logic to show the person why God exists. Or if someone belongs to another religion, we can use reason and logic to show why their religion is false.
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Michael Kirley

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The place and worth of apologetics
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2008, 02:37:10 pm »

I'd place apologetics as one of the nobler pursuits of life. We're, at the core, seeking truth, and trying to spread that to others.


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Bill H

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The place and worth of apologetics
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2008, 02:53:42 am »
I agree that apologists are generally good for keeping those that already believe faithful.

   

   They are generally not useful at all in converting though.  I've actively searched for people that think they have answers, and am always disappointed.

   

   Oh, I'm new here.  I'm trying out reasonablefaith.org after being recommended by a friend.  Hello.

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jbejon

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The place and worth of apologetics
« Reply #13 on: December 24, 2008, 05:34:42 am »
Hi Bhig.  Nice to have you around.  I tend to agree with you.  Though I don't think go so far as to say apologetics were "generally not useful at all" in converting people to Christ.

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Tim McGrew

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The place and worth of apologetics
« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2010, 05:37:40 pm »
James,

I disagree. The term απολογιαν has a specific meaning in Greek -- a reasoned defense of the sort that one gives in a court of law -- that doesn't fit well into your exegesis of 1 Peter 3:15.

bhig -- what sort of answers were you looking for?
"Let reason be kept to: and if any part of the Scripture account of the redemption of the world by Christ can be shown to be really contrary to it, let the Scripture, in the name of God, be given up: but let not such poor creatures as we go on objecting against an infinite scheme, that we do not see