Why Apologetics Should Be A Requirement For Every Pastor.

Are you fit to lead the flock? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Imagine you live in the first century and you’re a shepherd. You are leading your flock to the water when lo and behold, you notice a wolf is coming. Being the good shepherd, you approach the wolf and say,

“Greetings friend. Come and let us understand your desires with the flock. Let us sit down and share a meal together. You may come and freely interact with my flock and I will allow you to do so.”

You seem puzzled later on when you notice that you have less sheep than you did before.

Or, picture this scenario.

This time you see the wolf and come up to him and get your rod and begin to chase him away. The flock is safe and the wolf knows to not come by.

Which shepherd is truly the good shepherd?

Now let’s talk about another flock, the church. In the church, there are people of all levels. There are some who are seniors and have been in church all their lives. There are youth who are just now getting to make their faith their own. There are the middle-aged who grew up in the church or have just decided to come to church after becoming parents. With them being parents, there are new children in the church who need someone to look out for them as well until they make their faith their own.

Over them is a man that we call the pastor who is to be a shepherd to the flock.

Now while they’re in the building, they could be safe from various threats, but you, the pastor cannot be a babysitter and watch your flock every day and this is one way the people differ from a literal flock of sheep. However, you can equip them so that they can be prepared. Prepared for what?

Well that twelve year-old boy you have in your audience? He’s going to be on YouTube looking up a favorite Christian song he learned in your church one day and on the side under related videos, he’s going to see something from a group like the Rational Response Squad telling him about all the errors in the Bible and why there is no God. Is that boy prepared if he happens to click that link?

That fifteen year-old boy? Well he’s thinking about getting his driver’s license soon and is already thinking about his freedom. While he’s on his computer, he’s not looking up music. He’s looking for ways to impress his girlfriend when lo and behold, here comes this email inviting him to come to a site so he can “understand” women all the more. Why not? His best buds in school are already starting to talk about their sexual exploits.

See that sixteen year-old girl? Well she’s being given permission to date now and is looking forward to it, but her friends at school are telling her that she needs to sleep with a guy so she can really understand if he loves her or not and hey, don’t worry about pregnancy. As long as he uses a condom it’s okay and if worse comes to worse, you can just get an abortion. Oh it’s not a life. Science has established that. It’s only those bigoted Christians who think that.

How about those eighteen year-olds? They’re graduating and have the whole world ahead of them and are getting ready to go off to college. After a lifetime of Sunday School, they will be put face to face with 25 years of atheism in the form of a professor and all they have is just being told what Jesus has done for them, which the professor will nicely dismiss as a delusion that they grew up with. They need to learn some critical thinking and realize feeling something doesn’t make it so.

How about that middle-aged couple? Their marriage is in trouble right now because he’s considering having an affair. What’s the big deal? If it feels right, do it. He’s just following his heart after all.

That other couple over there? He’s about to be put in a position where he will have to do something unethical at work in order to keep his job. Now sure, it will damage his Christian testimony and his reputation for life, but he has nowhere else to go because the church also has not been a bastion of help for people but has rather chose to focus only on their emotional needs and preaching the same feel-good message for years.

There’s yet another couple. Right now, they’re a bit confused. You see, Jehovah’s Witnesses have been visiting them and they’ve been learning some things that their pastor hasn’t taught them. They’ve learned that the word Trinity isn’t in the Bible and that the Greek scholars really know that John 1:1 doesn’t mean what they think it means. They’ve been invited to the Kingdom Hall and these people are so nice and loving, how can they not be Christians? Besides, who are we to judge?

That elderly woman over there? Her husband just passed away and thankfully, you consoled her through the funeral service but now she’s been watching this guy on TV who’s a preacher and he’s promising her that she will be provided for if she makes a faith donation. Now the church has always supported faith and surely she thinks the pastor will. She just needs to take that social security check she’s going to live on and mail it to this preacher. Surely God will reward her. That’s faith after all. Right?

This is only a start of what is going on in your church at this moment.

And you might not know any of these stories are happening.

It is essential that you learn apologetics for these situations. Why should that boy believe there is a God? Why should he not engage in pornography? Why should a girl not sleep around? As we go through the list we see questions of truth, ethics, the nature of faith, etc. No doubt I’ve only given a small subsection of all the problems that could take place in a church. There are myriads more that can and do happen.

Do you have that rod ready?

Pastor. You need apologetics. Now please understand I am not saying you need to be a specialist, but if you are told about apologetics and you answer “What’s that?” then I firmly believe you have no business leading the flock as you are unprepared to defend them and you’re just setting them up to be eaten by wolves.

I realize you’re a busy guy. You have to do your Bible Study to prepare a sermon as well as your own study for your own edification. You have to have a prayer life. You have to be on call for if a member of your congregation has a 3 A.M. emergency where they call you and need you to visit them at the hospital. You have to attend meetings on all manner of subjects at the church. You have to do counseling. Never mind you also have to have time for your own family be it dating your wife, watching your son’s football games, or attending your daughter’s piano recitals.

You have a busy and important job. I understand that.

Here are just two things to do.

First, get some basics. Once you have those basics, such as starting with the books Lee Strobel has written interviewing leading Christian scholars, then at least get the places where people can go to. Give them resources online and offline they can check out for information. This is assuming you don’t make this a specialist area. If you do, God bless you. If not, that’s fine. Not everyone can do that and God bless you as well, but know the basics.

Second, if you really can’t specialize here, then make sure you know someone who does. I think it would be great if every congregation had an apologetics go-to guy. You need someone who knows the information or knows the very best place to get the information. We have ministers of music and youth ministers and such today. It will be a blessed day in the church when congregations also set up ministers of apologetics.

Now suppose you reject this advice. You just want to give them the Bible alone.

Well when they get their Bible attacked and all they have to retreat to is a feeling, we’ll have several Christians that if they keep their faith even, will be of no use because they will not speak out about it and will not act on it out of sheer fear of the world around them. They will form a bifurcation between their faith and the way they live their lives and never shall the two meet. You’ll pretty much simply have a mutual support group that will be able to do nothing to win people over to Jesus Christ.

And when your congregation eventually dies from old age, that church will die with it.

This is a new age where people need more than “The Bible Says So” and “I feel Jesus in my heart.” If we were going to go on a mission to a foreign country, we would seek to learn the language and the culture of that country. Why is it that when we evangelize our neighbor who thinks differently than we do, we don’t seek to understand his language and culture? You need to know how to evangelize the man in China if you wish to speak to him. You need to know how to evangelize your next-door neighbor if you wish to speak to him and both can involve entering another culture.

Now if your opinion is along the lines of “Well I never” then you need to get rid of that pride. Having a strong feeling that you should preach is not reason enough that you should preach. If you think it is, then you’re in for a world of hurt when the Mormons visit your flock and they develop a strong feeling that the Book of Mormon is true. Be willing to humble yourself and learn about the defense of your flock. Their very souls could be on the line and you will be judged one day for how you lead them. You can complain here, but before God, there are no excuses.

Be prepared for the wolves, and then prepare your flock.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

About these ads

Tags:

41 Responses to “Why Apologetics Should Be A Requirement For Every Pastor.”

  1. Why Apologetics Should Be A Requirement For Every Pastor « Ratio Christi-At The Ohio State University Says:

    [...] Are you fit to lead the flock? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters. [...]

  2. 21st Century Scholastic Says:

    Memorable, very well-written post. Every pastor should read it.

  3. apologianick Says:

    Thanks!

  4. np Says:

    Hi brother,

    I must respectfully disagree with you here. Allow me first to issue a few disclaimers:

    -> Personally, I have a huge heart for apologetics. I don’t despise it. God used it to bring me into a secure faith in my teenage years. I set up an apologetics website to respond to my friends when I wasn’t even able to drive.

    -> Theologically, I disagree with those who say it’s irrelevant. I’ve heard it said before that apologetics is the product of modernity, and those of us in a post-modern age should discount it. I don’t agree. I still think there’s great utility in responding to objections.

    -> Academically, I am not an anti-intellectualist. I am about to finish my doctorate in Christian theology. I think studying and thinking and debating and responding, they’re all good things.

    However, I disagree with your conclusions here. For several reasons.

    Foundationally, we must concede that Apologetics is NOT a biblical discipline. There’s no office of apologist, there are no listed qualifications for apologists, there’s no apologetic ‘gift’ of the Spirit. There are only those who we have identified in the NT as behaving ‘apologetically’. But that’s not the same as identifying an exegetical foundation for a self-sustained discipline. The passages we have identified as key apologetical directives (1 Peter 3:15, 2 Cor 10:5, Jude 1:3) are not capable of sustaining the weight that we have placed upon them.

    As for 1 Peter 3:15 – Peter is talking about the conduct of martyrs; as for 2 Cor 10:5 – Paul is talking about opponents within the Church; as for Jude 1:3 – Jude is talking about the preservation of believers in the faith.

    NONE of these constitute what we have said they constitute – namely, the biblical foundation for a discipline we have called ‘Apologetics’.

    Why is this relevant? Because, brother, you are saying that the Shepherds of Christ’s Church NEED – they are literally REQUIRED – to study this discipline. But again, there is no biblical support for your exhortation. The qualifications for elders say nothing about apologetics; they are to be capable teachers, but it would be a huge exegetical stretch to shoehorn apologetics (as we now know it) into this command.

    Now, I’m sure you and I love this discipline. I’m sure we can both testify that it has done a lot of good for us, and we may even have stories about how it has blessed those around us. Praise God. But that would *not* be sufficient justification for the burden you have placed on pastors here.

    Here’s where I think you get it completely and utterly right:
    — “I think it would be great if every congregation had an apologetics go-to guy. You need someone who knows the information or knows the very best place to get the information”

    This is spot on. The body of Christ is such that it is varied, and possesses a plurality of giftings. But in this statement you have jettisoned your argument; as long as a pastor has someone to whom he can refer people who have questions, there is literally no *requirement* for him to do apologetics. He is free to do other things, if he wishes. Equally, he is free to study apologetics, if he wishes.

    But your argument would destroy that Pastor’s freedom, brother. Your argument would have him shackled to an esoteric pseudo-discipline, one that does not enjoy Biblical foundation.

    The fruits of this are self-evident within the apologetics community. We have rallied around ‘Apologetics’ as our cause, and developed a martyr complex. We think we’re being ignored, that our passions are being suppressed. “If only”, we say to ourselves, “they knew what I know then our problems would be over”. “If only”, we continue, “the rest of the Church read X and Y and Z, if only there were professional apologists, if only the Church recognised us, if only the leaders were like us”.

    They’re not, brother. And they don’t have to be. Become a servant of the Church in your gift. Don’t force the rest of the Church to conform to it. You’d only be ruining the very liberty that apologists seek to extol.

    In Christ, with much love,

    NP.

  5. apologianick Says:

    NP: Hi brother,

    I must respectfully disagree with you here. Allow me first to issue a few disclaimers:

    -> Personally, I have a huge heart for apologetics. I don’t despise it. God used it to bring me into a secure faith in my teenage years. I set up an apologetics website to respond to my friends when I wasn’t even able to drive.

    Reply: Correct here. Apologetics is extremely important.

    NP:-> Theologically, I disagree with those who say it’s irrelevant. I’ve heard it said before that apologetics is the product of modernity, and those of us in a post-modern age should discount it. I don’t agree. I still think there’s great utility in responding to objections.

    Reply: One simply need to read Dulles’s work on a history of Christian apologetics. Apologetics goes back to the OT even. Moses was engaging in apologetics.

    NP: -> Academically, I am not an anti-intellectualist. I am about to finish my doctorate in Christian theology. I think studying and thinking and debating and responding, they’re all good things.

    Reply: Correct.

    NP: However, I disagree with your conclusions here. For several reasons.

    Foundationally, we must concede that Apologetics is NOT a biblical discipline.

    Reply: Why should I concede that? Because something is not explicitly mentioned? That’s a fundamentalist approach to Scripture. It’s not one I take.

    NP: There’s no office of apologist, there are no listed qualifications for apologists, there’s no apologetic ‘gift’ of the Spirit.

    Reply: The same could be said for youth ministry or ministry of music or minister of administration. These lists were not exhaustive. Heck. There’s no ministry of soup kitchens or homeless shelters or drug and alcohol recovery.

    NP: There are only those who we have identified in the NT as behaving ‘apologetically’. But that’s not the same as identifying an exegetical foundation for a self-sustained discipline.

    Reply: Yep. All we have is the example of the apostles. Who needs that? The majority of Paul’s epistles would be seen as apologetics for orthodoxy.

    NP: The passages we have identified as key apologetical directives (1 Peter 3:15, 2 Cor 10:5, Jude 1:3) are not capable of sustaining the weight that we have placed upon them.

    As for 1 Peter 3:15 – Peter is talking about the conduct of martyrs;

    Reply: Actually, no. In an honor/shame context, it’s talking about those who do something not expecting anything in return. The passage is not about apologetics, but it is not about martyrdom either.

    NP: as for 2 Cor 10:5 – Paul is talking about opponents within the Church;

    Reply: Paul is talking about demolishing arguments that set themselves up against Christ. Are you saying we should demolish arguments in the church but not outside of it?

    NP: as for Jude 1:3 – Jude is talking about the preservation of believers in the faith.

    Reply: He is talking about contending for the faith actually and how does he do it, by showing why the false teachers are wrong. Apologetics.

    NP: NONE of these constitute what we have said they constitute – namely, the biblical foundation for a discipline we have called ‘Apologetics’.

    Reply: None of them need to. In a high-context society, it would have been a given when sharing a new faith.

    NP: Why is this relevant? Because, brother, you are saying that the Shepherds of Christ’s Church NEED – they are literally REQUIRED – to study this discipline. But again, there is no biblical support for your exhortation. The qualifications for elders say nothing about apologetics; they are to be capable teachers, but it would be a huge exegetical stretch to shoehorn apologetics (as we now know it) into this command.

    Reply: Not at all. They are to refute those who contradict and if they are to be teachers, they ought to know what it is they are teaching and how it is established. Otherwise, a teacher would be easily blown around by any wave of doctrine that came through.

    NP: Now, I’m sure you and I love this discipline. I’m sure we can both testify that it has done a lot of good for us, and we may even have stories about how it has blessed those around us. Praise God. But that would *not* be sufficient justification for the burden you have placed on pastors here.

    Reply: Because we know pastors will just suffer greatly if they actually learn why what they believe is true and how to articulate it.

    NP: Here’s where I think you get it completely and utterly right:
    – “I think it would be great if every congregation had an apologetics go-to guy. You need someone who knows the information or knows the very best place to get the information”

    This is spot on. The body of Christ is such that it is varied, and possesses a plurality of giftings. But in this statement you have jettisoned your argument; as long as a pastor has someone to whom he can refer people who have questions, there is literally no *requirement* for him to do apologetics. He is free to do other things, if he wishes. Equally, he is free to study apologetics, if he wishes.

    Reply:Sorry, but no. This is like the case of Moses needed to appoint leaders. They can handle the small tasks, but bring the big ones to him. The preacher should be able to answer the simple questions at least, and bring the really difficult cases to the expert. The preacher is the one giving the sermons and in the sermons, he will need to be able to give a basic apologetic and he will need the issues in mind that his congregation is struggling with when addressing the flock.

    NP: But your argument would destroy that Pastor’s freedom, brother. Your argument would have him shackled to an esoteric pseudo-discipline, one that does not enjoy Biblical foundation.

    Reply: The church for several centuries would disagree with you. It would not shackle him. It would free him. What is shackling most is the nonsense that’s reportedly biblical that’s being taught today. If a pastor is unwilling to accept the responsibility of building up a rod to defend his flock, then he needs to clear out of the pulpit. He is unfit for ministry.

    NP: The fruits of this are self-evident within the apologetics community. We have rallied around ‘Apologetics’ as our cause, and developed a martyr complex. We think we’re being ignored, that our passions are being suppressed. “If only”, we say to ourselves, “they knew what I know then our problems would be over”. “If only”, we continue, “the rest of the Church read X and Y and Z, if only there were professional apologists, if only the Church recognised us, if only the leaders were like us”.

    Reply: Actually, there is much to that. If the church knew how to answer people, perhaps we could stop the rise of many cults. Perhaps the youth would not be leaving the church in droves. Perhaps the new atheists would not be getting their converts.

    NP: They’re not, brother. And they don’t have to be. Become a servant of the Church in your gift. Don’t force the rest of the Church to conform to it. You’d only be ruining the very liberty that apologists seek to extol.

    Reply: Not stopping on this for a second. This kind of liberty you’re talking about is killing the church and I’ve been watching it die with pastors who are having their flocks starve.

  6. J. P. Holding Says:

    NP, I have a question.

    How long have you had your head stuck up your rear end?

  7. np Says:

    Thanks for your reply, brother.

    –> “One simply need to read Dulles’s work on a history of Christian apologetics. Apologetics goes back to the OT even. Moses was engaging in apologetics.”

    In one sense, you’re right. People have been considering objections to the faith and responding in kind for centuries. I’m not saying that this habit is new. But you’re wrong to believe that this constitutes ‘apologetics’ as a self-contained theological discipline. That’s just anachronistic.

    –> “Why should I concede that? Because something is not explicitly mentioned? That’s a fundamentalist approach to Scripture. It’s not one I take.”

    Yes, you should concede that apologetics is not a biblical discipline because it “is not explicitly mentioned”. That does not make it *un*-biblical, but it does make it *a*-biblical. The former would render it something to avoid; the latter just means it shouldn’t be made too much of. And no, brother, I’m not a fundamentalist. That’s a sloppy rebuke. My point is simple: apologetics (as opposed to the apologetical habit, cf. above) is simply absent from Scripture. That doesn’t make it bad, but it does mean you can’t require it of the Church’s shepherds.

    –> “The same could be said for youth ministry or ministry of music or minister of administration. These lists were not exhaustive. Heck. There’s no ministry of soup kitchens or homeless shelters or drug and alcohol recovery.”

    Yes, you’re right. But I wouldn’t say that a Pastor is REQUIRED to do youth ministry or be a musician or an administrator or run a homeless shelter or a soup kitchen. That’s exactly, however, the strain that you’re placing on apologetics. A strain that I would respectfully submit to be a-biblical, at best, and shackling, at worst.

    –> “Yep. All we have is the example of the apostles. Who needs that? The majority of Paul’s epistles would be seen as apologetics for orthodoxy.”

    Yes, Paul’s letters are occasionally apologetical. But not always, not even for the majority of the time. More to the point, this observation in no way provides the ground the apologetics as a discipline.

    –> “Actually, no. In an honor/shame context, it’s talking about those who do something not expecting anything in return. The passage is not about apologetics, but it is not about martyrdom either.”

    Hm, I see you’ve been reading Holding. Ignoring the occasionally dubious hermeneutic of the context group, your reading is bizarre. 1 Pet 3:13-14 make it clear that the passage is about people harming, abusing and slandering Christians. Perhaps my use of the word ‘martyrdom’ was unhelpful, seeing as the deaths of Christians isn’t mentioned. Would ‘persecution’ suffice?

    –> “Paul is talking about demolishing arguments that set themselves up against Christ. Are you saying we should demolish arguments in the church but not outside of it?”

    No. Remember my disclaimers; I believe in demolishing the arguments of non-believers. I’m simply pointing out that in 2 Cor 10:5 Paul’s primary point is not about unbelievers. If there’s a directive for Apologetics here, it’s – at best – the secondary sense. At best.

    –> “None of them need to. In a high-context society, it would have been a given when sharing a new faith.”

    With respect, this doesn’t work brother. Holding’s out of the ‘high-context’ stuff only has limited utility. Again, my point is that apologetics as a theological sub-discipline does not exist in scripture. You can’t just say, “Well it doesn’t need to be there because we know it existed and it didn’t need to be referred to”. This just begs the question.

    –> “Not at all. They are to refute those who contradict and if they are to be teachers, they ought to know what it is they are teaching and how it is established. Otherwise, a teacher would be easily blown around by any wave of doctrine that came through.”

    You’ve conflated theological knowledge – which you are right to identify as the thing that Paul assumed in his qualifications for elders – and an apologetics specialism/interest. There’s not a hint of that in the texts. Again, I agree with you that the Bible speaks of people being apologetical – answering objections, debating, critiquing, etc. But I’m saying that this is NOT the same as a self-sustained Apologetics discipline. That sort of thing is just not there in scripture, and therefore can’t be mandated of our shepherds.

    –> “Sorry, but no. This is like the case of Moses needed to appoint leaders. They can handle the small tasks, but bring the big ones to him. The preacher should be able to answer the simple questions at least, and bring the really difficult cases to the expert. The preacher is the one giving the sermons and in the sermons, he will need to be able to give a basic apologetic and he will need the issues in mind that his congregation is struggling with when addressing the flock.”

    Again, brother, you’ve conflated the ability to respond apologetically with the mandate to DO ‘Apologetics’. They’re not the same. My elders are not academically, theologically trained, but they’re able to respond – from their own deposits of knowledge – to a given inquiry. That’s fine, they should be willing to do so. But you haven’t just said this. You’ve said that Apologetics is a REQUIREMENT for EVERY Pastor – something that you have no biblical right to say. Yes, every pastor should be able to respond and think and challenge. But that’s the property of a shepherd and a disciple who loves the Lord with his mind. That’s certainly not the exclusive property of apologists. Why, then, the requirement?

    –> “If a pastor is unwilling to accept the responsibility of building up a rod to defend his flock, then he needs to clear out of the pulpit. He is unfit for ministry.”

    I totally agree. But this is not the same as being required to know apologetics. In your post you infer that unless a pastor listens to your advice and reads Lee Strobel and becomes acquainted with apologetics material, then his congregation will die out and his church will expire. This is just not true. This would happen if the pastor fails to shepherd, but shepherding is NOT the same as apologetics.

  8. np Says:

    Hi J.P. I’m a long term admirer. You helped me a lot when I was a teenager, God used you tremendously in my life! In fact I once wrote something that you very kindly promoted on your tektonics news feed. It was a really proud day :) So thanks for your service brother. I’m not going to respond to your statement; I know it’s your shtick to think being rude is biblical – I don’t mind.

    I’m really thankful for your ministry, J.P. You were like a big brother to me, even though we never knew each other. God bless you!

  9. J. P. Holding Says:

    When did you forget the lessons you learned from me, then?

  10. J. P. Holding Says:

    >>Holding’s out of the ‘high-context’ stuff only has limited utility

    Never mind. I see from outlandish comments like this that you not only forgot your lessons, whoever you are — you threw your intellect out the window. Reading your responses to Nick, I am quite frankly appalled by your manipulative verbiage, your dodging of issues and of your mistakes, your evasive qualifications, and the level of irresponsibility you display.

    Here’s the lesson you forgot, or else never learned: Even IF Nick was in error on his appeals to Scripture, the burdens of information today make it utterly irresponsible for there to NOT be an apologetics “mandate” for pastors. They are in the chief position of leadership. If they want to occupy that leadership, they need to be able to meet the greatest threats head on. And one of the greatest threats today is BAD INFORMATION — which, thanks to modern tech, can be sent out and spread virally at supersonic speed.

    In today’s society of such quick and easy access to bad information, a pastor without apologetics training of some sort is like a shepherd who carries a staff meant to drive off wolves, when his sheep are being eaten by elephants with razor sharp teeth.

    Shepherding in today’s church as a whole in the West? That’s not what’s happening. What’s happening as whole is pure juvenilization. It won’t lead churches to “die” but it will make them so that someone ought to put them out of their misery.

    You may or may not be a fundy, but you certainly are a disaster.

    Is whatever you allegedly wrote for me still on my site?

    If so, let me know what it is. I want to remove it.

    • Chez Lorne Thinks Says:

      JP-

      For all your rhetoric, here are some facts for your consideration:

      -> Your account of the Church’s problems is touching; you obviously care deeply. Unfortunately, I don’t think you’re anywhere near rooted in reality with your solution. ‘Apologetics’ won’t save the Church.

      -> I find it amusing that you seem to believe that the context group’ hermeneutic provides *unlimited* utility.

      -> A man who has to write, at length, about why rudeness is excusable for apologists should not be accusing someone of being manipulative. All rhetoric is purposeful, you’ve just decided to think that the bible permits your particular misanthropic style. (It doesn’t, brother, and your witness is compromised as a result of this delusion. But I respect your guts all the same!)

      -> I do not consider your disapproval upsetting. You USED to be as influential as described; now, I’m just thankful for your service. Even the best big brothers can’t be perfect forever, after all :)

      -> I don’t find your rudeness about my intellect distressing – i find that Christ gives me all the confidence I need, but for what it’s worth, I’ve flourished in several places of higher education, enough to trust that I’m not exactly dumb…

      -> You’re just going to have to worry about that article. As frustrating as that may be for you. Reactions such as yours are why I kept myself anonymous!

      -> For all your rudeness to me, I still love you and thank God for your kindness towards me in former days, and for your continued service. You’re great! God bless you brother!

      • Chez Lorne Thinks Says:

        (Oh, and JP – there’s a wealth of difference between saying that a pastor should be able to respond to bad information, and that “every” pastor should be “required” to do Apologetics.

        One is fine, wise and open to a variety of meanings + applications. The other does something with apologetics that the bible never permits, and imposes an esoteric agenda on the liberty of local church leaders.

        Maybe you forgot that theres a difference. Or else never learned..?)

  11. Why Apologetics Should Be A Requirement For Every Pastor. « Deeper Waters | WhyJesus Says:

    [...] Why Apologetics Should Be A Requirement For Every Pastor. « Deeper Waters. [...]

  12. J. P. Holding Says:

    @Cheez: What a wonderful sermon. Not one single argument or actual “fact”. Just bland assertions and vague appeals with no substance, arbitrarily designated as “fact”.

    You’re wise to remain anonymous and hiding, because you’d never survive an actual debate intact.

    You obviously never knew me well, because if you did, you’d know that I see through crap like that with ease. As I also see through your passive-aggressive rhetoric.

    Go ahead. As usual, Nick and I and others will repair the damage the ignorance people like you have cause.

  13. J. P. Holding Says:

    Oh yes…

    >>>and imposes an esoteric agenda on the liberty of local church leaders.

    Esoteric agenda. How hilarious. Now knowledge that would have been commonplace to the disciples of the first century is “esoteric”.

    You’re right. We should leave pastors “unshackled” so that they can raise more money for church gyms while they continue to teach their flock aberrant nonsense which turns the Bible into a personal counseling love letter from God.

    • np Says:

      Again, I love you brother :) Not passive aggression, just genuine affection.

      • J. P.Holding Says:

        Don’t bear false witness, manipulator…and don’t think tossing emergent crud bombs will serve as an easy way to evade arguing your points.

        Incidentally, don’t think I can’t figure out which (if any) was yours. It’s not that hard between process of elimination and style analysis.

  14. apologianick Says:

    Gotta agree with JPH still. In our day and age, it is essential for the pastor to know what’s going on in the world and how to address it. He needs to know the issues the flock are going to be facing out in the world. It would be insane to have a church in Utah and not say anything about Mormonism. If you were in Iraq and had a church, you would need to talk about Islam. A church in India needs to address Hinduism. A church in America or England needs to address the secular culture. Furthermore, this will help the pastor deal with the emotional and spiritual needs of the church. It will do no good to tell the youth “Don’t have sex before marriage because the Bible says not to” when 1) While it teaches that, it nowhere says it explicitly, 2) People like Bart Ehrman will gladly destroy that foundation and then what?, and 3) people in the secular world will be confirmed in their opinion that Christianity is groupthink.

    It’s not shackling. If a pastor wants the responsibility of leading a flock, then he needs to take on the responsibility of guarding it and warning it about wolves. If he’s not prepared to take the responsibility of defense of the flock, then let him sit down and let a man who is better and willing to do that take the lead. I know several.

    • np Says:

      Hi Nick, thanks for your reply here.

      You seem to be confused about what I’m saying here. I have never, ever said that a Pastor SHOULDN’T do apologetics. I have only said that it is fallacious to mandate apologetics as a requirement for every pastor. Those two things are not logical opposites.

      Again, the shepherd of a Church should be free to do apologetics, if he wishes. That would be his prerogative. I’d also agree with you that it would be wise for a particular shepherd, in a situation that would benefit from an apologetical response, to learn how to respond in such a way. Alternatively, it would be wise for that shepherd to consult someone who is more capable of conducting such a response, either from within or without his congregation.

      However, none of this is the same as saying, “EVERY Pastor should be REQUIRED to do Apologetics”. I oppose such a conclusion for several reasons:

      (1) The discipline of ‘Apologetics’ is an a-biblical concept.

      [1-A] That doesn’t mean it’s un-biblical, it just means it’s not there. Which means that the Christian is free to engage in it, and free to not engage in it. Exegetically, you certainly can’t make it into a pastoral requirement, as you do here. Such would be an impingement of Christian liberty.

      [1-B] This also doesn’t mean that we can’t identify people acting ‘apologetically’ within the Scriptures. You rightly mentioned Moses; he would be one example. The *tendency* to debate, object and defend the one true faith is not a-biblical. The *discipline* of Apologetics is. The former should be collapsed under ‘Intellectual Discipleship’ (loving the Lord with all one’s mind); the latter would be one application of intellectual discipleship, but not the only one.

      [1-C] ‘m not in any way a Tillichian [more neo-Orthodox I suppose], but I believe Tillich would agree with me here. Read the prolegomena to his Systematic Theology, Vol. 1 – he exhorts good theology to be ‘answering theology’, or ‘apologetical’. That’s what a pastor should be – apologetical. The exhortation to this tendency is biblical; Paul would have us become all things to all people, so that by all means we may save some. But the exhortation to the DISCIPLINE is an unnecessary and esoteric burden.

      (2) Requiring Apologetics of every pastor is symptomatic of several fundamental problems within the apologetical community.

      [2-A] Chief among them being this martyr complex. When I first became interested in apologetics, I remember being so frustrated by those who didn’t share my interest. I remember being annoyed that pastors used to preach in a way that didn’t work with whatever apologetic hobby horse I was peddling at the time. I remember thinking that all leaders should be apologists. Which was really just another way of saying, they should be like me. This may not be your motivation, brother. But even if it’s not, your reasoning will probably feed that sort of rebellious.

      [2-B] Another problem is this melodrama that is attached to the apologetical task. The ‘burden of information’, as J.P. has put it, is such that pastors now NEED to respond – you even insinuated, Nick, that unless they don’t follow your advice, their Churches will *die*. Which, besides being unjustified, is also unfaithful. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want us to ‘lay back and let God’. I’m more than aware, for example, that the conciliar debates were the instrument by which God established Christological & Trinitarian orthodoxy in the Church. But these debates were, more properly speaking, *doctrinal*. Not apologetical. And besides, no argument – on its own – led to the advancement of the Church. Ecclesial history does not bear this sort of sentimentalism out. Arguments need to be honed, debates need to be had, but the Church is ultimately spread by the humble sharing of the Gospel. The vast majority of the time, apologetics – as a discipline – doesn’t get a look in.

      3) Pastoral qualifications DO exist in Scripture, and they do NOT mention apologetics.

      [3-A] Fairly straightforward this one. You’ve accused me of being a fundamentalist here, but there really is no justification for doing so. I’m simply saying that at the very least, you have to concede that you’re adding a qualification to Paul’s list. Or, you’re qualifying one of the qualifications (be capable of teaching -into-> be capable of apologetics), in such a way that your amendment is of primary significance (every elder is required to do apologetics). Either move is an inappropriate way to handle Scripture.

      ————-

      Anyway, sorry to go on. I can’t imagine that you’ll agree with any of this. I can only guess that you’ll continue to find JP convincing. That’s fine. He’s called me a manipulator for trying to say that i love him as a brother who Christ died for (which is literally grievous), but, I do love him. You have every right to think he’s on the ball with this one.

      Thank you for giving me some space in your comments to explain myself – your blog is great! Keep up the good work. I’ll be praying that God blesses you in it :)

      NP

  15. J. P.Holding Says:

    The manipulator should also know that unlike our lazybone Western churches, churches in places like Indonesia are starving for apologetics. I met with one of my contacts from there just a few hours ago and he’s totally in agreement with Nick’s post.

    Cheez Whiz — you are a disgrace to the body and your attitude is insulting towards those who have to endure the persecution placed upon them in places like Indonesia where Christians are frequently under the thumbs of others. Shame on you.

    • Chez Lorne Thinks Says:

      Hey JP – you’re slandering me without having understood what I’m actually saying. I’m NOT opposing apologetics; those pastors in Indonesia should have the freedom to study the subject and wield it as they wish. As I made very clear to Nick, apologetics holds a very special place in my heart.

      Rather, I’m making a two fold argument:
      1) Apologetics as a self-sustained discipline (as opposed to a theological habit in the Tillichian sense, or just in the sense of a believers intellectual discipleship) is at best an a-biblical notion.
      2) Therefore, Nick’s argument that it should be the REQUIREMENT of EVERY Pastor is unjustified and out of sync with scriptural ecclesiolgy.

      I could make further arguments on top of that, but that will suffice for now.

      Your slander is troublesome JP – not because you intimidate me (to the contrary, your apologetical style is hilarious to me now) but because you’re a brother who has a problem with me. Consider the following from 1 Peter 3:

      “8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.
      9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.”

      Brother, I love you and want to have unity of mind with you, in keeping with my desire for brotherly love and a tender heart. Therefore, if you SERIOUSLY think that i should be ashamed and that I’m a disgrace to the body, I want to honour you as my brother and have you explain this to me properly. If you give me your email address I will send you my Skype details and I’d love to have you teach me about my error in ‘person’, so to speak. I hope you’d be willing to follow trough your insults with pastoral guidance. I would genuinely want to hear how I’m a disgrace to the body, and change if necessary.

      On an aside, nick – I hope JPs manner of talking to a 26 year old brother who’s expressing a different opinion about a secondary issue rests easy with you. We reap what we sow.

    • np Says:

      Oh, and I can’t seem to respond to your comment about me being “manipulative” just because I insisted I loved you. A really rather sad statement because I genuinely do, although my affections for you have decreased over the years [and over the last couple of the days to be honest]. But that’s ok, I can love you even though I don’t especially like you :)

      After all, you’re being rather bitter and rude here. Not that this surprises or offends me. I’ve followed you for years – on theologyweb, tektonics, tektoonics and more recently on YT. I know that it’s your ‘shtick’ to be insulting because you think you’re being just like Paul or John the Baptist. You think you have a license to wield vitriol like a battleaxe, and this mentality has manifested itself in a handful of your younger followers, just like it did in me all those years ago. I can see that it has made some atheists fearful of you. I just hope that it’s been worth the cost.

      Moreover, to respond to your posturing about you being able to find out who I really am, I’m absolutely sure you’re super dooper clever enough to figure it out, JP. [After all, your with turned the French word 'chez' into 'Cheez Whiz' - brilliant, by the way! Trust a North American! Cheeky so and so!] To be honest with you, I’m surprised you don’t know already. Two google searches using all the information I’ve given you thus far, that’s all it would take. I’m not exactly ‘hiding'; I’ve already revealed a lot of personal information.

      Oh, and finally, I did use to be emergent. I hate emerging theology now. I’m much closer to the Reformed/Neo-Orthodox side of things now, doctrinally. But for what it’s worth, emergent/ =/= expressing affection.

      Anyway, I’m absolutely sure you’ll find the time and the absolutely undeniable urge within yourself to respond to this. You always do. I look forward to your reply :) So far your comments have been both entertaining and mournful, in equal measure.

  16. apologianick Says:

    Is this person anyone I know about?

  17. J. P. Holding Says:

    @Cheez Whiz:

    >>>Hey JP – you’re slandering me without having understood what I’m actually saying.

    I understood perfectly. Your comment changes nothing. Your whiny, sniveling professions for “freedom” totally ignore the fact that pastors are LEADERS WITH RESPONSIBILITIES, which they have been SHIRKING.

    Pastors don’t have “freedom”. They are slaves of Christ. They also have an imminent danger to deal with (the “bad information” crisis I noted, which you, in your inability to answer, totally ignored). You are applying Western categories of thought to the text. Stop it. It is irresponsible and disgusting.

    Your whining MIGHT have had some validity for most pastors as recently as the mid-90s, because there were so many people even then who would never have been able to get Robert Ingersoll in their living rooms at the touch of a button. Not any more. Wake up! Get with the program!

    >>>at best an a-biblical notion.

    WHO CARES! Like I said, you insensate, oblivious whiner, even if you are right – and your manipulation of the texts is half a matter of parsing and half a matter of failing to grasp associated implications – it doesn’t matter! The current crisis changes all of that. Get your head out of your backside and smell the coffee!

    >>>Your slander is troublesome JP – not because you intimidate me (to the contrary, your apologetical style is hilarious to me now)

    Why sure it is. That’s why you’re so disturbed. :D That’s why you keep replying, right? Sound familiar?

    >>>but because you’re a brother who has a problem with me. Consider the following from 1 Peter 3:

    Don’t quote decontextualized passages to me like some sort of fundamentalist. You’ve made yourself an enemy of the truth and of the greater good, and that has zero to do with 1 Peter 3.

    >>>If you give me your email address I will send you my Skype details and I’d love to have you teach me about my error in ‘person’

    Merely an evasion on your part and an attempt to avoid a public humiliation you so richly deserve for your ideological betrayal of, and indifference towards, the health of the Body of Christ. It also shows that you’re just buying time. Asking for my email address? Really? Then you’ve just proved you’re a fraud who never followed me with any rigor, or even at all — because otherwise you’d have not needed to ask that question. You’d KNOW how to answer it.

    >>> brother who’s expressing a different opinion about a secondary issue rests easy with you.

    “Expressing a different opinion”. As if that’s ALL you’re doing. Keep the victim complex to yourself; only children would fall for that kind of “gimme sympathy” routine.

    >>> You think you have a license to wield vitriol like a battleaxe,

    I have facts. You have nothing but a victim complex and manipulative passive-aggressive rhetoric

    >>>I can see that it has made some atheists fearful of you. I just hope that it’s been worth the cost.

    The “cost”? Like shutting down wolves who would otherwise have slaughtered tens of thousands of others? Yeah. Big “cost”.

    <<>>Oh, and finally, I did use to be emergent. I hate emerging theology now. I’m much closer to the Reformed/Neo-Orthodox side of things now, doctrinally

    Great. Which means next week you’ll be Catholic, and by March you’ll be Worldwide Church of God. Good sign of mental stability you have there.

    >>>Anyway, I’m absolutely sure you’ll find the time and the absolutely undeniable urge within yourself to respond to this. You always do.

    Yep. And you’re so insensate as to think you’re getting away with obvious passive-aggressive rhetoric here by imposing a theoretical Catch-22 in which you appear to “be in control” of my responses. Congratulations on becoming Farrell Till’s ideological cohort in that matter.

  18. np Says:

    JP –

    “Your whiny, sniveling …”

    “you insensate, oblivious whiner”

    Oh gosh, stop JP! I’m welling up! Your intellect has shown me what-for! Now that you’ve insulted me, I guess I’m just going to back down…

    Please, stop acting like such a hack of a school debater and talk to me like an adult :) You don’t intimidate me. You’re just an internet apologist with an attitude. I’ve seen you in person, you’re not fooling anyone. You’re nowhere near as intelligent as you think you are, and your wit is positively diminished when you *try* (operative word) to trash talk. You’re not the Clint Eastwood of the internet; you’re a librarian who runs a website and likes to draw cartoons. Get over yourself. Now, to what you believe to be a reply.

    –> “our whiny, sniveling professions for “freedom” totally ignore the fact that pastors are LEADERS WITH RESPONSIBILITIES, which they have been SHIRKING. Pastors don’t have “freedom”.”

    Goodness, JP, at least *pretend* to know your Church history. I was referring to the doctrine of Christian liberty, which has great provenance especially in the Western tradition. It’s ultimately rooted in key Pauline texts such as Rom 6:7, 2 Cor 3:17 and Gal 5:1, plus certain texts within the Johannine (cf. John 8:32-36), Petrine (cf. 1 Pet 2:16) and Jacobian literature (cf. James 1:25).

    Consult the following references in addition:
    -> Tertullian, “Against Marcion” V.4.
    -> Chrysostom, Homily XXV on 1 Cor 10:25
    -> Aquinas, Summa Theologiae IIa.108
    -> Luther, Concerning Christian Liberty
    -> Melanchthon, Apology of the Augsberg Confession XV.32
    -> Bullinger, 9th Sermon of “Third Decade”
    -> Calvin, Institutes III.19.15

    And so on, and so forth. The Bible AND Church history disagree with you JP: the Pastor DOES have a certain amount of freedom. And, the history of the doctrine of Christian liberty would lean towards a condemnation of ideas imposed upon the believer as primary but find no explicit mention in Scripture. Like apologetics as a self-sustained discipline, for example.

    So, yes, Pastors have responsibilties. And I have stated, numerous times, that they should be free to explore apologetics as a means of fulfilling those responsibilities. But the notion that EVERY Pastor should ALWAYS explore apologetics to fulfil them, that’s not justifiable, no matter how many times you mouth off at me from your keyboard.

    –> “Your whining MIGHT have had some validity for most pastors as recently as the mid-90s, because there were so many people even then who would never have been able to get Robert Ingersoll in their living rooms at the touch of a button. Not any more. Wake up! Get with the program!”

    Are you just being deliberately dense, JP? How many times do I have to say this: I *agree* with you that some pastors should be exhorted to use apologetics, especially if they are having to deal with information retrieved from the WWW. Alternatively, they may wish to use someone else from within or without their congregation. Let me say it really clearly, so that your huge ego can hear me properly: i AGREE with you, in that sense. What I’m objecting to is the ecclesiological and theological move Nick made in the blog post, above.

    You’re just being an irrational jerk here. You reference Deeper Waters on your news feed regularly, so here you are circling the wagons in a bid to save face. You’re achieving nothing of the sort, nor do you NEED to achieve anything of the sort. I’ve already defended the viability and value of apologetics.

    –> “Why sure it is. That’s why you’re so disturbed. That’s why you keep replying, right? Sound familiar?”

    Lol. Yeah, that’s right JP ;) It couldn’t have anything to do with the fact that I wanted to give my former teacher the benefit of the doubt. I thought you’d maybe treat me like a brother, one for whom Christ died, rather than behave like every angry atheist I’ve ever known and resort to belittling, insults and vitriol. I was obviously mistaken. Now I’m just replying because you so easily get wound up… Plus, your replies are serving to justify why I stopped listening to you. Your demeanour is shameful, and you will be held accountable for the words you speak. God help you, brother. God help you.

    –> “Don’t quote decontextualized passages to me like some sort of fundamentalist. You’ve made yourself an enemy of the truth and of the greater good, and that has zero to do with 1 Peter 3.”

    Pathetic. I’ve read your article about using crude language in your replies. I have absolutely no faith in your exegetical abilities, or in your academic discernment. (Your edginess about the context group proves my point. I’ve got Malina, Rohrbaugh and DeSilva on my bookshelf. But I ALSO have Adams, Thiselton and Moberly on my bookshelf, and I believe that THEY are right about the weaknesses and strengths of social-scientific readings. That said, I’m fairly sure you’ve never bothered to read about hermeneutics. You desperately need to take a class in the history of interpretation.)

    Besides, you’re behaving like one whose idol has been questioned, and you’re responding like an idolator. Tangentially, if i’ve wrongly applied 1 Peter 3 (and I haven’t) then i’d LOVE to see you exegete it. Gosh. This *will* be fun.

    –> “Merely an evasion on your part and an attempt to avoid a public humiliation you so richly deserve for your ideological betrayal of, and indifference towards, the health of the Body of Christ.”

    Did you have Ennio Morricone playing in your head when you wrote that? Did it feel good? I hope so. Because to everyone with an ounce of charity and sense, it sounded stupid. Glad it felt good though. Feel free to ‘land’ another punch – they really hurt! Honest!

    Here’s the reality, JP – i DO love you as a brother, but my patience for you is now at absolute zero. If I’m wrong, I genuinely want to hear why. So I want to talk to you on Skype to talk about this sensibly and properly. Feel free to record the conversation and publically provide it. I don’t care. I’m not ‘evading’ anything. (Incidentally, for a man who has played with pseudonyms in his ‘illustrious’ career [remind me, are you Turkel or Holding now?], you really shouldn’t be throwing stones regarding proper identification. Glass houses, and all that.)

    For what it’s worth, your unwillingness to talk to me decently and sensibly speaks wonders. You have already stained the name of the persecuted Church, posturing and shedding crocodile tears presumably in the name of ‘pastoral care’ for Christ’s Church. You don’t care about pastoral care; if you did, you’d want to take a younger brother aside and correct him so that he may return to the truth, as you see it. Your pastoral care is a deceit. Right now, it’s obvious that you just want to grandstand. FYI – i’ve seen people do it a lot better.

    –> “Asking for my email address? Really? Then you’ve just proved you’re a fraud who never followed me with any rigor, or even at all — because otherwise you’d have not needed to ask that question. You’d KNOW how to answer it.”

    Wow, brother, you sure are brave. Or just a bit dense. Because you’re actually very wrong. Brother, let me educate you: I sent you an email (to jphold@earthlink.net) in December 2005, wishing you a merry Christmas and referring to an article i’d written about the festive season.

    Back then, you were obviously much kinder towards a younger Christian, because here’s what you wrote:
    — “Aw, heck! I wish I’d been able to read your item BEFORE Christmas. :-D So is it being posted somewhere, or can I use it?God bless, JP”

    Man, what has happened to you since then JP? You’re so bitter now. You’ve fallen into some bad company and ran away from the Spirit or *something*, because you were genuinely KIND then. Now, you’re just being a jerk.

    (Incidentally, I’ve provided this knowing that you will be able to copy and paste and find the email in question. There, the last big clue. It wasn’t hard, but you obviously needed the help.)

    –> “Great. Which means next week you’ll be Catholic, and by March you’ll be Worldwide Church of God. Good sign of mental stability you have there.”

    1) This is deflection; you obviously have no idea what the emerging Church stands for, but instead ignorantly paraded the label and hoped it would stick. It didn’t, and so now you resort to petty accusations.
    2) People can change. Again Holding -> Turkel -> Holding. Glass houses + stones. Etc.
    3) I’ve been Reformed for about 5-6 years. I’ve done my MA and my PhD specialising in its details. This one’s a keeper ;)

    —————

    Anyway, brother – love you. You’re being a jerk, and you will be held accountable for your words. And someone should stand up to you, because you are so evidently a bully these days. How things change.

    But still, I love you and I want to be united to you and reconciled to you, because once I thought you looked out for me. You call this sort of thing passive aggressive. How tragic; I just call it true.

    Since you don’t want to educate me in ‘person’ via skype, I’ll let you have the last word. This correspondence has been deathly for me and I want no more part in it.

    Blessings JP + Nick

  19. J. P. Holding Says:

    @Cheez Whiz:

    >>>and talk to me like an adult

    Like an adult who deserves to be shunned as a deviant? Tell that to collectivist societies around the world, whiner.

    >>>You’re nowhere near as intelligent as you think you are, and your wit is positively diminished when you *try* (operative word) to trash talk.

    Spoken like a true master of receiving the losing end. :D This from a lackluster performer who can’t present a single argument; is so immature that he actually once thought emergent theology was worth a crap, and is now sucked into the idiocy of neo-orthodoxy AND has gone the Farrell Till route with his dialogue. Hey, wanna call me Turkel? You know you want to.

    >>>you’re a librarian who runs a website and likes to draw cartoons

    I’ve gotten a lot more useful creds than you’ll ever see in your pitiful career. Assuming any of that is true, too, which is increasingly doubtful.

    >>>Goodness, JP, at least *pretend* to know your Church history. I was referring to the doctrine of Christian liberty,

    WHO CARES? That’s utterly beside the point, and is another case of you, as usual, being too thick-headed to get the point, or else waving around a bunch of unrelated material that you’re either too insensate to see has no relevance to my point.

    >>>So, yes, Pastors have responsibilties. And I have stated, numerous times, that they should be free to explore apologetics as a means of fulfilling those responsibilities. But the notion that EVERY Pastor should ALWAYS explore apologetics to fulfil them, that’s not justifiable, no matter how many times you mouth off at me from your keyboard.

    Yes, it is, and that you think otherwise shows that you live in a hole – a very deep, smelly one, and one that is entirely oblivious to the realities of the information crisis. Pastors’ responsibilities are MUCH deeper than you are imagining; pastors have been turned into superstars who are take as representatives of the Christian faith, the “go to” guys who appear on TV, radio, etc., write all the books, make all the public statements. The wrongness of that is manifest, but it is what we have to deal with.

    The idiocy of your stance is demonstrable by such examples as these:

    1) Irwin Lutzer, who has no business doing so, writing a garbage-can book on The Davinci Code.
    2) James MacDonald idiotically using Mark 16:15 to make a point, as he did on a radio broadcast last week.

    Those are just two of countless examples of pastors being irresponsible with their trust. I could name so many more; Joel Osteen alone could fill an entire bookshelf with his mistakes and abuses.

    So take your choice:

    1) Pastors should have a mandate to learn apologetics.

    2) Pastors should relinquish the role of “go to” guys for people’s needs, stop appearing on TV and radio, and stop writing books, especially on topics they know diddly-squat about.

    I’ll take either one. Most pastors I know, like David Uth at 1st Baptist Orlando, I’d rather see take option 2, to be honest, but that’s a pipe dream. So is #1, for that matter. But it has to be said.

    >>>You’re just being an irrational jerk here. You reference Deeper Waters on your news feed regularly, so here you are circling the wagons in a bid to save face.

    That’s the best you can do? Who writes your material? And how long have they been deceased?

    >>>Lol. Yeah, that’s right JP It couldn’t have anything to do with the fact that I wanted to give my former teacher the benefit of the doubt.

    I’m not your former teacher. You’re a fraud, as has been made quite clear by your huge slip-up: requesting my email address. No one who knew me or my website would do that. And you made another error below.

    >>>Pathetic. I’ve read your article about using crude language in your replies. I have absolutely no faith in your exegetical abilities, or in your academic discernment

    You also have nothing in the way of specific arguments – just a listing of authors available from any quick Google search, fraud.

    >>Tangentially, if i’ve wrongly applied 1 Peter 3 (and I haven’t) then i’d LOVE to see you exegete it. Gosh. This *will* be fun.

    I’ll give you a hint…I did that long ago on TWeb, for a whiner just like you….go find it. Since you like being coy with the references, you can go do some work.

    >>Did you have Ennio Morricone playing in your head when you wrote that? Did it feel good?

    Yet more proof you never knew me – for if you did, you’d know what a load of bovine psycho-excremental claptrap that response would be with reference to me. Who’s Ennio, your favorite video game character?

    >>> So I want to talk to you on Skype to talk about this sensibly and properly.

    No, it will stay in public where you will be shown to be unable to back up your claims. Not that it matters. I do not use services like Skype, and I grant very few the clearance to contact me by voice. That right is earned, not strewn gratis to whiners.

    >>> (Incidentally, for a man who has played with pseudonyms in his ‘illustrious’ career [remind me, are you Turkel or Holding now?], you really shouldn’t be throwing stones regarding proper identification. Glass houses, and all that.)

    And that’s yet another blunder on your part proving that you never knew me or followed anything I did. How little you realize how big a fool you make of yourself with that comment.

    >>>care; if you did, you’d want to take a younger brother aside and correct him so that he may return to the truth,

    Like you care about truth? No, you don’t. You’re a proven fraud now. This doesn’t save you:

    >>>>Wow, brother, you sure are brave. Or just a bit dense. Because you’re actually very wrong. Brother, let me educate you: I sent you an email (to jphold@earthlink.net) in December 2005, wishing you a merry Christmas and referring to an article i’d written about the festive season.

    Oh indeed? Then why are you too dense to know how to find my email address NOW? Hmmm? Obviously fraudulent. Very convenient to select December 2005 as well, when it’s common for people to change PCs every three to five years, so that any such email would be long gone. You’re a fraud, and if you do have a genuine email from me, there’s little doubt it was filched from someone else.

    >>>Man, what has happened to you since then JP? You’re so bitter now.

    Nothing’s happened. You’re simply projecting your own deficiencies – and show again you never knew me. I’m not in the least bitter,…but you are. ;)

    >>> because you were genuinely KIND then. Now, you’re just being a jerk.

    Again, proof you never read my material at all.

    <<>>Anyway, brother – love you. You’re being a jerk, and you will be held accountable for your words.

    I’d rather be held accountable for that than for your loose moral code of responsibility which turns the church into a playground and ignores the cries of the helpless and the deceived under the premise of “liberty”.

    >>>Since you don’t want to educate me in ‘person’ via skype, I’ll let you have the last word. This correspondence has been deathly for me and I want no more part in it.

    Good. Anything that keeps your mouth shut is a blessing. But here’s the reality:

    I saw through your manipulation games, which normally work well for you when confronting others.

    Since those are all you have – not arguments – you see clearly you’re at a loss.

    What you love is your imaginary vision of Jesus as a fluffy bunny – not me or anyone else.

  20. J. P. Holding Says:

    The loudmouth says he’s done, but to make it clear why he’s earned contempt, and to illustrate his talent as a manipulator, one example from within.

    Reference was made to 2 Cor 10:5, saying “Paul is talking about opponents within the Church” and so it is not a “foundation for a discipline”. Nick asked, “Paul is talking about demolishing arguments that set themselves up against Christ. Are you saying we should demolish arguments in the church but not outside of it?” The loudmouth replied, “I believe in demolishing the arguments of non-believers. I’m simply pointing out that in 2 Cor 10:5 Paul’s primary point is not about unbelievers. If there’s a directive for Apologetics here, it’s – at best – the secondary sense. At best.”

    The loudmouth’s replies are evasion and obfuscation and little else.

    First of all, since we are to be imitators of ingroup leaders like Christ and Paul, that means if Christ and Paul do it, it is prima facie evidence that at least some of us should be prepared to do it the same way. As leaders, Christ and Paul occupied the place that pastors occupy today. Thus 2 Cor. 10:5 does indeed provide a foundation for the practice of apologetics.

    Second — as a “discipline”? That’s an evasion by the loudmouth. The definition that suits “discipline” in this context is, a “branch of knowledge or teaching”. The evasion here is found inasmuch as apologetics is nothing more than the practical application of Christian scholarship to specific crisis situations. So in reality, apologetics already IS and has been part of a “discipline” because every scholar who defends a point of view is engaged in an “apologetic” for that view. And if the loudmouth really is a doctoral student in theology, he’s engaged in that “discipline” himself right now; and by defending his views here, he is acting as an “apologist” (however poorly) for those views.
    Third, the loudmouth’s second response, “I believe in demolishing the arguments of non-believers. I’m simply pointing out that in 2 Cor 10:5 Paul’s primary point is not about unbelievers,” is an evasion of a manifest error. As Nick rightly pointed out, it would be ridiculous not to apply 2 Cor. 10:5 by extension to dealings outside the church. The loudmouth could not admit this error, and instead evaded by affirming that he believes in “demolishing the arguments of non-believers” (on what Scriptural basis, if not by a logical extension of 2 Cor. 10:5? And if by some other, why is 2 Cor. 10:5 not able to be logically extended to that point?) and qualifying dishonestly that it is about apologetics in a “secondary sense.” But that’s a gross non sequitur, since apologetics is practiced both within the ideology of believers (e.g., apologetics for Calvinism or certain eschatological views) and outside the church. It is both “apologetics”. So was all that stuff he merely labels “doctrinal”. The point of those “doctrinal” episodes was to establish a point of view over and against others, whether real or theoretical – and that is apologetics, or defense of the truth. Ironically, the loudmouth here made the same boneheaded mistake as atheists who feel they can dismiss anything we have to say because we are “apologists” – oblivious to the point that they are “apologists” for their own views as well.

    Bottom line: 2 Cor. 10:5 (which Nick didn’t even use in his original post) doesn’t offer a “directive” for apologetics – it merely recognizes what would have already been known to Paul to be his responsibility as a spiritual leader and describes it in action. In that sense, it is not so much a directive as a model for emulation; but it does have the force of a directive when we encounter the same situations. As I have said, and to which the loudmouth will never have an answer, it all boils down to the hard realities of the information age, as well as the (in my view, entirely unfortunate) position pastors are in as “go to” guys for reliable spiritual sustenance.

    Of course there are other options too, as even Nick said, like having someone else as a “go to” guy for apologetics, to whom the pastor refers. I’d be fine with that. But it assumes that e.g., the pastor is willing to do things like let them have the pulpit once in a while, or letting them teach a regular class, etc. which is often a pipe dream as many pastors couldn’t be unwelded from their pulpits with TNT (unless they’re being a “good old boy” helping some friend get exposure), or else are scared to let someone they think knows more than they do say something they can’t contradict (whether right or wrong) have a place in the teaching rotation. Many would have a hissy if you so much as suggested a slight deviation from the Sunday School in-stone regimen (“We need to stick with the program.”) I’d be more than happy for pastors to get back to their true Biblical role (which was much simpler than it is now in many churches) and let us do what we need to do. But that’s not going to happen.

  21. J. P. Holding Says:

    Now another example.

    The loudmouth appeals to “liberty” as a reason why pastors should not have a mandate for apologetics.

    This is a patent misuse of the concept of “liberty”. The pastoral office today has clear job qualifications that all responsible churches adhere to. Here’s a random advertisement:

    “Oak Hills Baptist Church, a growing congregation in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is searching for an experienced and gifted individual to join our ministerial team as Senior Pastor. We are a young and growing congregation (averaging 400 in total attendance) made up primarily of young families and are currently adding on to our existing facilities to meet our needs. We are a mission-driven community that seeks to live our identity statement: “Being the People of God for the Sake of the World.” We are seeking a skilled preacher, missional leader, pastor and administrator who has demonstrated success in leading a multi-staff church.”

    Checking the job description on their site — OH MY! How horrible! It has all kinds of “preferred experience” requirements, including — a MASTER OF DIVINITY!

    Wait a minute! How DARE they impinge on the “liberty” of pastoral candidates by giving preference to those with a M. Div! Why should any pastoral candidate be “shackled” to that requirement in order to be a pastor??? How disgusting. How satanic. How un-Christian. There’s no explicit mention of having a degree in Scripture, so obviously, that preference is not justifiable. Pastors should have the freedom to explore getting a degree as a means of fulfilling their responsibilities and NOT get preference just because they have one!

    And that’s just ONE preference. There are more! Look what else — they even have REQUIREMENTS (GASP) such as:

    “A commitment to confidentiality regarding all records, both of the church and staff, and the members.”

    WHAT! How DARE they impinge on the liberty of the pastor to share those records with others! There’s nothing in Scripture that explicitly says church and staff and member records should be kept confidential!

    What’s that? You say — they have a moral responsibility to keep confidence? Heathen! There’s no Biblical mandate, so BUG OFF!

    Bottom line, giving preference to those with a degree is wicked, evil, and satanic, and has no Biblical basis whatsoever! Even if they don’t require the degree, it’s still an insult and unBiblical to give preference to those who DO have it! HA!

  22. Mike Says:

    Titus 1:9 makes apologetics a requirement for an elder: refuting those who oppose sound doctrine.

  23. apologianick Says:

    Thanks Mike.

    Let’s see. Tim McGrew said that this blog is excellent and well worth reposting. Mike Licona had it on his Facebook page as well. (And though he is my father-in-law, he only puts up what he thinks is truly exceptional.) The Poached Egg got it and reposted it and tweeted it as did a few chapters of Ratio Christi.

    Here’s a web search and I did and one can find several blogs that picked it up as well.

    https://isearch.avg.com/pages/abt/hnav/search.aspx?cid={BE8D720F-30E4-48DC-8147-2828D0A2290D}&mid=f7262be2caf047d08a95d156509e3846-1d6c0c6f83e6a7275b8d19153ac8c7163db38702&ds=ft011&lang=en&v=12.2.5.32&pr=sa&d=2012-07-23%2014:10:52&sap=dsp&q=%22Why+Apologetics+Should+Be+A+Requirement+For+Every+Pastor%22&tc=test6

    Or I could just believe NP here….

  24. J. P. Holding Says:

    Hmm, let’s see.

    On one side, Licona, McGrew, several RC chapters, and several blogs.

    On the other side, a wet behind the ears 26 year old with a passive-aggressive complex, no arguments, an inability to decide what he wants (emergent? neo-orthodox? coffee? tea? milk?) and a smart mouth, who also thinks “liberty” is of greater importance than responsibility.

    (thinking)

    I haven’t got a clue who we should believe. :D Sorry.

  25. Really Recommended Posts 9/21/12 « J.W. Wartick -"Always Have a Reason" Says:

    [...] Why Apologetics Should Be A Requirement For Every Pastor- Fellow Christians, I hope this post convicts you like it convicted me. We need to be doing apologetics. We owe it to our youths, we owe it to the adults in our congregations, and we owe it to ourselves. [...]

  26. Jason Leonard Says:

    All I can say after reading this is…WOW. One of your better worded and thought out posts, at least from what work of yours I’ve read. The practical examples were actually realistic, meaningful and applicable to more than just youth.

    I like the idea of a minister for apologetics, who might even get consulted by people in the church (including executives and leaders) for doctrinal issues. Unfortunately, for something like this to happen on a scale that would be effective, denominational and seminary leaders have to consider implementation, or a mega church would have to do it. Otherwise, a handful of local congregations would try it but have little support.

    I make a prediction – it will one day happen, but might be decades away – when participation in church is at record lows and individuals like us are the few left.

    Keep up the great work, and try to tame that “bulldog” of yours (JPH) a bit before everyone gets bitten! *j/k*

  27. Nick Peters Says:

    Thanks for the compliment Jason!

  28. J.T Says:

    I wish this would happen, but I have my doubts. When I still attended church on a semi-consistent basis, I got tired of the wishy-washy feel-good just-believe sermons and suggested to our pastor that a need existed for a solid apologetics program in the church.

    I was all but dismissed outright, and the evidence I used (the various statistics regarding the number of youth who leave the church) was waved away.

    The church is more interested in keeping it’s members entertained than actually teaching them something that requires more effort than clicking the TV remote to accomplish.All in all, I think it’s best for the American church to die, because in the end what’s left will be far better off. Natural selection at it’s finest.

  29. Why Every Church Should Have Apologetics « Deeper Waters Says:

    [...] thought about this while thinking about a post I wrote earlier on Why Apologetics Should Be A Requirement For Every Pastor I had planned to write today about apologetics for laymen, but this message I got in the mail is [...]

  30. Why Every Church Needs Apologetics by Nick Peters | James Carter Dawkins Says:

    [...] thought about this while thinking about a post I wrote earlier on Why Apologetics Should Be A Requirement For Every Pastor I had planned to write today about apologetics for laymen, but this message I got in the mail is [...]

  31. The Problem of Conversion | Deeper Waters Says:

    […] on why apologetics is a necessity for the “relevant” church today such as found here, here, here, here, here, and here. This is just a snippet of it […]

  32. Brian Says:

    I loved this post, very well thought out and articulated. The only issue I have is with J. P.
    I don’t disagree with what he is saying but with how he has said it. He couldn’t get any less Christ-like even if he wanted to. Any souls lost to hell after interacting with him while he displayed such an attitude will be on his head and he will have to answer for it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,035 other followers

%d bloggers like this: