Thoughts on apologetics and theological discussions

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Hamilton Ramos | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 7 2021 11:53 AM | Locked

Ok, getting back to the subject of the thread, I found a very useful resource that unfortunately is not in Logos.

Morley, Brian K. Mapping Apologetics: Comparing Contemporary Approaches. Downers Grove, Illinois: IVP Academic, an imprint of Intervarsity Press, 2015.

Lovely diagrammatic synthesis of the different approaches to apologetics. 

Maybe a future apologetics guide can follow a mind map like approach using a diagram like the one found in Morley's book, so that one can follow up on the sub topics.

So, from my perspective, comparing the story of origen of the world and our present historical context as formulated in a Biblical worldview, makes more sense than the origen of the world found in the narratives of the other worldviews.

Then the meaning of our present condition, makes more sense when understand that is due to a fallen condition, due to our desire to operate independent of God.

Then our destiny: God opens His arms to any that wants to go back in track with His original life project for us: to live in constant communion with Him (for help and direction), and to live in harmony with Creation.

The rebellion against Him, where creatures want to live independently of Him, obviously is not working.

Now as Mr. Morley mentions in his book, experience as apologetic has not being developed and communicated intensively.

I see in the Biblical worldview that many humans had real experience with God, being such events, the basis on which the traditions rose.

So what is ultimate reality, (God's of course), and how do we know is true? By experience seems to be a good candidate.

Jesus does not lie, and the Bible cannot be broken:

John 14:23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. ESV

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Hamilton Ramos | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 7 2021 12:20 PM | Locked

David Wanat:
It seems to me that “Churchianity” can be a loaded term used to make ad hominem attacks. So I’d be careful in using it.

Maybe there is something that needs to be brought to the foreground for the understanding and edification of the sheep?

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Churchianity

Are we commanded to love God with all our mind? which would include honest self-assessment to see we are not missing the mark?

Is critical thinking something God wants us as believers to engage on, and mostly to check our praxis?

I guess all of this is also part of apologetics, because before you can talk to the least, the last, and the lost about God, we need to check that our theological constructs and orthopraxis do jibe with revealed truth in the Bible and consonant with the Character and Nature of God.

I would be more careful of not coming across as someone that stifles Synagogue Berean attitudes of checking things to see if they are so.

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David Wanat | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 7 2021 12:39 PM | Locked

Hamilton Ramos:

David Wanat:
It seems to me that “Churchianity” can be a loaded term used to make ad hominem attacks. So I’d be careful in using it.

Maybe there is something that needs to be brought to the foreground for the understanding and edification of the sheep?

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Churchianity

Are we commanded to love God with all our mind? which would include honest self-assessment to see we are not missing the mark?

Is critical thinking something God wants us as believers to engage on, and mostly to check our praxis?

I guess all of this is also part of apologetics, because before you can talk to the least, the last, and the lost about God, we need to check that our theological constructs and orthopraxis do jibe with revealed truth in the Bible and consonant with the Character and Nature of God.

I would be more careful of not coming across as someone that stifles Synagogue Berean attitudes of checking things to see if they are so.

Interestingly enough, the Wiktionary entry recognizes it as a derogatory term. So, perhaps it’s not in keeping with the commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves to use it?

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Hamilton Ramos | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 7 2021 3:25 PM | Locked

David Wanat:
Interestingly enough, the Wiktionary entry recognizes it as a derogatory term. So, perhaps it’s not in keeping with the commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves to use it?

Now you got me confused. From all posters you were one of the principals talking about TRUTH, the ultimate goal of apologetics.

But then when a blind spot appears, in which all of us may be at fault, then is politically incorrect to call it to foreground?

So is it the same with Sin, Hell, Hypocrisy, etc.?

Churchianity is a sin that we must repent of. We all need to identify it and see to what extent it is present in our traditions. By itself is not a problem, because we do have to have a system to perpetuate the tradition.

Proper response is to fast and pray and to strike a balance pleasing to God in our particular circumstance: should we move to 70% outreach discipleship, and only allow 30% to stay for churchianity purposes?

Each case will be different and God can understand the particular situation of each.

What is not acceptable is to turn the eye the other way and say: do not mention such concept because is politically incorrect. And even worst not analyze if we are guilty of it, and if we are, not trying to improve the situation to be more consonant with God's requirements.

I am glad that David Paul engaged us in robust exchange, because most of the times that is where real key issues come to light.

The whole experience has opened new research areas for me, and I am glad, I can say that the experience has help me edify more. 

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 7 2021 4:13 PM | Locked

I do not appreciate having my thread hijacked for insults.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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David Wanat | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 7 2021 4:33 PM | Locked

Hamilton Ramos:

David Wanat:
Interestingly enough, the Wiktionary entry recognizes it as a derogatory term. So, perhaps it’s not in keeping with the commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves to use it?

Now you got me confused. From all posters you were one of the principals talking about TRUTH, the ultimate goal of apologetics.

But then when a blind spot appears, in which all of us may be at fault, then is politically incorrect to call it to foreground?

It's one thing to express concern over an issue. It's quite another to use a derogatory blanket term for it. "Churchianity" is one such term. "Politically incorrect" is another. These only seek to discredit the target of the term.

I've already pointed out my opinion that the Greatest Commandment—especially charity towards others—needs to be taught when doing apologetics or polemics. Perhaps that should include this discussion.

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DIsciple II | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 7 2021 5:48 PM | Locked

David how does Peter’s charge fit into what you say is clear from the Luke passage?

1 Peter 3:15 (NASB95): but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.

Peter says we should always be ready with a defence, an apology, for the faith within us. 
 

Theology can be abused as much as you suggest apologetics can be so should we abandon theology also? Done well apologetics is simply asking beginning with what do I believe and moving forward the question of why do I believe it. God created us with free will and the ability to reason. With that ability that sets us apart from the rest of creation we do both theology and apologetics.

Without even thinking about it you have given your own apologetics here for why you believe what you believe. You have given a defense in order to justify the position you hold. 

The Luke passage you raise is something we should consider in terms of what Jesus meant to those whom he spoke and then consider how they might apply to us today. But given Peter after he had most likely heard Jesus speak these words under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that we should be ready to given an apology for the faith within us, I am not sure that I would conclude Jesus was meaning Apologetics was offensive to God. After all Jesus gave an apologetic from the scriptures of who he was and what he had come to do on the road to Emmaus post resurrection, on what those disciples  should believe about him and why they should believe it.

David Paul:

Hamilton Ramos:
Jesus did not seem to be upset when disciples wanted to know more about the Kingdom, God, the prophecies, etc. On the contrary, He provided much needed guidance, and expects of His disciples to teach His commands, which may entail giving reason the why of some.

Explaining YHWH and His purposes and intentions is perfectly fine; it's even obligatory. Defending YHWH is abhorrent to Him. Lk. 21:14-15 NASB95 seems to be a pretty clear injunction against prepared defenses.

Hamilton Ramos:
Apologetics helps provide a framework to analyze faith.

Does it? It seems to attempt much more, wandering into inappropriate realms. It seems to muddy waters rather than clear the air. Specifically, it seems to be a tool (which some might perceive as a weapon) for particularized self-justification. There are other -ologies that are better suited to appropriately occupy people's attention. Bibliology and theology are two that come to mind.

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Hamilton Ramos | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 7 2021 6:52 PM | Locked

David Wanat:
It's one thing to express concern over an issue. It's quite another to use a derogatory blanket term for it. "Churchianity" is one such term. "Politically incorrect" is another. These only seek to discredit the target of the term.

The concept of focusing too much on things not aligned with the great commission is clear, so when there is an inordinate concentration in the institution itself, in detriment of trying to meet, and explain the viability of Christianity to people that needs it, what name would you give it?

David Paul disagrees with having pre-fabricated arguments, trying to justify systems that do not seem to jibe with the commission thrust of the Bible. What would be the right conceptual names for the whole problem identified there?

What would be the appropriate conceptual names for overwatching to see that institutions align well with what Christ ordered to do?

Would the same be a required part of apologetics to arrive at truth? Or is religion a matter of overwatching individual believers with no checking if the institutions that they are associated with are well aligned with Christ's teaching?

What would be an alternative to a derogatory blanket term? unfaithfulness to the mission called for by Christ in structural and organizational endeavors?

How to properly deal with such problem, and is it a part of the confusion about apologetics?

Is the faith in us the one to be defended, or is it systems, structures, and the like that have built around such faith? 

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 7 2021 7:01 PM | Locked

Please drop it guys -- this thread was intended to expose the different definitions of apologetics that user have for the purpose of determining whether or not it would be possible to propose an apologetics guide that would be useful to a broad swath of users. It has moved so far from that to have ceased to be of any use for its intended purpose. I wish that as the OP, I had the ability to block posts after the thread gets derailed.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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DIsciple II | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 7 2021 7:11 PM | Locked

MJ. Smith:
I wish that as the OP, I had the ability to block posts after the thread gets derailed.
 

Be careful what you wish for...censorship is not the beautiful thing it might appear to be right now.

When a can of worms get's opened you have to be prepared to accept what might crawl out. And what is crawling out is an answer to your original question - A broad swath of users are going to have a broad swatch of opinions on an apologetics guide. Same as they do on the Theology Guide and the Counselling Guide - but we have them so I think there is value in an apologetics guide, there is most likely a silent broad swath of users who would find it useful to varying degrees or not use it at all and that's fine. 

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, May 8 2021 4:45 AM | Locked

DIsciple II:
Theology can be abused as much as you suggest apologetics can be so should we abandon theology also? Done well apologetics is simply asking beginning with what do I believe and moving forward the question of why do I believe it.

I've already said that explanation is needful and necessary. If that's all "apologia" is, great. But in practice, it often isn't. Call it "malpractice" if you want, but as one whose tendency is to defer to etymological foundations against the backlash and resistance of people who are "words are how they're used in practice" types (MJ has taken this side of the argument with me on occasion), the tables are hereby being turned. If much of what is marketed as apologetics isn't apologetics, then which one is right? The one adhering to original intent, or the one who is winning the practice war? That may just be a philosophical question, but the need to see what's what (from the Bible's perspective) and behave as expected (YHWH's expectations) remains the ultimate goal. My point is that semantic disputes aside, the "defending" aspect of "apo- // logia" (which is a very odd derivative semantic construct given the root meanings) is fraught with the potential for mishandling, which might well result in potentially negative outcomes for the persons who are engaging in active "defense". Just to be clear, doing the wrong thing for the "right" reasons almost always leads to loss--often a complete loss (of salvation), though occasionally it may receive a diminished salvation. With YHWH, good intentions only go so far and occasionally that isn't far enough. My ultimate point is that apologetics is potentially dangerous, and should be handled with supreme care. Assuming that "defending" is innocuous may have unintended and potentially drastic consequences.

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David Wanat | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, May 8 2021 5:42 AM | Locked

David Paul:

DIsciple II:
Theology can be abused as much as you suggest apologetics can be so should we abandon theology also? Done well apologetics is simply asking beginning with what do I believe and moving forward the question of why do I believe it.

I've already said that explanation is needful and necessary. If that's all "apologia" is, great. But in practice, it often isn't. Call it "malpractice" if you want, but as one whose tendency is to defer to etymological foundations against the backlash and resistance of people who are "words are how they're used in practice" types (MJ has taken this side of the argument with me on occasion), the tables are hereby being turned. If much of what is marketed as apologetics isn't apologetics, then which one is right? The one adhering to original intent, or the one who is winning the practice war? That may just be a philosophical question, but the need to see what's what (from the Bible's perspective) and behave as expected (YHWH's expectations) remains the ultimate goal. My point is that semantic disputes aside, the "defending" aspect of "apo- // logia" (which is a very odd derivative semantic construct given the root meanings) is fraught with the potential for mishandling, which might well result in potentially negative outcomes for the persons who are engaging in active "defense". Just to be clear, doing the wrong thing for the "right" reasons almost always leads to loss--often a complete loss (of salvation), though occasionally it may receive a diminished salvation. With YHWH, good intentions only go so far and occasionally that isn't far enough. My ultimate point is that apologetics is potentially dangerous, and should be handled with supreme care. Assuming that "defending" is innocuous may have unintended and potentially drastic consequences.

abusus non tollit usum 

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DMB | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, May 8 2021 6:52 AM | Locked

David Wanat:
abusus non tollit usum 

For those wanting or even needing excellent debating tools:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Latin_phrases_(A) 

Not reflecting on Mr Wanat, but randomly selecting one of these, keeping a poker-face, and adding nothing else in the phrase, is extremely effective. It places in doubt exactly who is missing a screw.

abyssus abyssum invocat

Psa 42:7

ok ... back to apo-logetics.

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Hamilton Ramos | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, May 8 2021 7:49 AM | Locked

Disciple II posted:

“…I think there is value in an apologetics guide, there is most likely a silent broad swath of users who would find it useful to varying degrees or not use it at all and that's fine. “

Agree.

David Paul posted:

“… but the need to see what's what (from the Bible's perspective) and behave as expected (YHWH's expectations) remains the ultimate goal.”

Right on.

David Wanat posted:

abusus non tollit usum “

So true.

DMB posted:

“…For those wanting or even needing excellent debating tools:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Latin_phrases_(A) “

Thanks DMB.

 

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David Wanat | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, May 8 2021 8:07 AM | Locked

DMB:

Not reflecting on Mr Wanat, but randomly selecting one of these, keeping a poker-face, and adding nothing else in the phrase, is extremely effective. It places in doubt exactly who is missing a screw.

Well, acta est fabula plaudite to you, pal!

😉

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DMB | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, May 8 2021 9:12 AM | Locked

David Wanat:
acta est fabula plaudite

Sophisticated choice! Latin from the greek. Indeed a wink is appropriate.

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David Wanat | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, May 8 2021 9:23 AM | Locked

DMB:

David Wanat:
acta est fabula plaudite

Sophisticated choice! Latin from the greek. Indeed a wink is appropriate.

moreover, Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur

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DMB | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, May 8 2021 9:34 AM | Locked

David Wanat:
Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur

Cool

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Greg Dement | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, May 8 2021 10:09 AM | Locked

MJ, I hate that you feel this thread has gone in the wrong direction. I loved the goal of your thread when you started it and still do and hope this discussion can ultimately only strengthen the goal. I truly hope this banter doesn’t derail you.

I have found the banter fruitful, at least for me. Unless I am reading their tones incorrectly the discussion has been respectful with some occasional light-hearted sarcasm. There are some points of view I don’t agree with but they have made me look with different eyes. It makes me realize that we can take something purely good and turn it into something that is not if we are not careful. I like to be tested/challenged to make sure I have the proper guardrails in place. 

A follow up question for David Paul. Regarding your comment: 

“Explaining YHWH and His purposes and intentions is perfectly fine; it's even obligatory. Defending YHWH is abhorrent to Him. Lk. 21:14-15 NASB95 seems to be a pretty clear injunction against prepared defenses.”

I genuinely want to know your thought process to where you deduce that “defending YHWH is abhorrent to him”?  Is it possible to see that this was when Jesus was warning them of persecution and destruction to come and giving them comfort about not having to worry about how to defend themselves if they are arrested? Does it give you any different perspecitve if you parallel with “specific“ context in Mark 13:11?

11 “When they arrest you and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but it is the Holy Spirit. (Mk 13:11)

 Regardless, I appreciate weighing your perspectives on things.

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DIsciple II | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, May 8 2021 2:41 PM | Locked

DMB:

David Wanat:
abusus non tollit usum 

For those wanting or even needing excellent debating tools:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Latin_phrases_(A) 

Not reflecting on Mr Wanat, but randomly selecting one of these, keeping a poker-face, and adding nothing else in the phrase, is extremely effective. It places in doubt exactly who is missing a screw.

abyssus abyssum invocat

Psa 42:7

ok ... back to apo-logetics.

People think it makes them look superior as well as it being a good way to deflecting away from the topic. 

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