Should Preachers be Apologetic?
Saints and Sceptics
In an interesting article Glen Scrivener has warned Christians of the danger of apologetic preaching – or, at least, some forms of apologetic preaching – and has defended his position with some thoughtful, well reasoned comments.
If by “apologetics” a preacher just means “engaging, warm-hearted and well- contextualised evangelism” then I couldn’t care less about the name. Let them pursue “apologetics” to their heart’s content! But if “apologetics” is brought in as another thing alongside engaging, contextualised evangelism then alarm bells start to go off.
What exactly is Glen opposed to? Well, generally he’d avoid offering arguments for God’s existence or the historical ‘likelihood’ of Jesus’ resurrection in a sermon. Now, sermons should not be lectures, and too many preachers are more interested in being academically correct and intellectually respectable than communicating with their audience. However, many preachers feel that it can be useful to make use of such arguments; and we think that they are right to do so.
With that in mind, we’ll address some of Glen’s concerns. But we would like to note that this is a disagreement between friends (family, really); that Glen has been articulate and more than generous in his online discussion; and that there are many points of agreement between Glen and us. (For example – we don’t believe that anyone needs to know an academically rigorous proof before to have a thoroughly rational, well-grounded belief in our saviour!) However, we think that Glen is just anxious to protect crucial doctrines which are not threatened by good apologetics.
So, what are Glen’s arguments against preachers using arguments?
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