Practical Apologetics : The Peter Principle
The Christian Geek
I have written in the past about the dangers of abandoning apologetics in the Church (see: Apologetics: Never Having to Say You’re Sorry). In that article I had taken issue with the number of believers who rely on a blind faith rather than being able to “give an account for the hope that is within you,” as Peter put it (1 Peter 3:15). Another part of the problem is the mental connection that apologetics has with academia. Not only does this connection tend to relegate apologetics to higher education or the clergy, it also compartmentalizes apologetics into an intellectual or theoretical endeavor that does not have real and practical use for the layman. I have the highest respect for the professional apologist, and indeed, rely on their knowledge and research. I also think that without a practical application for all Christians, the field would be nothing more than knowledge for knowledge’s sake.
Unfortunately, far too few laymen know enough about was apologetics is – much less the actual arguments themselves – to make practical use of it. As I write this, we are coming into the Christmas season. This is one of the two times of year that we begin seeing special after special on channels like Discovery or History about the holiday. These shows speak much to the historical events of Christmas or Easter and devote a great deal of effort to show us the “historical Jesus.”
Sounds good, right?
What could be better than understanding Jesus within His historical context? After all, isn’t that one of the key rules for interpreting scripture? Interpret it within the context of the author and the audience? Plus, we get the benefit of analysis by professional historians and theologians. Except you are not getting what you expect. With near certainty what you get is what I like to call a “Holiday hit-piece.” Yes, you do get plenty of scriptural references to place the historical setting or discussion.
However, mixed in with scripture – and giving equal weight as scripture – are references to things like The Gospel of Thomas, The Infancy Gospel of Matthew, The Gospel of James.
What are these other “scriptures” to which these scholars refer?
And why do the scholars keep questioning the accuracy of the Bible with regard to these other “forgotten” scriptures?
Why do they keep questioning whether Jesus really did or did not say something?
At the end of the show, you could very well be doubting where we even got our Bibles. The other popular subject of these types of shows is presenting the “historical” Jesus. Now that the biblical account is in question, what do we really know about the “real” Jesus? What did he really say and do Where and how was he born? Sometimes you even find the show questioning if he ever even really lived. The documentary will typically leave you with either the declaration we cannot know anything about the real Jesus or that everything you knew about him is wrong…
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