Thursday, November 12, 2009

Confusing Conversations 8: The apologetic imperative.

Apologetics is an important discipline. We should consider carefully how to answer questions that the non-believer might have concerning biblical truths that we hold. Yet we should never hold truths just so that our apologetic response would be easier.
I've come across people from both sides of the creationist/theistic evolution debate who use as an argument for holding their position that it is an apologetic imperative.

The creationist might say, "It is an apologetic imperative that we hold to a six day creation. If we take a non-literal reading of Genesis Chapter One, the very first chapter of the bible, it will be impossibly complicated to then argue why we insist on taking a literal reading of the virgin birth, the sacrificial death and the bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus. I just don't think that I'd be able to explain that to my next door neighbour."

The theistic evolutionist might say, "It is an apologetic imperative that we hold to an old earth, and some form of macro-evolution. There is such clear scientific evidence for them that if we don't follow that evidence where they lead, we will show ourselves to be obscurantists; I don't think I could even get a sounding for the gospel if I were to believe things like that."

Now, once one has decided whether or not one is going to take a literalistic view of Genesis 1, one could use these arguments to show why you think that view makes an important difference to your apologetics. But you should never start with the apologetic ease of a position and then decide whether you will hold it or not.

We should first be convinced by the text of Scripture one way or another, and then begin to think through the apologetic implications. Truth first, and then its defence.

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