Friday, December 09, 2011

Supporting apologetics

Some comments I left at Wintery Knight's blog  

stephennhays says: 12/07/2011 at 8:58 PM 

Ironically, Mike Singer has to do apologetics in the very process of demoting apologetics. When he tries to defend charity as the Christian priority, when he tries to make a case for his position, he’s doing apologetics. It’s just that he’s trying to prove something different.  

In addition, telling Christians that charity ought to be their priority, even if that were true, takes for granted that you have Christians in the first place. But without apologetics, you don’t win as many converts to the faith, and you don’t retain as many.  

Finally, reducing the true faith to charity is a classically leftward move that eventually empties the church. At that point, charity is co-opted by secular charities like the United Way.  

stephennhays says: 12/08/2011 at 1:37 PM 

Asking us to prooftext apologetics is like asking us to prooftext evangelism or discipleship. Apologetics is a type of evangelism, a type of discipleship. When, in Acts, the Apostles reason from Messianic prophecy, that’s both apologetics and evangelism. When the author of Hebrews argues with congregants about not abandoning the faith, that’s apologetics and discipleship. Quite a few NT epistles defend the true faith against false teachers. That’s apologetics. 

stephennhays says: 12/08/2011 at 4:36 PM 

Mike Singer says: “Again – I am not against critical thinking or apologetics using a secular argument secular apologetics is your gift then do it by all means. To place apologist at the same level as a apostle is again not scriptural.”  

Now you’re moving the goalpost. This wasn’t a question of putting an uninspired apologist on “the same level” as an apostle, but documenting the practice of apologetics among apostles and NT writers. That supplies NT precedent.  

Moreover, your argument either proves too much or too little. By your logic, we shouldn’t pay pastors or evangelists, for that would be putting an uninspired preacher on “the same level” as an apostle.  

stephennhays says: 12/09/2011 at 8:39 AM 

Mike Singer says: “I dont see ANY scriptures presenting to a case to atheists – sorry to say.”  

I don’t see ANY scriptures in which 21st century Canadians or Americans or Australians present the gospel to 21st century atheists living in the New World. I only see commands given to 1st century residents of the Roman Empire. So I guess that you and I can skip evangelism.  

“Where does it say to pay pastors / evanglelists ? If you have scripture – it would be great to see it.”  

I see you can’t follow your own argument. You indicated that paying apologists put them on the same level as apostles. By parity of argument, paying pastors/evangelists puts them on the same level as apostles. My argument isn’t predicated on a duty to pay pastors/evangelists. Rather, it’s an argument from analogy, based on your own premise. In future, try to keep track of your own argument.  

(Mind you, I could mount an exegetical argument for paid clergy, but that’s a side issue at the moment.)  

“To be a “Christian” there means something and has a cost to the tune of your life as well as your families. History shows – the Body of Christ is most effective under persecution.”  

Well, that sounds very brave behind the safety of your computer keyboard. Why don’t you put that into practice by purchasing a ticket to Mecca or N. Korea or Iran and then begin evangelizing the locals. See how far you get.  

BTW, when are you going to stop talking about our duty to provide for the poor, and lead by example? Why don’t you sell your computer and give the proceeds to the poor?


  1. Stephen,

    I purposely keep "my sword" sheathed with the brothers. If you need further explanation than that please let me know.

    If you would like to send a “exegetical argument” based on scripture for paid clergy. I would really like to see it. My email is

    Btw, here is something to consider rather than being presumptuous in moving out to do "great things" for Christ.

    Matt 9:38
    therefore "pray" earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest

    matt 14:28
    Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "TELL ME" to come to you on the water."

    Matt 28:19
    Therefore go and "make disciples" of all nations

    There is a vast difference between a churchgoer and a disciple.
    Not all Christians are disciples.
    There is plenty of evangelist - plenty !!! There are very few "real" disciples / overcomers (Check out Rev 2 & 3).
    God can accomplish more with "1" obedient person than 5000 lukewarm churchgoers who wont deny themself, pick up their cross, and follow Him.

    In regards to evangelists- if that is your calling to the atheist. Then do it...I dont see it in the scriptures.

    There are other gifts than evangelism for the building of the Body of Christ ( the term is used only two more times - in reference to Timothy and Philip)- THATS IT.

    Ephesians 4:11
     11And he gave some to be apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

    Btw, a couple of reasons why "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world" James 1:27 and a couple of other places is:

    - it is Gods nature to defend the poor, meek, helpless - those who cant defend or help themself.

    - it is "unassailable" testimony to the world. If you really want to "get to " a atheist or anyone else. It will cast coals of fire on their thinking. Righteous deeds are a weapon.
    2 Cor 6:7 in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left;

    As mentioned earlier and this is personal experience:
    -God loves the meek/low and resist the proud
    -God pays for what He orders.
    -He is the richest Jew in the universe



  2. If you spent more time actually looking after the poor and the orphan, you'd have less time to spend online lecturing other Christians on their alleged failure to look after the poor and the orphan.

  3. Steve, I've noticed on several of your posts that you do not post a link to the material you reference when it is another blog. Is this because you find the content objectionable and want to discourage others from visiting it? Or is there some other reason?

  4. Sometimes I link, sometimes I don't. Depends on what they'd find if I sent them there.

  5. This seems to be the pop view of evangelicalism today. It drives me nuts.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. What do you mean ? Please explain.

    Btw, you probably already know this but 1 & 2 Tim is written by Paul to Timothy who was a evangelist.

  8. No, I'm not against evangelism, I was referring to the movement known as "evangelicalism", and the advocates separate apologetics from evangelism, mostly due to their piecemeal approach to the bible.

  9. Allow me to ask what did John the Baptist, Christ and the apostles teach ?

  10. I have to confess, I am having a hard time "tracking" despite a web search. There aren't any examples.

    Would you be so kind as to give a couple of examples ?

  11. "Allow me to ask what did John the Baptist, Christ and the apostles teach ?"

    They taught many things, you'll have to be more specific with your question.

    Would you be so kind as to give a couple of examples ?"

    Good place to start

  12. Mike Singer keeps ignoring points that were made in the initial discussion Steve quoted. I won't repeat everything I and other posters wrote there, but I'll reinforce a few of the points that were made.

    As I mentioned in that thread, we gauge our efforts according to our circumstances if scripture allows us to do so. For example, the Bible says a lot about pagan gods that were popular in Biblical times. Does it follow that we should say as much about those gods in our context? No, since they aren't as popular today. Similarly, we don't determine how much to say about atheism just by looking at how much the Bible addresses the subject. Let's use the example of caring for the poor and other popular charitable works. Let's say that a particular disease was widespread in Biblical times, whereas it's nonexistent or much less common in today's world. Should our efforts to care for people suffering from that disease be the same today as in the Biblical context? No. If the Bible supports the use of a lot of resources to care for people with that disease, it doesn't follow that we should be using the same amount of resources in response to the same disease today. If people in Biblical times took three days to make a particular journey, whereas we can make the same journey in a few hours because of advances in technology, then our time management is going to be different than the time management of people who lived during the Biblical era. And so on. When comparing things like giving money to a ministry to the poor and giving money to an apologetics ministry, we have to take into account factors like how much of a need there is in a given context and how much other people are giving to each ministry. It's not enough to just cite some Biblical passages about giving to the poor, then mention a supposed lack of such passages about apologetics, without taking other factors into account. The Bible commands us to be wise. Being simplistic isn't a virtue.

    (continued below)

  13. (continued from above)

    Another point I made to Mike in the other thread, and he keeps ignoring this point as well, is that caring for the poor, widows, orphans, etc. involves apologetics. It's not as though people who are suffering don't have minds. To the contrary, some apologetic issues, like the problem of evil and evidence for the existence of and the nature of an afterlife, often arise as a result of a context of suffering.

    As we documented in the other thread, apologetic work was common during the Biblical era and is often commended by scripture. And there are many Biblical passages that encourage financial support and other forms of support for Christian workers and for good works in general, without limiting that support to particular types of workers and types of work. Jesus and His disciples received support (Luke 8:3), and that support would have been used for a large variety of purposes, including work of an apologetic nature. We're often told to give, to share, etc. (Romans 12, for example) without being told that we should only do so to benefit the poor, that we should only do so in non-apologetic contexts, or some other such qualifier. John encourages us to be "workers with the truth" by supporting Christian laborers (3 John 5-8), and I see no way to limit that principle to non-apologetic ministry to the poor or some other such thing. If the Bible has a lot of apologetic content, often commends apologetic work (Acts 18:27-28, 1 Peter 3:15), describes apologetic work as part of the early church's ministry (Acts 18:4, 19:9-10), etc., then what sense does it make to say that we shouldn't financially support apologetic work?

    If Mike is claiming that we need a Biblical passage directly telling us to give money to apologetic ministries, then why are we supposed to believe that? Is there a Biblical passage that directly tells Mike to post in online forums? His Blogger profile shows him with a dog. Is that a pet? Is there a Biblical passage that directly tells Mike that he can or should own a pet dog? Are all of Mike's uses of time, money, and other resources directly addressed by scripture? Or does he rely on implications and more nuanced reasoning, unlike what he's doing with apologetics?

  14. I will be more than happy to address your comments from the WK thread. I didnt realize they were there and WK shut the thread down.

    As a kind remeinder - this in response to support "apologetics" vs. "the poor".

    Here is from the original thread:

    "You’re telling us what scripture says based largely on the work of textual scholars and other individuals who have labored to produce your copies of the Bible. They rely on the same sort of reasoning and evidence that apologists appeal to."

    Yes and your point is ? I guess the question is did they paid or how were their needs met ? Please share some scriptural or historical insight since I am not aware of scholars who received tithes over the poor.

    You write:

    “Paul was a apostle (apostolos – a ambassador with miraculous power). Are there any apologists today with ‘miraculous power’?”

    "There are many miracles in the world today, including ones performed by, or in the lives of, Christians. See Craig Keener’s recent two-volume work, Miracles (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2011)."

    I am not discounting miracles. Heck, I am waiting and praying for the "greater works". As mentioned - i dont own the book. Could drop a couple of names of Christian "apologists" ( who title themselves as "apologists"). Im addition, I am not saying there are prophets or apostles who use "apologetics" or arguments. But those who go by "apologists" If that doesnt make sense then re-read and pray for understanding.

    "And your claim about Paul is a historical claim..... That underscores, rather than undermining, the importance of apologetics in the modern world."

    I dont understand. Could you reframe this for me. I am not saying apologetics is important. But to give over the poor without being directed by the Lord isnt scriptural and to argue without scripture for it - places one on thin ice. Again if you have scripture to give to "apologist". Being Jewish and reading the OT/NT I dont see it. I see in the OT tithes given to the priest and a totally different giving which is "sharing" in the NT.

    You write:

    “Paul spoke only once as a apologist to a public crowd about the existence of God in Acts 17 and never, never never again.”

    Your qualifiers don’t make sense. Apologetics isn’t just about “the existence of God” (a subject Paul also addresses elsewhere, like in Romans 1), and apologetics isn’t just done for “public crowds”. Paul frequently reasons with people and presents evidence for his conclusions (Acts 17:2-3, 18:4, etc.). He frequently appeals to fulfilled prophecy, witnesses to the resurrection, his own miracles, and other forms of evidence.

    I agree with you on this but they asked Paul to speak in a religious setting as Paul noted.

    Acts 17:19 - And taking him, they led him to the Areopagus,

    v. 22" I perceive that in all things you are very religious."

    This was Paul speaking about the "existence" of Yahweh and Messiah vs other gods. This is seen in writing to the church of Cornith.
    1 Corinthians 1:17-24

    17For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with the wisdom of speech, in order that the cross of Christ may not be made of none effect.
    For the word of the cross is foolishness indeed to those who are lost; but to those who are saved it is the power of God.
    For it has been written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nought the understanding of the intelligent.
    Where is the wise man? where is the scribe? where is the investigator of this age? has not God rendered the wisdom of the world foolishness?
    For since in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, God was pleased through the foolishness of preaching to save those who believe.
    Since indeed the Jews ask for miracles, and the Greeks seek after wisdom;

    Yes, people followed Paul as seen in v34. Got it ?
    However, it was Pauls custom to go to Synagouges.

  15. PART II

    You write:

    “After that he went to to the synagoge and the temple( preached Christ crucified 1 Corinthians 1:23 & 1 Corinthians 2:2 and every other scripture – he was in the temple).”

    "Those synagogues weren’t Christian synagogues. Even if they were, so what? Apologetics can be done in both Christian and non-Christian environments. What’s the relevance of Paul’s location when he did these things?"

    SEE ABOVE - As mentioned it was Pauls custom to preach in the synagoge. When the opportunity to talk to other such as the Jewish priest, Felix, or even Ceasar, he never presented the existence of God but righteous, temperance, and the coming Judgement to the Gentiles.

    And “Christ crucified” involved evidential concepts, like whether Jesus was the prophesied Christ and whether He was crucified. "

    No they didn't have NT they had the OT which is just as even more valid than the eyewitness of the transfiguration:
    1 peter 1
    and this voice we--we did hear, out of heaven borne, being with him in the holy mount.
    "And we have more firm the prophetic word", to which we do well giving heed.

    Going a picking a secular fight based on science is not recommended by Paul in his writing to Timothy ( Science proving apologists dont like this one but if that is your gift - go for it)

    1 Tim 6:20-21

    O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:
    Which some professing have erred concerning the faith.

    The prophetic word is the OT.

    "You go on to cite Biblical passages about caring for the poor and such. I’ve addressed those in my response to John Ruffle elsewhere in this thread. I’ll add that we need to gauge our efforts according to the context in which we live. The ancient world didn’t have an equivalent to the large system of charity that we have today. "

    As stated by Gibbons - the early Christian church did more to change the lives of criminals, prostitues, and the poor than any other social program to date. And they did this without $$$$ to apologists or scholars .

    I guess one could say if things dont go your ways - try going Gods way. It is a heck of a lot easier.

    If this helps, there isnt one that takes precedence over the other. To suggest otherwise is "Judas" ( there are tares among the wheat remember ?). As mentioned earlier, God pays for what He orders and He promised to meet our needs ( ie not wants) as mentioned in Matt 6:6-34.

    When we ( the body of Christ) get our act together and act as "one" - I speak for myself also) and love our brother as ourselves then the world will believe. Till then it is "Babylon" ( which means confusion). Jesus mentioned this in John 17

    "that all of them may be one", Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so "that the world may believe that you have sent me".

    A great example is in Acts 4

    and of the multitude of those who did believe the heart and the soul was one, and not one was saying that anything of the things he had was his own, but all things were to them in common.

    And with great power were the apostles giving the testimony to the rising again of the Lord Jesus, great grace also was on them all,

    for there was not any one among them who did lack, for as many as were possessors of fields, or houses, selling them , were bringing the prices of the thing sold,

    "and were laying them at the feet of the apostles, and distribution was being made to each according as any one had need"

    If anyone has a scripture for NT tithing it would be great to see.


    Mike & Titan ( my collie)

  16. Btw, my collie ( aka Titan) is the only thing I have left after a 17 year CA divorce which cost me everything ( house, career, savings, ie everything to defend myself). I wont go into details, but evil has a element of stupidity ( as crucifying Christ bought redemption to mankind). I have been left carless, homeless, and everything else in between. The saving grace is this brought me into a serious relationship with God as well as day by day walk as He graciously opens doors to provide daily needs for my dog and me ( ie complete strangers approaching me - telling me "God instructed me "). Trust me when I say God pays for what He orders.

    As one Christian brother to another - keep your sword in your sheath and really pray / meditate before answering. It isnt Christ like or in nature to do ad-hominem - let alone a dog. Chances are I am little bit older than you and know a little bit better to answer that way as I could use scripture as a ad - hominem but don't. God would take me to the wood-shed for doing that to a younger brother in Christ.

    With that said - here is one that I hope helps.

    Check out Joel 2:7 -8 ( notice vs. 8)

    They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks:

    "Neither shall one thrust another"; they shall walk every one in his path: and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded.


    Mike & Titan

  17. Jason,

    Is the the definition of apologetics as you mentioned ?

    "like the problem of evil and evidence for the existence of and the nature of an afterlife, often arise as a result of a context of suffering"

    Allow me ask the "obvious":

    - scripture used for the "problem of evil" ?
    - Evidence of existence or reason for man using scripture ?
    - any scripture to prove the existence of Yahweh using science in OT / NT ?
    - What is the scriptural viewpoint of the "afterlife"

    Feel free to use OT/NT ( both would be ideal).


    Mike & Titan & Macbook Pro

  18. Mike said:

    "Please share some scriptural or historical insight since I am not aware of scholars who received tithes over the poor."

    I didn't say anything about tithes, and I didn't limit my comments to scholars. I wasn't even addressing funding. I was addressing the apologetic reasoning that produced the Bible you keep quoting.

    As far as "receiving tithes over the poor" is concerned, scripture doesn't tell us to give only to the poor. Rather, money and other resources are given for a large variety of purposes, with support of the poor being one of them rather than the only one. When the finances of the Jewish people went to support the temple system and maintain a military, for example, those recipients of that money weren't "receiving tithes over the poor" in the sense that the poor received nothing. Rather, the money went to multiple causes.

    You wrote:

    "Im addition, I am not saying there are prophets or apostles who use 'apologetics' or arguments. But those who go by 'apologists' If that doesnt make sense then re-read and pray for understanding."

    Reread what? Your comments? Pray for understanding of what?

    You need to make more of an effort to communicate coherently. Sometimes you don't give us much of an indication of who or what you're responding to, you don't do enough to distinguish your comments from the comments of others, you frequently misspell words, you leave words out, your responses often don't have much relation to the comments you're supposed to be interacting with, etc.

    (continued below)

  19. (continued from above)

    You wrote:

    "I agree with you on this but they asked Paul to speak in a religious setting as Paul noted."

    Since the issue is whether Paul did apologetic work, it's irrelevant for you to respond by saying that he did his apologetic work in a religious context. It's apologetic work either way.

    You keep mentioning atheism, as if that's the only context in which apologetics is done. You've been corrected on that point repeatedly, by more than one person. Apologetics isn't limited to the context of atheism.

    You wrote:

    "As mentioned it was Pauls custom to preach in the synagoge. When the opportunity to talk to other such as the Jewish priest, Felix, or even Ceasar, he never presented the existence of God but righteous, temperance, and the coming Judgement to the Gentiles."

    As I mentioned in the other thread, Isaiah's apologetic comments on fulfilled prophecy and other evidence for his God (Isaiah 40-53, for example) were directed at the nations and unrepentant Israel. The same is true of other prophets and other Biblical figures. Paul often did his apologetic work in synagogues, but being removed from the synagogues didn't prevent him from continuing that work (Acts 19:9-10). In the other thread, I also cited the example of Paul's appeal to evidence in Acts 26:26. Many other examples could be cited. You keep ignoring passages you've already been given, and you keep misrepresenting the issue at hand by framing the discussion in terms of "the existence of God". Again, addressing atheism isn't the only context in which apologetics occurs.

    (continued below)

  20. (continued from above)

    You wrote:

    "Going a picking a secular fight based on science is not recommended by Paul in his writing to Timothy"

    You're relying on an ambiguous translation of the passage, you're incorrectly assuming that it's referring to science as we define the term today, and you're ignoring Paul's qualifier in your own translation ("science falsely so called"). If there's false science, it doesn't follow that all science is false.

    You wrote:

    "As stated by Gibbons - the early Christian church did more to change the lives of criminals, prostitues, and the poor than any other social program to date. And they did this without $$$$ to apologists or scholars ."

    Your undocumented and vague appeal to Gibbons doesn't prove much. As Robert Wilken notes:

    "Though Celsus might make rhetorical points against Christian reliance on faith instead of reason, his more serious arguments assume that Christian thinkers wished to be judged by the same standards as others....The question of the mythological and legendary character of the Gospels did not first arise in modern times. The historical reliability of the accounts of Jesus' life was already an issue for Christian thinkers in the second century....The question of faith and history, so much a part of modern theological discourse since the Enlightenment, was also a significant part of the debate between pagans and Christians in the ancient world....Already in the second century, however, Celsus devoted part of his True Doctrine to a critical examination of the accounts of Jesus' life, and Porphyry paid even greater attention to the literary and historical analysis of the Scriptures....The primary issue in the debate over the Bible was whether the Scriptures could be considered a reliable source for the words and events they record....Pagan critics realized that the claims of the new movement [Christianity] rested upon a credible historical portrait of Jesus. Christian theologians in the early church, in contrast to medieval thinkers who began their investigations on the basis of what they received from authoritative tradition, were forced to defend the historical claims they made about the person of Jesus. What was said about Jesus could not be based solely on the memory of the Christian community or its own self-understanding." (The Christians As The Romans Saw Them [New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1984], 101, 112, 147, 203)

    (continued below)

  21. (continued from above)

    As I mentioned in our discussion in the previous thread, scripture frequently appeals to evidential concepts like fulfilled prophecy and eyewitness testimony. So do the early post-apostolic Christians. The people who did apologetic work in Biblical and post-Biblical times were often supported by money and other resources provided by other people (Luke 8:3, 10:7, 1 Corinthians 9:14, Galatians 6:6, 2 Timothy 2:6). Origen received financial support from wealthy patrons, for example, and much of his work was of an apologetic nature. His apologetic treatise Against Celsus was written at the request of one of those patrons, Ambrose.

    But we wouldn't need such examples in order to justify giving to support apologetic work. You keep acting like we can only do something if the Bible directly tells us to do it. Where's your argument for that conclusion? Not only are you wrong, but you aren't even consistent with your false standard. See the examples I cited in my earlier post (e.g., the Bible doesn't directly tell you to post in online forums, but you do it anyway).

    You wrote:

    "Btw, my collie ( aka Titan) is the only thing I have left after a 17 year CA divorce which cost me everything"

    But you go on to refer to your "Macbook Pro". And I doubt that you'd be spending so much time posting in online forums if a dog and your computer were your only possessions. How do you feed your dog? Do you never take him to a vet? Do you just sit on the side of a street somewhere with your computer and your dog? Judging from your Blogger profile picture, it looks like you have access to a shaver. And it doesn't look like you've been living in the same clothes for a long time. Your teeth don't seem to be rotting away either. Your description of your circumstances doesn't make much sense.

    That's beside the point, though. Again, where does scripture directly tell you to do things like post in online forums and have a dog?

  22. As a brotherly reminder you may want to review your "rules of engagement". I have listed them here for you.

    5. Expletives, abbreviated or not, will not be tolerated. "Ad hominem invective, as a substitute for reasoned argument, is unacceptable.

    8. Triablogue is not a host-site where you can come to revisit an old grudge match between you and a second-party, or between a second-party and a third-party, who is not the topic of the post in question.

    9. By the same token, we will not permit Triablogue to be co-opted by an outsider to slander a second or third-party. If you have a personal beef with somebody, contact him directly. Don’t go using Triablogue as a platform to take potshots from behind the bushes of a second-party blog.

  23. Just in case you missed it... I'll repost it #9 to make a point. As mentioned in the WK blog - I left you my email to contact me directly as stated below.

    "If you would like to send a “exegetical argument” based on scripture for paid clergy. I would really like to see it. My email is"

    It would be great to see a exegetical argument” based on scripture for paid clergy".

  24. Here are a couple more replies...

    "You're relying on an ambiguous translation " regarding 1 Tim 6:20-21
    O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:
    Which some professing have erred concerning the faith.

    Lets go to the greek better - would that do ?

    1 Timothy 6:20 N-GFS
    BIB: τῆς ψευδωνύμου γνώσεως
    NAS: of what is falsely called knowledge--
    KJV: oppositions of science falsely so called:
    INT: called knowledge

    << 1107
    1108. gnósis
    1109 >>

    gnósis: a knowing, knowledge
    Original Word: γνῶσις, εως, ἡ
    Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine
    Transliteration: gnósis
    Phonetic Spelling: (gno'-sis)
    Short Definition: knowledge, doctrine, wisdom
    Definition: knowledge, doctrine, wisdom

  25. Luke 8:3 -point taken and in context
    Luke 8

    1And it came to pass, in due course, that he was passing through, city by city and village by village, proclaiming, and delivering the glad-message of the kingdom of God,—and, the twelve, were with him;
    2and certain women, who had been cured from evil spirits and infirmities,—Mary, the one called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone forth,
    3and Joana, wife of Chuza steward of Herod, and Susanna, and many others,—who indeed were ministering unto them out of their possessions


    10:7 ( great reference - thank you for bringing it up)

    4Be not carrying purse, or satchel, or sandals, and, no one along the road, salute ye;
    5And, into whatsoever house ye enter, First, say, Peace to this house!
    6And, if the son of peace be, there, your peace, shall rest upon it; but, otherwise, at least, unto you, shall it return.
    7And, in the self-same house, abide ye, eating and drinking such things as they have; for, worthy, is the labourer, of his hire: be not removing from house to house.
    8And, into whatsoever city ye shall enter, and they bid you welcome, be eating such things as are set before you;
    9And be curing the sick that are, therein, and be saying unto them—The kingdom of God hath drawn nigh upon you.
    10But, into whatsoever city ye shall enter, and they do not welcome you, going forth into the broadways thereof, say ye:
    11Even the dust that cleaveth unto us, out of your city, unto our feet, do we wipe off against you; nevertheless, of this, be taking notice—The kingdom of God hath drawn near.

    Couple interesting point stand out (note #3) :
    1. These are Gods "sales men" who have no house, no home, no nothing
    2. They stay with people, eat whatever is in front of them
    4. Message is the Kingdom of God has come near to you.
    5. Whoever doesn't receive the message - walk away.

    1 Corinthians 9:14, Galatians 6:6, 2 Timothy 2:6

  26. Corinthians 9:14 in "CONTEXT" see below

    1 Corinthians 9:18What, then, is my reward? that, in telling the glad-message, FREE OF COST, I should put the glad-message,—to the end I should not use to the full my right in the glad-message.

    In addition..... 2 cor 11

    7 Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely?
    8 I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service.
    9 And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself.

  27. In regards to 2 Timothy 2:6 (I will help you out wit this if you permit)

    1 Tim 6:17
    17Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
    18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;
    19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

    They are to distribute as they see a someone in need which was commanded in TORAH.

    This is supported in 1 Tim 5 ( criteria for a widow to receive help).

    8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
    9Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man,
    10Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints' feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.

    Pauls charge to Timothy:

    2 Tim 4:5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.


    1 TIm 4:13till I come, give heed to the reading, to the exhortation, to the teaching;

    What reading is Paul referring to ? Allow me to suggest the OT.

  28. You might want to really think about this one.

    "If Mike is claiming that we need a Biblical passage directly telling us to give money to apologetic ministries"s there a Biblical passage that directly tells Mike to post in online forums? His Blogger profile shows him with a dog. Is that a pet? Is there a Biblical passage that directly tells Mike that he can or should own a pet dog?

    Your argument is grossly self redundant. Is your reply the "best you got" ? If you can - "pony up some scriptures". Otherwise if you can't - to ask for money from the body of Christ, real prophets, real apostles, real evangelist (who do miracles, healing, widows, poor, and have a good testimony of Christ is "Judas" incarnate).

    As a side note, do non Jewish Christians ever wonder why practicing Jews dont take Christianity seriously ?

    I'll be kind and leave it that.

  29. Mike,

    You'll need to explain how I've supposedly violated Triablogue's rules. You've highlighted the ninth rule, which refers to outsiders and personal agendas. I'm not an outsider. I'm a member of the staff. And I'm not pursuing a personal agenda in any relevant way.

    You go on to quote some of the Biblical passages I've discussed, but without interacting with my treatment of those passages. Instead, you tell us what you think of the passages, without refuting what I said.

    For example, you quote other translations of 1 Timothy 6. But citing other translations doesn't refute what I said about the passage. You initially made an argument that depended on the term "science" from the King James translation, so your use of other translations that use the term "knowledge" instead undermines your original argument. If Paul is addressing knowledge rather than science as we commonly define science today, then what's the relevance to apologetics? We all claim to have knowledge, and we're using that knowledge to make arguments. You have knowledge of scripture, for example, and you present arguments based on that knowledge. Does it follow that Paul was condemning you in 1 Timothy 6?

    You highlight the term "cure the sick" in Luke 10, apparently because you consider that activity a form of non-apologetic ministry. As I documented in the previous thread, though, Jesus and the apostles also used their miracles for apologetic purposes. The miracles helped the recipients who were healed, but they also served as evidence for the identity and teachings of Jesus and the apostles. I've already given you some examples of Biblical passages that describe the miracles in that manner (Matthew 11:20-23, John 10:37-38, Acts 14:3). But the larger point is that people like Jesus and the apostles received material support, and Jesus frames that support in terms of workers and wages.

    You ignore the principle Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 9:14 and go on to quote his comments about his own ministry later in the passage and elsewhere. But the issue here isn't what Paul chose to do. The issue is the general principle he laid down in the passage I cited. If he says that those in ministry should be paid, but chooses to exempt himself in a context he goes on to explain, it makes no sense for you to highlight the latter while ignoring the former.

    (continued below)

  30. (continued from above)

    You go on to say that my questions about your inconsistent behavior are "grossly self redundant". You'll have to explain what that's supposed to mean. Again, if you can do things like post in online forums or spend your resources on a pet dog without Biblical passages directly telling you to do so, then why are you expecting people to produce Biblical passages directly telling them to give to apologetics ministries? If scripture allows us freedom on a particular matter, or gives us some general principles without going into much detail, then we don't need to produce a Biblical passage directly telling us to do what we choose to do in that context. As I've documented, believers in the Biblical era did a wide range of work, including apologetic work. The Bible often refers to the acceptability of giving, sharing, etc. without limiting those general principles to non-apologetic contexts. If you want to exclude apologetics from those general Biblical principles, then you need to produce an argument to that effect. It's not my responsibility to prove that apologetics isn't excluded. The broadness of the language leaves the door open to apologetics unless something else closes that door. So far, you've failed to close it. Scripture sometimes tells us how believers over the centuries used a portion of their finances and other resources, but there's also a lot that we aren't told. Occasionally some form of giving will be described, like in Luke 8:3, but the large majority of what believers of the Biblical era did in the context of giving isn't described for us. It doesn't follow that we can't give in a particular way if that manner of giving isn't directly affirmed by scripture.

    As I said earlier, one of the factors we have to take into account is how our context differs from the Biblical context. Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that none of the early Christians gave to apologetic causes. We have no reason to make that assumption, but let's grant the assumption for the moment. Does it follow that we shouldn't give to apologetics today? No. If standards of living, technology, political systems, social expectations, and other aspects of our context change over time, then it makes sense to adapt to those changes. Earlier, in the previous thread, I cited the example of Paul's miracles. Those miracles served as evidence of the claims Paul was making. Somebody who witnessed those miracles in the first century wouldn't need a historical argument in order to conclude that those miracles occurred. But somebody living in the twenty-first century is in a significantly different context. We don't expect Christians of the twenty-first century to approach the subject of Paul's miracles the same way Christian witnesses of those miracles in the first century did. There will be some similarities (e.g., both rely on evidence), but also some differences (e.g., they rely on different kinds of evidence). And we would take other factors into account, like the fact that opponents of Christianity have had many centuries now to develop their arguments against the religion, so it takes more effort for Christians to respond. Another difference, which I mentioned earlier, is that we're living in an information age in which people have easier access to information and access to a larger amount of information. These are the kinds of things that can, and often do, change over time. You can't assume that everything done by Christians today should be the same as what was done in the past.

  31. Mike,

    i) For the record, I'm the one who wrote the rules of engagement, not Jason. Assuming, for the sake of argument, that Jason's replies are inconsistent with the rules of engagement, that wouldn't mean Jason is personally inconsistent. He's under no obligation to rubber-stamp my formulation. He's an admin, I'm an admin. I don't outrank him, or vice versa.

    ii) As a matter of fact, nothing he's said runs counter to the rules of engagement.

    iii) We're just holding you to your own standards. Over at Wintery Knight, you've made sweeping statements about American Christians. Well, if you presume to indiscriminately attack American Christians, then you yourself invite comparable scrutiny.

    It's so much easier for you to tell others what to do rather than doing what you tell others.

    iv) I also notice how you evade my counterarguments. As I've pointed out, NT evangelism is implicitly apologetic. NT discipleship is implicitly apologetic.

    Therefore, we do have NT warrant for apologetics. Pervasive NT warrant.

    And, as Jason points out, Isaiah uses cosmological and teleological arguments in response to paganism.

  32. In regards to rules your rules of engagement - a page was posted here with my partial replies without my knowledge.

    Real men dont do that. I offered my email to contact me directly and as "your rules of engagement"

    Lets compare "your rules " with what I stated:

    "If you have a personal beef with somebody, contact him directly. Don’t go using Triablogue as a platform to take potshots from behind the bushes of a second-party blog."


    As mentioned - ""If you would like to send a “exegetical argument” based on scripture for paid clergy. I would really like to see it. My email is"

    "Assuming, for the sake of argument, that Jason's replies are inconsistent with the rules of engagement, that wouldn't mean Jason is personally inconsistent"

    I disagree for this reason- lets be intellectually and spiritually honest before Christ. If your boy is wrong and in "bad forum".

    Your rule of engagements which sounds nice and ethical resounding with character, In practice they were grossly ignored MULTIPLE TIMES as stated. In addition, taking a the ad-hominem at a dog owner is "spiritually sick".

    I will address 1 cor 9:14 again in context.

  33. "You ignore the principle Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 9:14"

    Context... Context.... Context. 1 Cor 9:18

    18 What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.

    Notice the word "preach". Paul received a charge from Christ and was the last apostle called in the scriptures.
    His ministry was seen in miracles, letters, insight, and yes he uses apologetics.

    A apostle is a " ambassador" for the gospel and it is obvious and has a number of abilities.

    Is apologist or scholar a "apostle" ? Answer for yourself.

    In review of the Scriptures - Paul took nothing or accepted "nothing" for himself. As mentioned here and the original blog - the gift was for the poor saints in Jerusalem.



    What is seen is in Acts and is in context within a Jewish community. They laid it at the apostles feet and "everyone" took as they were in need vs. give the church, which goes to the pastor and the building and the programs ( reread this 10x's- there is so much scripture in OT that support this
    that it isnt funny)


    Here is another of Paul and Titus
    2 Corinthians 12
    16But be it so, I did not burden you: nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you with guile.
    Did I make a gain of you by any of them whom I sent unto you?
    I desired Titus, and with him I sent a brother. Did Titus make a gain of you? walked we not in the same spirit? walked we not in the same steps?

  34. Paul took commanded no tithes and worked. Prior to that - it would appear he was wealthy due to his education, training, family, and Felix wanting bribe from him while imprisoned.
    I am sure he received gifts as he was in need at times which is in context of the Torah and culture he was used to but there is no record of money going to him.

    Taking care of widows is well documented in the NT
    Acts 6 and 1 Tim
    Acts 6
    1 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.
    2 Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.
    3Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.

  35. This comment has been removed by the author.

  36. In review to IS 40 =-53- your out of context. Israel sin was spiritual idolatry and chasing other religions. Israel had a long history from adam to abraham to david and prophets.

    The chapters you mentioned are the bringing forth of Messiah and His body and eveything else in between (typical OT prophet). His body will administer to the nations. During this time - the body has to be built which is the "one new man' that consist of elect Jews and elect gentiles

    Replies and actions like this are not Christ like, nor in Gods Sprit, and the replies given are anti scriptural.

    The church is not "fund raising". The issue is never money. This should be screaming obvious in the life of Christ - JUDAS carried the money bag and everyone knew it. Does that mean anything ?

    Whoever God calls to do His will - God picks up the tab - He pays for what He orders. Remember Peter and the fish for the temple tax ?

    Thank you for exposing me to apologetics. It leaves little to desired imo as I pray God would lead me to be a "Ananais/ Acts 9" than a apologist.

    Hab 2:4 Lo! as for the conceited one, crooked is his soul within him,- but, one who is righteous, by his faithfulness, shall live

    Note:"the conceited one, crooked is his soul"

    I have to give Kudos to presenting your case for "Should money be given to apologetics/scholar instead of the poor"


    “In regards to rules your rules of engagement - a page was posted here with my partial replies without my knowledge. Real men dont do that”

    Real men pull their own load. They don’t leech of off other men. If you want your side of the argument represented, start your own blog.

    Real men also don’t publicly tar American Christians with a broad brush, then whine when they are publicly rebuked.

    Real men don’t attack in public, but then demand that their critics respond in private.

    Real men don’t attack others, then resort to crybaby rhetoric when they can’t take the heat.

    “Your rule of engagements which sounds nice and ethical resounding with character, In practice they were grossly ignored MULTIPLE TIMES as stated. In addition, taking a the ad-hominem at a dog owner is "spiritually sick".”

    You lack reading comprehension. In context, the rules you quote prohibit outsiders from co-opting Triablogue to settle scores with other outsiders. This is not a platform for one outsider to attack another outsider.

    If you want to do that, start your own blog. That’s the point.

    Jason is not an outsider. He’s a teammate. So of course he’s entitled to post or comment on whatever he wants to on his own blog.

  38. Mike,

    It's ironic that you're so unsupportive of apologetics, given how much you could benefit from apologetics if you wanted to. You're appallingly bad at thinking through issues and supporting your beliefs with arguments. How many times now have you brought up issues like atheism and tithing when they've been so irrelevant to the discussion at hand? Your posts offer unintended support for apologetics inasmuch as they illustrate what happens when somebody neglects apologetic issues.

    You've said that I'm "spiritually sick" for "taking a the ad-hominem at a dog owner". Explain how that works. How were my comments about you inappropriate? Simply labeling my comments as "ad-hominem at a dog owner" isn't enough. Back up your characterization with an argument. I didn't do anything wrong. Showing that somebody who disagrees with you accepts your argument in another context (i.e., your acceptance of some of my reasoning in contexts like having a pet dog) is appropriate. For one thing, it's a potential way of saving time, which benefits all of us (me, you, and other people reading our comments). If I can make you understand my position by using an illustration from your own life, like your posting in online forums or your owning a pet dog, then why shouldn't I use that illustration? Then there's the issue of the credibility of an opponent. If you can show that your opponent is inconsistent, insincere, or mistaken in some other way, that can be relevant to how we judge the reliability of that opponent. It's standard practice for people to point out such problems with a person they disagree with. Jesus and the Biblical authors often do it. Do you think they're guilty of some sort of inappropriate ad hominem? I haven't been offering irrelevant comments about you as a substitute for relevant arguments. Rather, I've supplemented my relevant arguments with relevant comments about you. What's wrong with that?

    You still aren't adequately addressing 1 Corinthians 9. The context of verse 18 doesn't overturn the general principle Paul laid down earlier in the chapter. And pointing out that Paul was an apostle is irrelevant, since Paul doesn't say that the principle is only applicable to apostles. His language is broader than that. You keep reading unjustified qualifiers into the text. As I've documented (Luke 8:3, 3 John 5-8, etc.), these principles of offering material support for Christian workers are applicable to a wide variety of individuals, not just apostles. Besides, some of your (seemingly inconsistent) comments have suggested that you don't even think Jesus or the apostles would have received such support.

    (continued below)

  39. (continued from above)

    You tell us that "JUDAS carried the money bag and everyone knew it". Yes, and the problem was his abuse of the money bag, not the existence of funding for the Messianic ministry. Jesus and His followers weren't sinning by keeping such funds and receiving the sort of material support discussed in passages like Luke 8:3 and 10:7.

    You write:

    "Whoever God calls to do His will - God picks up the tab - He pays for what He orders. Remember Peter and the fish for the temple tax ?"

    Yes. I also remember that Jesus worked as a carpenter, that Paul worked as a tent maker rather than living off of coins he found in fish, that he told Christians to work for a living (2 Thessalonians 3:6-13), etc. The existence of supernatural provision on some occasions doesn't justify the neglect of natural provision.

    You write:

    "I have to give Kudos to presenting your case for 'Should money be given to apologetics/scholar instead of the poor'"

    Why do you keep using phrases like "instead of"? I've already responded to that misleading framing of the issue. When you spend money on your dog, should we criticize you for doing that "instead of" giving to the poor?

  40. I want to expand on some of my comments by bringing up a couple of illustrations.

    Think of Apollos. I've cited his apologetic work, which Luke tells us was something that "greatly helped" (Acts 18:27-28). We also know that Apollos worked among the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 3:4-6). We don't have many details about either context, though. Might there have been some people who funded Apollos' work, sort of like how Jesus and His followers were funded in Luke 8:3 or Origen was later funded by wealthy patrons? Perhaps. And different people may have given him material support for different reasons. One giver may have been interested primarily in supporting Apollos' apologetic work, whereas somebody else was primarily interested in supporting him in some other context. Christians would be free to support him either way. He was doing gospel-related work, which would fall under the broad principles Paul outlines in 1 Corinthians 9. Giving to Apollos' ministry would also fall under the broad principle of Hebrews 13:16, where we're told to sacrifice by doing good works and sharing. Giving to apologetic work, like the work of Apollos, would be one among many forms that obedience to Hebrews 13 could take.

    Consider how little we know about how Apollos was supported or what the relationship was between Apollos and the Corinthian church, for example. We know that the Corinthians gave material support to suffering believers in Jerusalem. Paul was collecting donations to those suffering Christians around the time when he wrote his letters to the Corinthians, and he refers to the Corinthians' support for that cause. But what other giving were they involved in before that? Or at the same time? Or afterward? We don't have many details about the history of the Corinthians' giving. If we have a record of their giving money to the poor, whereas we don't have a record of their giving money to apologetics, does it follow that they probably never supported apologetics or that we today shouldn't do so? No. Often, what we know about a subject like the giving of the early Corinthian church is what we might call an accident of history. It's highly fragmented. We only have a partial picture, and that partial picture wasn't intended to place limits on our giving. We can't conclude that it's only acceptable for Christians to donate to causes if scripture specifically affirms that form of giving.

    (continued below)

  41. (continued from above)

    The second illustration I want to bring up is Luke. He was a doctor. And a lot of the ministry to the poor and other suffering people that we see in the world today is done by doctors. Often, doctors will perform surgery on poor people at no charge, help establish medical facilities to benefit the poor, etc. Let's say that a Christian doctor in today's world wants to offer his medical services for free to poor people. Or to pastors. Or missionaries. Or people who have served in the military. Does he need to be able to cite a Biblical passage that specifically affirms donating medical services? Or that specifically affirms making such donations to the poor? Or pastors, missionaries, etc.? No. Broad Biblical principles about helping the poor, honoring church leaders, honoring other people in general, sharing with other people, showing God's love to other people, etc. would be sufficient. Other principles would have to be taken into account as well in order to arrive at a rightly balanced conclusion, but what I'm getting at here is that such charitable work by a doctor wouldn't be inherently wrong. Luke wrote more of the New Testament than any other author, and he was a doctor, yet he never refers to donating his own medical services and never refers to other doctors doing it. Should we therefore conclude that it must not be acceptable to do that sort of ministry work or donate to it? No. Maybe Luke didn't mention it because he wasn't involved in that sort of ministry himself, even though it would be acceptable for another Christian doctor to do it. Or maybe he didn't think it was relevant to what he was writing. Or he may have had some other reason for not mentioning it. But it would be ridiculous to oppose giving to medical ministries just because Luke and the other Biblical authors were silent on the matter. Similarly, when Luke tells us that Apollos' apologetic work "greatly helped" (Acts 18:27-28), he doesn't need to also tell us that it's acceptable to donate to such causes in order for us to conclude that it is acceptable.

  42. "You lack reading comprehension" Maybe so... I'll reread what your post and meditate on it.

    Do you think you have "spiritual comprehension" ?

    Take it to prayer and ask Jesus. See what He tells you.

  43. Btw, the Judas remark not to the carrying the money bag but that Judas helped himself to it (stealing).

    John 12:6
    He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

    Doesn't this strike you as strange - everyone knows he is stealing from Christ and the disciples - yet Christ permitted it.

    That is what God thinks about money - He doesn't need it. The scriptures show that helping one first and taking from others is a "trap" in the ministry.

    Do you think there is a reason why Paul made a point of working and accepting money from no one?

    It is called a testimony or witness.

    Any time someone says in the ministry "they need money". There is a strong chance they are NOT in Gods will ( He pays for what He orders - always).
    On the backside, if you see someone in need and you have extra - then give.

    That is what Paul means in 2 Cor 8
    For it is not, that others may have easement, and you pressure;

    but that ye may be on equality at the present time; and that your abundance may be a supply to their want; that their abundance likewise may be a supply to your want; that there may be equality.

    As it is written, He who gathered much, had nothing over; and he that gathered little, was not deficient.

  44. To have a testimony and deliver it takes a bit more more than attacking a guy for having a dog ( it is the only thing I have left from my divorce). It takes a serious relationship with Jesus.

    Here is the scripture for it LUKE 21

    But before all these things, they will lay hands upon you, and will persecute you, and will deliver you up to councils and to prison, and will arraign you before kings and governors, on account of my name.

    But it will be to you for a testimony.

    And settle it in your hearts, that ye will not previously seek instruction for making a defence.

    For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your enemies will be unable to withstand.

    So much for "apologists" training......

  45. Here is another one for the road in regard to "apologetics training"

    Acts 4:13
    But seeing the boldness of Peter and John, and perceiving that they were unlearned and uneducated men, they marveled. And they recognized them, that they had been with Jesus.

    Note - that they had been with Jesus=witness.

    It is screaming obvious to everyone. When a person spends time with Jesus - it can be felt. Words are quite often very very few or not needed.

    Check out the story of John Nelson Hyde who presence would cause a entire city to repent before the ship pulled into port or the lowly Brother Lawernce who people would travel all across Europe to talk and meet with him.

    If you need more, I could come up with a whole lot more but I sincerely think it would be no good.

    I wish you the best as you follow Christ -He is worth it and the only show in town.


    Mike & Titan

  46. Mike,

    The issue isn't what God needs. He can work through money without needing it. And He repeatedly commands and encourages His people to give money and other possessions, in both the Old Testament and the New. If we shouldn't expect Him to work through money, then should we stop giving money to the poor?

    Your abuse of Luke 21 is unconvincing and still leaves the passages I've cited unexplained. Adding Luke 21 to the equation doesn't reconcile your position with the other passages I've cited. As I said before, God's supernatural provision on some occasions doesn't justify a neglect of natural provision. The Luke 21 passage doesn't cover enough people or enough circumstances to justify a dismissal of apologetics in general. And you've sometimes said that you think apologetics is Biblical and acceptable. Yet, at other times you act as if it's never appropriate. It doesn't seem that you're making much of an effort to be consistent.

    And I wasn't "attacking a guy for having a dog". Rather, I was criticizing your apparent inconsistency in how you approach different issues. If I think your approach toward having a dog is inconsistent with your approach toward something else, it doesn't follow that I'm "attacking a guy for having a dog".

    Like I said before, you could benefit a lot from apologetics. It would help you think and communicate more clearly.