Thursday, September 10, 2020

More Evidence Of The Evangelical Lack Of Urgency

I discussed the subject of urgency in a recent thread. It wasn't just about Evangelicals, but the lack of urgency among Evangelicals in particular came up. I cited a lot of evidence relevant to issues of urgency, such as polling data, but that can be supplemented by other evidence that's not as extensive as something like a poll.

I've done a lot of work in apologetics over the years, so I have more familiarity with that field than others. I've often written about the negligence of Evangelicals in apologetic contexts (and theological contexts, moral contexts, etc.), including a lack of appropriate urgency. See here regarding same-sex marriage. And here regarding Christmas issues. Here regarding the paranormal. Those are just a few of many examples that could be cited.

Something that people often do in a context like this is cite the work of William Lane Craig, James White, Michael Brown, and other individuals who are doing a lot of good in apologetics and other fields, as if the work of such individuals suggests that Evangelicals in general are doing well. It does no such thing. Rather, Evangelicals are overly dependent on a tiny minority of individuals who are expected to carry an inordinately large burden.

What are you doing? What specific plans do you have in place to accomplish significant things, in apologetics and elsewhere? How often do you speak up? How often do you do little or nothing more than sit back and wait for other people to do the work?

"Strange were it that the physician, or the shoemaker, or the weaver, in short all artists, should be able each to contend correctly for his own art, but that one calling himself Christian should not be able to give a reason for his own faith; yet those things if overlooked bring only loss to men's property, these if neglected destroy our very souls. Yet such is our wretched disposition, that we give all our care to the former, and the things which are necessary, and which are the groundwork of our salvation, as though of little worth, we despise. That it is which prevents the heathen from quickly deriding his own error. For when they, though established in a lie, use every means to conceal the shamefulness of their opinions, while we, the servants of the truth, cannot even open our mouths, how can they help condemning the great weakness of our doctrine? how can they help suspecting our religion to be fraud and folly? how shall they not blaspheme Christ as a deceiver, and a cheat, who used the folly of the many to further his fraud? And we are to blame for this blasphemy, because we will not be wakeful in arguments for godliness, but deem these things superfluous, and care only for the things of earth." (John Chrysostom, Homilies On John, 17:3-4)


  1. Apologetics grows out of a desire to do evangelism, and I don't see much of a desire to do evangelism.

  2. I'd be among the first to agree with Jason that Evangelicals in general aren't urgent enough when it comes to theology and apologetics. Seven of my eight blogs are directly or indirectly related to apologetics. The eighth is dedicated to music and is, in a sense, indirectly evangelistic since music can stir the soul to bring people around to issues of God, meaning and ultimate reality [etc.; e.g. HERE]. I've been doing some apologetics for decades in person, and online via internet chat relay, facebook groups, blogs, YouTube (etc.).

    At the same time I think it's important to remember that even above doing apologetics for the purpose of saving souls and advancing God's Kingdom, and even above the purpose of defending God's honor and truth in the face of those who defame God; is the purpose of pleasing and glorifying God. Some people don't have the time or mental aptitude to advance very far in apologetics. Christians are called by God to do different things. No one can do and specialize in everything. Some are getting more done by being faithful intercessors. Others by feeding the poor. Others in healing the sick via doctors/medicine and/or ministering divine healing. Others by serving in government, school, military (etc.). Some are like struggling single mothers who are spending most of their hours in a day working to provide food, clothing, shelter and education for their children, and don't have the time or energy to study apologetics. The only temporary respite they may get from the demands of serving others is from watching a TV show or reading a novel. [cf. J.I. Packer In Defense of Light Reading] It's not surprising that apologetics is usually the domain of young single men who have little familial responsibilities [as even our beloved and late Steve Hays has pointed out numerous times]. In the body of Christ [i.e. the church] not everyone is an apologetical eye. Some are intercessory knees, or healing hands, or encouraging tongues, or theological brains [etc.]. Some would even chide Jason for not taking a dogmatic stance on predestination, even though a narrowly specific view is not, per the NT, an essential of the faith. [I say that even though I'm a Calvinist, BTW].


  3. Maybe my [non-dogmatic] Postmillennial preference is shining through, but it seems to me that God is also pleased and glorified in just raising happy, holy and productive families that contribute to society even apart from directly promoting Christianity. Fulfilling the Cultural Mandate of the beginning chapters of Genesis [and not just the Great Commission of the ending chapter of Matthew]. The OT isn't very evangelistic or apologetic, yet it was the Scriptures of the NT church. It has a lot to say about raising godly families and spreading God's Kingdom through covenant faithfulness in ordinary life. On the one hand I want to encourage all Christians to do more theological reflection and apologetical study/application. Yet, at the same time I don't want to burden Christians with guilt because they are fulfilling their other more urgent [even higher?] duties which have been more thoroughly and repeatedly commanded in Scripture regarding ALL kinds of good works [beside/next to apologetics and evangelism]. While most of the NT is polemical and apologetic dealing with issues of right doctrine and heresies [etc.], that's often mentioned to be the especial domain of those who are called to such work [e.g. ministers, shepherds, pastors etc.]. It could be that because I'm a Calvinist I'm just being too apathetic toward the salvation of the lost, given my view of election and predestination. At the same time, I know the opposite extreme can infect Christians. As a younger Christian when I was and Arminian-like Premillennialist, I was so passionate for the lost that prayer, evangelism and apologetics for the salvation of souls became almost an obsession that consumed me. Especially since I thought the end of the world and Christ's Second Coming was soon to occur. So, I think there's a godly balance that we all need to arrive at, and which I too am still struggling to find and live out.


      You're raising a lot of issues I've anticipated or addressed in previous threads. See the thread I linked at the beginning of this one. And see my discussions elsewhere of issues like the ones you're raising, such as here. I'll reiterate several points, among many others that could be made:

      - I've been citing a lot of documentation for my conclusions, discussing how the relevant statistics seem to relate to one another (what the polling in one context suggests about the nature of what's happening in other contexts), etc. The documentation we have only goes so far, and we can have forms of evidence that are less extensive than something like a poll. I've given some examples in the first post in this thread. But we do have a large amount of evidence for some of the factors involved, and that evidence has to be addressed. Bringing up single mothers, people who have lesser mental abilities, and other people in such unusual situations, without any relevant documentation, only goes so far.

      - Modern Americans are among the most privileged people in the history of the world in many ways. We have longer lifespans than the large majority of people in Biblical times, better technology, better medicine, a higher literacy rate, etc. We can't have the benefits of such things without the responsibilities that go with those benefits. "From everyone who has been given much, much will be required" (Luke 12:48).

      - Part of what goes with a longer lifespan is living for a larger amount of time beyond the child-raising years. The fact that people spend much of their time raising a family during part of their life doesn't explain their negligence in the relevant contexts during the other portions of their lives.

      - The popular idea that people don't have much time to spare during their child-raising years is ridiculous and demonstrably false. We know how people spend their time in America. There's a lot of documentation. A substantial amount of time has to be given to raising children, especially in their youngest years, but parents find a lot of time for sports, unnecessary housework, movies, gardening, etc. anyway. The idea that they can't do significantly more than they typically do in contexts that are more important, like theology and apologetics, is unreasonable.

      - Much of what we do with our lives is shaped by other people. If your nation goes to war, then you have to adapt to a wartime context, even if you don't want to and even though that's not a normative context. If a culture becomes highly secular, trivial, vulgar, and religiously pluralistic, with anti-Christian apologetics surrounding us on television, in classrooms, on the web, in books, etc., then we have to adapt to that context. That involves giving up some things that wouldn't have to be given up if the context were different.

    2. - Multi-tasking has to be taken into account. If people are as busy with raising children, working their job, and so on as people often suggest, then why don't they make use of multi-tasking in order to accomplish more in areas like theology, apologetics, and politics? If they can use multi-tasking to listen to music, watch trivial television shows, and so forth, as people frequently do, then why would they allegedly be unable to use multi-tasking to accomplish more significant things?

      - There are many issues that are part of apologetics, theology, ethics, politics, etc. that come up in the process of something like parenting or friendship. You can't entirely avoid those subjects. Not everybody will specialize in something like theology or apologetics, but Christians in general, not just a minority, should be much further along in those contexts than they typically are. Something like theology or apologetics isn't comparable to something like learning to play a particular musical instrument, which we'd expect only a small minority of Christians to do. Rather, theology and apologetics are more like prayer, something we should expect Christians in general to be involved with to a significant extent.

      - See my article on the importance of apologetics for more about the extent to which Christians should be involved in that sort of work and why. You seem to be underestimating the significance of apologetics during the Old Testament era. But the New Testament era is more relevant, and what's most relevant in our current context is America and, to a lesser extent, the remainder of the modern world.

      - One way to tell what people are capable of is to look at what they've already done. If people can graduate from high school, often get more education beyond high school, work jobs, learn computer programs, learn sports, follow the contents of fictional literature, etc., why are we supposed to think that something like theology or apologetics is too much for them to handle or that they can't go beyond the earliest introductory steps? Given how far the large majority of Americans go in other intellectual contexts, the idea that they need to be so ignorant of matters like theology, apologetics, and politics is ridiculous. Keep in mind statistics like those I've cited: most Americans can't name the four gospels, most can't name a single Supreme Court justice, etc. The idea that people are so ignorant because they can't handle such advanced concepts is absurd. It's not a matter of people being unable to learn such things. It's a matter of their being unwilling. It's also a matter of so many of the people around them being unwilling to do much to influence them in a better way.

      - The issue here isn't just what we're required to do. Why isn't there more of a desire to please God, to defend his honor, to expand the kingdom of God, to bless other people in the most important contexts in life, etc.? Why are Christians, especially in a context as privileged as modern America, so focused on the minimum that they're required to do?

  4. My personal views aren't that important. People can survive without my input. So Jason can have the last word if my following comments aren't approved. My post[s] after this one will be based on the insightful quotes by Blaise Pascal in this post which I think have some merit [though I might have worded them slightly differently]:

    He wrote in his Pensées:

    Willing to appear openly to those who seek him with all their heart, and to be hidden from those who flee from him with all their heart, God so regulates the knowledge of himself that he has given indications [or "signs"] of himself which are visible to those who seek him and not to those who do not seek him. There is enough light for those to see who only desire to see, and enough obscurity for those who have a contrary disposition.

    Elsewhere in his Pensées he wrote:

    The prophecies, the very miracles and proofs of our religion, are not of such a nature that they can be said to be absolutely convincing. But they are also of such a kind that it cannot be said that it is unreasonable to believe them. Thus there is both evidence and obscurity to enlighten some and confuse others. But the evidence is such that it surpasses, or at least equals, the evidence to the contrary; so that it is not reason which can determine men not to follow it, and thus it can only be lust or malice of heart. And by this means there is sufficient evidence to condemn, and insufficient to convince; so that it appears in those who follow it, that it is grace, and not reason, which makes them follow it; and in those who shun it, that it is lust, not reason, which makes them shun it.


    577 There is sufficient clearness to enlighten the elect, and sufficient obscurity to humble them. There is sufficient obscurity to blind the reprobate, and sufficient clearness to condemn them, and make them inexcusable.—Saint Augustine, Montaigne, Sébond.

    574 All things work together for good to the elect, even the obscurities of Scripture; for they honour them because of what is divinely clear. And all things work together for evil to the rest of the world, even what is clear; for they revile such, because of the obscurities which they do not understand.

    562 It will be one of the confusions of the damned to see that they are condemned by their own reason, by which they claimed to condemn the Christian religion.

    576 God has made the blindness of this people subservient to the good of the elect.

    I agree with William Lane Craig when he says in the following video that apologetics is not absolutely necessary for the passing on and the reception of the Gospel, even though it's VERY useful.

    Christian Apologetics: Who Needs It? by William Lane Craig

    A written version of the lecture above: Christian Apologetics: Who Needs It?

    My views have been strongly shaped by those Pascal quotes and I've explained my views in the following blogs which explores the place of a doctrine of divine hiddenness to balance off a Calvinistic doctrine of divine obviousness:

    "Unveiling" The Hiddenness of God

    Detecting and Finding God

  5. As important as apologetics is [even if only because it's divinely commanded, 1 Pet 3:15; Jude 1:3], it has limited usefulness, as compared to God's other means of protecting and growing His sheep. In God's wise providence, now, right when the attacks on Christianity has been the most intense, sophisticated and organized, is when we have the most evidence for Christianity [e.g. in terms of science, philosophy, history, archaeology etc.]. Such evidences and arguments didn't really exist or was possibly prior. The apologetics of the Apostolic Fathers, the Ante-Nicene and later Fathers diminished in persuasiveness in proportion to their increasing distance to the miraculous events of the New Testament. Though, miracles never completely disappeared and in fact broke out periodically as attested by folks like Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Origen, Augustine, Theodore of Mopsueste, Eusebius of Caesarea [et al].

    During most of the medieval period the historical, scientific and archaeological [etc.] evidences were very poor since the relevant disciplines were in their infancy. The philosophical and theological arguments of the Schoolmen were persuasive at the time mostly because most people who were evangelistically exposed to Christianity were already cultural theists [e.g. Christian, Jew, Muslim &c.], and missionary work outside the West was very limited. While there have always been atheists of various forms down the ages, only with the Enlightenment [late 17th and 18th century] did atheism gain a strong footing in the Western world. Even then, deism was often the preferred alternative to the Abrahamic religions; and so apologists like Butler and Locke were still tolerantly given a hearing. With the 19th and 20th century, demythologizing of the Bible, pagan parallelism, higher criticism, source criticism, modernism and materialism were the main sources of objections to Christianity. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries there existed apologists like B.B. Warfield, R.D. Wilson, C. Van Til, G.H. Clark [et al.], but their writings weren't popularly available or digestible enough for the average Christian.

    Only with Walter Martin, the father of modern apologetics, did apologetics become mainstream and fashionable to the layperson. Even then, Martin's defense was mostly in response to religious alternatives to Christianity, rather than against informed atheism [O'Hair, whom Martin debated, was the village "Dickie" Dawkins of her day]. Josh McDowell type of apologetics dominated until the late 1990s, and in the past 20 years since the turn of the millennium has been the explosion of sophisticated apologetics [a la W.L. Craig] in response to internet atheists and the New Atheism.


  6. In the first decade and a half of the 21st century the cutting edge of apologetics was website & blog based [e.g. Triablogue et al.]. Now the newest wave of the apologetics frontier since the middle of the 2nd decade has been YouTube based. With the arrival of various YouTube apologists, including Sean the son of Josh McDowell, David Wood & his associates in his "Apologetics Empire", and other YouTube apologists, including Jonathan McLatchie, Braxton Hunter, Tyler Vela, Eli Ayala et al. Though, video based apologetics can never entirely replace literary based apologetics. Since the defense of the faith is data dependant, and the written word is the best format to store, convey and research information. God hasn't given us rationally coercive non-supernatural evidences for the truth of Christianity for use in apologetics. Based on my observation, it seems to me that rather than making converts, the most effective use of apologetics is in innoculating believers from anti-Christian objections/criticisms, and in fortifying their faith to support them in times of doubt.

    My survey of the history of apologetics is both to encourage the continued rational defense of Christianity, as well as to point out its limitations. Since, it seems to me, the periodic spurts of the expansion of Christianity in all ages has mostly been the result of prayer empowered preaching & evangelism, the high birth rate of Christian families who passed on the faith to the next generation and through signs and wonders. The current explosion of Christianity in Asia, Africa, Central and South America is largely due to continuationist Christianity. The unfortunate neglect of apologetics in the West in the present time is [IMO] just symptomatic of a more foundational issue of a lack of devotion and prayer among lay Christians and the unconscious effect of secularism, modernism and materialism on Western Christians that makes them practical deists with respect to the supernatural. More people would be saved without [sic] or through apologetics if we Christians started getting serious with God and prevailed in prayer. As a continuationist I'm convinced a neglected area in evangelism in the West has been the use of signs and wonders. I'm glad that changed with John Wimber, the father of modern Power Evangelism who took some of the good of early Pentecostalism and the Charismatic movement and made it more palatable to theology minded Evangelicals. In my fallible opinion, there are current ministries that are taking power encounters seriously. My prayer is that they become more grounded in theology so that Sam Storms' hope of Convergence between the Word emphasizing branch of the church and the Spirit emphasizing branch come together and learn from each other. And so exponentially magnifying our effectiveness in reaching the world.

  7. As I read the NT I no longer see the Apostles admonishing the average Christian to be polemicists who specialize in Apologetics Proper. I see them encouraging holiness, good works, getting their doctrine right on soteriology and the Trinity [to be sure an aspect of apologetics], "to aspire to live quietly, and to mind [their] own affairs, and to work with [their] hands" [ 1 Thess. 4:11], in healing the sick, cleansing the lepers, raising the dead and casting out demons [Matt. 10:8; Matt. 28:20; James 5:14ff. John 14:12-14], and exercising spiritual gifts like prophecy to convert non-believers and encourage believers [1 Cor. 14:1, 22-25; 1 Cor. chapters 12-14; cf. 1 Cor. 2:4; 4:20]. Even the classic passages where we rightly derive the command to do apologetics [1 Pet. 3:15; Jude 1:3] is in the wider context of a Christian witness of obedient godliness that will convict unbelievers. But again, that's not to say there is no place for Apologists with a capital "A". Steve, Jason, and the others I've mentioned above have been clearly [In My Strong Opinion] called to be rational Defenders of the Faith.

    Every Christian should know the basics of apologetics. However, IMO, the intricacies of high level apologetics proper are too subtle for the average Christian. If anything, engaging with informed anti-Christian skeptical arguments can cause doubt in the hearts of the average Christian. Especially if they have never had a real supernatural encounter with God that can serve as an Intrinsic Defeater Defeater.

    Like any other Christians called to certain vocations, apologists are also liable to judge non-apologists by the standard of their own calling. I learned that partly from Steve. In my own experience, I find Christians who are called to emphasize the supernatural looking down on those who emphasize the intellectual aspects of Christianity, and vice versa. Or Christians who emphasize intercessory prayer, looking down on those who emphasize End Times prophecy, and vice versa. Those who emphasize soteriology, looking down on those who emphasize good works and the social implications of the Gospel, and vice versa [cf. the early 20th century Fundamentalists vs. the theologically anemic Social Gospel advocates]. Or pietistic Christians vs. theologically minded Christians. There's the saying that goes, when the only tool you have is a hammer, everything starts looking like a nail. In similar way, we all tend to see things from the perspective of our expertise and field of specialization. Given problem X, psychiatrists will see it as psychological issue, nutritionists as a dietary issue, economists as a financial issue, pastors as a tithing issue [just kidding], et cetera.

    1. As I read the NT I no longer see the Apostles admonishing the average Christian to be polemicists who specialize in Apologetics Proper. I see them encouraging holiness, good works, getting their doctrine right on soteriology and the Trinity [to be sure an aspect of apologetics], "to aspire to live quietly, and to mind [their] own affairs, and to work with [their] hands"

      My thoughts exactly! Although I personally am one that has a proclivity for apologetics, I realize that not all members of Christ's body are cut out for breaking new ground in the field. Rather than looking down our noses at christians we think are not doing as much as we are, we should laud them when we see them exercising the spiritual gift(s) they have been given.

      Jason- I would caution you as a fellow christian, that you come across as self righteous, imbalanced, and lacking humility when you write in this manner.

      That being said, I appreciate how you are laboring for the cause of Christ and encourage you to continue to do so!

    2. Testing..I tried commenting earlier and it doesn't look like it published.

    3. Reformed Baptist,

      I've provided a lot of argumentation, and I've cited a large amount of documentation, to support my conclusions. That's more responsible than dismissing somebody as "[coming] across as self righteous, imbalanced, and lacking humility" without offering any significant support for that accusation.

      The comments of ANNOYED PINOY that you expressed agreement with just before making your comments about me don't have much relevance to my position, for reasons I explained in response to ANNOYED PINOY and elsewhere.

      Regarding the publishing of your comments, all comments automatically go into moderation after a thread has been up for three days. That's done to prevent the posting of advertisements in old threads, getting responses to old posts without realizing it, etc.

  8. I don't think the average Christian could answer brilliant atheists like Graham Oppy, J. L. Schellenberg, J. Howard Sobel, Paul Draper, Wes Morriston, Felipe Leon, J. L. Mackie [et al.] given the time constraints on their lives. William Lane Craig has repeatedly called Oppy "scary smart". The best they can do is point to apologists who can or have respond to them.


      This thread is about the behavior of modern Evangelicals, especially in the United States. You haven't been interacting with much of what I've said on that subject.

      Earlier, I cited the principle that "From everyone who has been given much, much will be required" (Luke 12:48). You can't assume that every person, group, or generation has the same responsibilities and opportunities. The early Christians had advantages over earlier generations, so that they were able to spread Christianity through the popularity of the Greek language, the system of roads and other means of travel in the Roman empire, etc. Men like Martin Luther and William Tyndale were able to make use of the printing press to further the Reformation by means that weren't available hundreds of years earlier. And so on. Similarly, when our generation has longer lifespans, better technology, and other significant advantages over the people who lived in the Biblical, patristic, and medieval eras, you can't claim that our responsibilities and opportunities are the same.

      An example is how much more accessible the Bible is to us today. When we have such widespread literacy and scripture translated into so many languages, in so many editions, with so many copies distributed, available electronically for free on devices we commonly have on our desks and in our pockets, etc., we have far more responsibilities and opportunities accordingly than the people of previous generations had.

      Even if your portrayal of the status of apologetics during the Biblical, patristic, and medieval eras were correct, you'd still have to do much more than you have done to address the characteristics of our generation, which is what I've been focused on. But even what you've said about previous generations is misleading.

      As I've explained in my article on apologetics that I linked earlier, Christianity and the Bible are built on apologetic concepts. And we engage in apologetic reasoning as we make the judgment that Christianity is true, interpret the Bible, weigh competing potential interpretations against each other, apply Biblical principles in our everyday lives, decide what church to attend, make decisions about moral issues, etc. You've acknowledged that to some extent, but you seem to be underestimating the implications. The need for apologetics and the Biblical justification for it go far beyond passages like 1 Peter 3:15 and Jude 3. It seems that part of the reason why you keep underestimating the significance of apologetics in history and in the modern world is that you're not recognizing how widely apologetic reasoning is needed and has been applied in the past and in our day.

      That includes a lot of anti-Christian apologetics people are surrounded with in school, on television, in the workplace, on the web, in books, etc. That's one of the reasons why there isn't much significance to your concern that "engaging with informed anti-Christian skeptical arguments can cause doubt in the hearts of the average Christian". We live in a world in which we interact with non-Christians a lot, as a result of modern technology and other modern developments. We need to do more to address the skeptical arguments rather than try to get Christians to avoid the arguments. The arguments often can't be avoided, and answering them isn't as difficult as you keep suggesting.

    2. I said that I wasn't arguing that every Christian should specialize in something like theology or apologetics, but you keep making comments like "As I read the NT I no longer see the Apostles admonishing the average Christian to be polemicists who specialize in Apologetics Proper….I don't think the average Christian could answer brilliant atheists like Graham Oppy". There's a large gray area between being a specialist and handling these matters as poorly as most modern Americans and modern American Evangelicals handle them.

      You refer to how "The best [the average Christian] can do is point to apologists who can or have [responded] to [the most knowledgeable skeptics]." No, that's not the best the average Christian in America (the context I was addressing) can do, and you still aren't interacting with the evidence I've been citing to that effect. And is the average Christian even pointing people to specialists who have done the relevant work? No, they're not even doing that much.

      William Lane Craig's comment about how "scary smart" Oppy is doesn't have much relevance to what I was addressing. The large majority of Americans aren't atheists and don't think atheism has much appeal. Oppy specializes in philosophy, which is an important field, but I see no reason to think he's "scary smart" about Jesus' resurrection, prophecy, modern miracles, and other such subjects. You don't have to be a scholar specializing in a field like philosophy or history to realize some major problems with a worldview like Oppy's or to recognize some significant evidence for Christianity that somebody like Oppy isn't going to have much of a response to.

      But, again, the vast majority of Americans aren't interacting with people like Oppy, and they've never even heard of him. The fact that the average Christian knows much less than Oppy does about philosophy and whatever other relevant fields doesn't change the fact that the average Christian could and should be doing far more than he is doing in intellectual contexts. That's true not just in apologetics, but also in theology, ethics, politics, etc. There are many people with whom we interact every day who are less knowledgeable than Oppy in the relevant contexts, and the vast majority of Christians are poorly prepared to interact with those people. When I call on those Christians to be better prepared, that's not equivalent to calling on them to become a Christian equivalent of, or superior to, Graham Oppy.

    3. And people like William Lane Craig would be able to focus more on individuals like Oppy if they didn't have to take on so much of the lesser work that other people are neglecting. How often do people like Craig get asked to respond to lesser figures than Oppy, even sources like skeptical podcasts and YouTube videos, while large numbers of Christians who could and should be doing that work keep refusing to do it? But those same Christians find so much time for movies, sports, joking around, video games, reading trivial books, etc.

      Another problem with your focus on the average Christian is that we wouldn't even need the average Christian to improve in order to bring about a major improvement in the modern situation I'm addressing. As I said in my article on apologetics that I linked earlier, if we were to get, say, five percent of the population to do apologetic work at an intermediate or advanced level, that would be a major improvement over the current situation. The percentage ought to be higher than five, but even five would be a big improvement.

      I frequently come across situations in various fields of apologetics (and theology, ethics, etc.) in which nobody is doing the relevant work or only some extremely tiny fraction of one percent of the available people are doing it. See the examples I cited in the opening post in this thread.

      Some elements of what you've quoted from Pascal have merit, but there's too much that's problematic mixed in. His comment that the evidence for Christianity "at least equals, the evidence to the contrary", for example, is wrong. The evidence for the likes of the resurrection of Jesus and certain prophecy fulfillments exceeds the evidence to the contrary and does so by a substantial margin, and it's counterproductive to add the sort of "at least equals" qualifiers that Pascal includes. You should refrain from quoting those kinds of comments from him unless you're going to tell people that he's wrong about that portion of what you're quoting.

      I agree that Christians should pray more, and I agree that there are many ongoing miracles (and often ones with significant apologetic value) that should get more attention. But I don't see a justification for drawing the sort of major connection you seem to be drawing between the neglect of apologetics and the neglect of prayer. There are more straightforward explanations for the neglect of apologetics (e.g., the time it takes, what it does to your relationships, the intellectual and emotional burdens involved) that seem to not require any major supplementation from something like a neglect of prayer, though I'd expect the neglect of prayer to have some role.

  9. Jason, I agree that the command for apologetics isn't limited to those two passages. When I cited them I had a feeling that maybe I should make clear all of Scripture is apologetical precisely because it might appear I limited it to those two. I should have listened to that inner voice, but didn't because I wanted to be succinct. Luther brought out the fact that all of life can be sacred. That you can even change diapers for the glory of God. With that basic Reformational insight, I believe all of life is theological, and therefore by implication it's also apologetical. Since one of Van Til's contributions to apologetics was to point out that you cannot do good theology without good apologetics, and vice versa. A major complaint people had/have with his system of defense is that it virtually confuses apologetics with theology and evangelism. Van Til's point is that while you can distinguish them, you can never separate them. Each informs the others.

    So, I'm not disagreeing with you. I'm agreeing with >90%. I'm just trying to balance off what could be [mis]interpreted by others as you making apologetics the be-all and end-all of the Christian life. I already said above that all Christians should have a grasp of basic apologetics [to fortify their own faith and to empower one's evangelism]. Also that most Christians don't have that basic grasp. But there comes a point in studying apologetics where the average person will get to a place of diminishing returns. Keeping them from fulfilling their other God given duties and vocations. For them the cost/benefit of extended study/application will end up being negative. Because the deeper you get into apologetics, the more time and brain power you must dedicate to reading and formulating more precise and elaborate answers to address and anticipate increasingly sophisticated objections. Most Christians don't have the time or intelligence to do that. And the unregenerate [including the elect] are, via depravity, so hostile to the Gospel that they will always find some excuse to reject Christian witness and argumentation, unless the Spirit of God squelches that resistance. Beyond a certain point of apologetics, Christians should focus on praying for those unsaved people.

    Christians can also become obsessed with apologetics. Even those not obsessed can sometimes fall into the trap of imbalance and neglecting other areas of the Christian life. If I recall correctly, by his own admission, Walter Martin's divorce was due to his vocation that required him to spend much time with books and traveling. Matt Slick's daughter's apostasy might be partially due to Matt's overly strict apologetical training. Though, I'm not blaming him, especially since his personality is very likely affected by his acknowledged Asperger's Syndrome, and his daughter was a responsible adult when she departed from the faith.


  10. She should have seen the folly of apostasy precisely because of her upbringing. Some folks even miss out on marriage and children because of apologetical obsession and come to regret it later in life. Instead of using up their time on video games, they use it up on studying esoteric aspects of apologetics/theology/ philosophy which will only address a minority of non-Christian critics and criticisms/objections. Time that could have been spent praying for the salvation of relatives, friends and in finding a spouse, making money, raising godly seed/offspring [Mal. 2:15], and keeping his/her home clean and organized to fulfill the forgotten Biblical command of hospitality [Rom. 12:13; 1 Pet. 4:9; Heb. 13:2; 1 Tim. 3:2; 1 Tim. 5:10; Titus 1:8; Luke 14:12-14; 2 Kings 4:8; Matt. 25:42-46; Gen. 18:4; Gen. 19:2; Job 31:32; Exo. 2:20; Judges 13:5; Isa. 58:7 Acts 16:34; Rom. 12:20; Judges 19:20; Acts 16:15, 34; Acts 21:8 etc.]. Though, I agree with you that many Christians are too fussy about keeping the home immaculately clean.

    The Biblical teaching about suffering, persecution and tribulation [e.g. Acts 14:22; John 16:33; 2 Tim. 3:12] must be balanced with the commands about glorifying God through eating, drinking and enjoying the life God has given [1 Cor. 10:31; 1 Tim. 6:17-19; Eccl 2:24-25; 3:12-13; 5:18; 8:15; 9:7]. Lest we destroy ourselves with over-religiosity [Eccl. 7:15-18]. As a continuationist, I also think the Theology of the Cross, should be balanced with the Theology of Glory. We can have foretastes of the Kingdom of God now. While I think he's overly harsh on cessationists, I think there's some merit in Vincent Cheung's emphasis on a life of faith, miracles and victory [e.g. his articles Here, Here, Here].

    //His comment that the evidence for Christianity "at least equals, the evidence to the contrary", for example, is wrong. The evidence for the likes of the resurrection of Jesus and certain prophecy fulfillments exceeds the evidence to the contrary and does so by a substantial margin, and it's counterproductive to add the sort of "at least equals" qualifiers that Pascal includes. You should refrain from quoting those kinds of comments from him unless you're going to tell people that he's wrong about that portion of what you're quoting.//

    You're right. BTW, I do think the evidence for Christianity "exceeds the evidence to the contrary and does so by a substantial margin...". I do need to make that more explicit when I quote him. But that's why I also said, "though I might have worded them slightly differently".

    Those are my final comments. Again, I agree with nearly 100% of what you've written on this topic over the years. I've read them over the past decade and always thought/said a strong "AMEN!" in my head [if not also out loud]. I was just trying to balance it out with other issues that I think [IMHO] are also important.


      Since apologetics is getting discussed so much here, I want to remind the readers of something. This thread is an expansion upon a previous one. I've been addressing urgency in general, not just in apologetics. I cited apologetics as an example in the first post in this thread, but I also referred to how Evangelicals should be trying to accomplish "significant things, in apologetics and elsewhere".

      Issues like the ones that have come up in this thread don't get discussed enough. So, even where the two of us agree, I want to introduce some further points or reiterate others that deserve more emphasis.

      Appeals to what the Bible says about the average Christian or what it says about circumstances significantly different than ours are inadequate. I've argued that American Evangelicals aren't equivalent to the average believer in Biblical times in some ways that are relevant to this thread. American Evangelicals are among those "who [have] been given much" (Luke 12:48). And I think our current situation warrants doing more than we normally would in some contexts, including apologetics, much as people live differently in wartime than peacetime.

      The typical American Evangelical is in many ways living with advantages that even royalty didn't have in previous centuries. If an Evangelical is living in a house with air-conditioning, a refrigerator and cabinets that are highly stocked, with many political freedoms, with a lot of advanced technology and medicine, etc., then he's already enjoying many of the blessings of God that you've referred to in connection with passages like 1 Timothy 6:17. It's not as though the typical American Evangelical has to seek additional comforts, conveniences, food, and so on in order to begin enjoying the blessings in question. Given how many Americans are overweight and all of the problems we have with various illnesses, medical expenses, and such related to poor health practices, how many material possessions Americans have, etc., I don't think there's much of a need for giving further attention to enjoying such aspects of life. Whatever need there is to address such issues further, it seems to be much less than the need for giving more attention to matters like theology and apologetics.

    2. I've cited a lot of data regarding where we are as a nation. Americans spend more than five hours a day on leisure and sports (more than that if you add other trivial and unnecessary activities) while spending less than ten minutes a day on religious and spiritual activities. Even though we've been going through multiple decades of major changes on LGBTQ issues, most Americans are so ignorant of those issues that they think the homosexual population is almost ten times bigger than it really is. Most Americans can't name the four gospels, can't name a single Supreme Court justice, etc. I've explained how such statistics about the nation as a whole reflect Evangelical negligence to some extent, even though you can't equate the average American with the average Evangelical. I've also cited sources who provide statistics on Evangelicals in particular (Pew, Barna, etc.). Though Evangelicals are significantly better than the average American, there are enough problems with Evangelicals to warrant the sort of criticisms of them I've raised in this thread.

      I don't know much about the situations with Walter Martin and Matt Slick that you referred to. Assuming they did take on too much apologetic work, it should be kept in mind that only a tiny percentage of Evangelicals do that or even come close to it. And the neglect of apologetics among such a large majority of Evangelicals probably is part of what leads people like Martin and Slick to try to do too much. As I said in my article on apologetics linked earlier, if apologetics weren't so neglected, nobody would need to carry as heavy a burden as the hardest workers in apologetics have to carry today. We need a larger number of people carrying lighter loads instead of expecting such a small minority of the population to bear such an inordinately heavy burden. For every Martin or Slick, there's a vastly larger number of people erring at the other end of the spectrum.

      I appreciate the work you do, and I'm glad that we agree about so much.

  11. I forgot to point out that there are aspects of Vincent Cheung's theology and apologetics I disagree with. I've listed them HERE. If he's too extreme for some, other more moderate Calvinistic continuationists include John Piper, Wayne Grudem, Sam Storms, Matt Slick et al.

    Since I'm posting another comment anyway, here are some links on the global resurgence of Christianity and/or conservatism which has some relevance to the optimism of Postmillennialists regarding the future:


    Christianity is SURGING Throughout the World!!!

    The RETURN of CHRISTENDOM! Dr. Steve Turley on [Turley interviewed by postmillennialist Calvinist Greg Strawbridge]


    Islam is imploding according Christian apologists specializing in Islam like David Wood and his cadre [e.g. Anthony Rogers, Tony Costa, Jay Smith, Sam Shamoun, et al.]. Along with David's ex-Muslim atheist cobelligerent YouTube comrades like Apostate Prophet, Abdullah Sameer, Harris Sultan [et al.]. According to all of them many Islamic leaders are seriously worried. Especially since the recent admission by top Islamic apologists and/or scholars that there are holes in the standard narrative of Islam:

    Holes in the Standard Quranic Narrative

    See also:


  12. Sheikh Yasir Qadhi In Full Panic Mode, Demands YouTube CENSOR Videos Exposing Him

    11 Differences on ONE PAGE of a Quran Manuscript! [More Holes in the Narrative]

    200+ Quran Verses Missing from a Single Chapter!

    How Many Muslims Have Memorized the Entire Quran? [New Challenge!]


    China on course to become 'world's most Christian nation' within 15 years

    China On Track To Become World’s Largest Christian Country By 2025, Experts Say

    China Could Become the Biggest Christian Nation by 2030s


    There's also a resurgence of conservatism in America. Think for example of the popularity of Ben Shapiro and his fellows at The Daily Wire like Andrew Klavan, Michael Knowles, Matt Walsh. Or Young America's Foundation. Or American Conservative Union and their CPAC conventions. Even homosexuals like Dave Rubin are seeing some of the benefits and wisdom of conservative values and principles, as well as sounding the alarm about the dangers of the radical leftist agenda in the Democratic party.