Friday, February 19, 2010

Would Paul be a fan of modern apologetics?

1 Corinthians 1:17
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

5 comments:

Emilee said...

I just wanted to share that I enjoy reading your blog and learning from your writings. They help me put into words what the Holy Spirit is teaching me. They also help me when I 'debate' with my very smart, very lost brother.

Steven Kippel said...

Thank you for the encouraging words. My intention is not to debate, but to ask hard questions and look for honest answers.

Jay Urban said...

Steve,

I would like to hear your thoughts on this verse. I guess I always sort of envisioned Paul as a lecturer, although I know that he, at times, advocated meeting the needs of people as a way to present them with a truer picture of the gospel.

I guess I am having trouble fitting this verse into the pictures of modern apologetics as black/white dichotomies.

Steven Kippel said...

I really haven't thought about it a lot. I do think anyone who wants to pursue apologetics should definitely consider this pericope and determine the motive of said learning.

It does seem a lot of people like using apologetics as a bludgeon to wield into battle. I know it definitely gives some people a smug attitude about things.

I think this passage from Paul seems to contradict some of these motives. Som apologetics is used as a way to engage the world on their own terms, and it seems Paul suggests this would empty the cross of its power.

I think apologetics is something we should probably use within the Church, to help believers answer some of the questions they might have. I don't think it should be used as a way to engage the world, because usually it's used in a combative nature trying to prove to sinners that us Christians are somehow smarter.

But we are Christians only because of the cross of Christ, not because we had some enlightenment into scientific facts. And we should be careful about this because we should be about the grace of God in the world, not in trying to find answers to all the world.

Steven Kippel said...

I like what Charles Spurgeon had to say, "Scripture is like a lion. Who ever heard of defending a lion? Just turn it loose; it will defend itself."