About Apologetics


#1

I have been learning quite a bit since I started with Os Guinesses lecture ‘Apology for Apologetics’. It seemed like the way to share one’s faith with those who were thinkers but not neccessarily believers.

Eventually I got into Mr. Sola Scriptura (Gordon H. Clark), Calvin’s Institutes and a bitty bit of Martin Luther. It was fun. They were all so into this Sola Scriptura idea. I completely bought into it.

You know, how you know, that you know, that something just does not seem right. Sort of like you are a dogmatic scripturalist and you cannot think why everyone is being so hateful towards you. Like you are doing something wrong. The whole idea was cold and philosophical, and intellectual and yes…dry. Now being a guy who loves the metaphysical/mystical side to stuff, I found that there was this whole anti-mysticism deal that really came out strong in Calvin, and Luther, and BB Warfield. I was puzzled, why not spiritually exciting stuff, after all this was Jesus Christ, the most charasmatic individual to ever set feet on this planet, why must he be so boring.

Then one day I began reading Michael Sudduth (Dr to you) and his work was astounding, he set me free from Clark and for the first time I began to really enjoy reading my Bible. It was not longer an object of worship, it was the book that taught me about the One who we worship. Jesus. It was fantastic!

Simultaneously, I had been reading the Old Testament, something I had avoided for most of my life. Being strictly a NT reader. That old war hungry God really frightened me, so eventually after being up to my neck in the blood sacrifices of Deuteronomy, I found that for the first time I was in love with the God of the Old Testament. He was frightening but He was also incredibly faithful and loyal and jealous and what a joy.

I guess if you are going to be apologetics, you really need to know God, and not just in theological terms but in personal terms though the Gospel of His Son. It is not that I do not enjoy reading books. I simply love reading them, but when you are studying the whole Bible, it is just your appetite enlarges to enjoy God and when you discover He is only to be found 100% - other books are certainly in gradients of %'s but essentially the ‘uniquely inspired manuscripts’ are what is the best to read. The older the better.

Learning Hebrew, and planning to get more of a grip on Greek, learing amo, amas, amat, again…and maybe some French and German is bound to help me. But for now I am still ‘informed to a lesser degree’ and would love to know what your experience in Apologetics has been like, call this getting my feet wet.

Peace,
Pophead.

ps. I also love Dr Francis Schaeffer, and C.S Lewis, but more his fantasy stuff…hehehe


#2

Lewis is one of my favorites. Schaeffer was many years ago but he’s anti-Catholic so I wouldn’t bother with much of his stuff now.


#3

Oh, really. What did he say ?

Pophead.


#4

One example:

davidmacd.com/catholic/francis_schaeffer_how_then_should_we_live_the_rise_fall_civilization.htm


#5

Very interesting. It is nevertheless good to read ‘thinkers’, if one can look past their prejudices, one can always learn something from them.

The Roman Catholic Church is not perfect. It has some inspiring ideas, but it does not have all truth.

Love,
Pophead.


#6

#7

You’re getting careless in your trap-setting, Pophead! It didn’t even take you three posts to jump on Catholicism – which you normally do much more gradually when you start a thread like this.

For what it’s worth, though, you’re right: the Catholic Church doe not possess all truth.

We don’t know who is in hell, or the totality of people in heaven.

We don’t know what method(s) God employed to create the universe.

We don’t know the date of Christ’s birth.

In short, there are many things we don’t know, but those things generally fit into the category “Unnecessary For Salvation”.

With regard to salvation, the Catholic Church does, indeed, possess the fullness of truth, if not all of it.

Peace,
Dante


#8

Os Guinness is a heck of a guy. I have an autographed copy of The Call. Wonderful bloke!

Schaeffer likewise did a lot of good things and his books helped me grow in faith immensely while I was an Episcopalian.

Non-Catholic writers can be of great service to Catholics, so long as they understand the author’s presuppositions and prejudices prior to reading them. However, I wouldn’t recommend such things for new Catholics, or those just learning about the Catholic Faith, as sometimes the differences are deep and subtle and not easy to catch.


#9

Who’s predjudices – those of the reader, or the predjudices of anti-Catholic writers like Schaffer? Even if there is some good there, the misinformation and polemics mixed in makes for very weary reading when one has heard it all before. :slight_smile:

The Roman Catholic Church is not perfect.

:smiley: Of course she is, silly boy, since she is the Bride of Christ:

Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:25-27)

*Individuals within the Church *are not perfect, but don’t let Christ hear you insulting his Bride. :mad:

It has some inspiring ideas, but it does not have all truth.

According to St. Paul it has more than that since he calls the Church “the bulwark and the foundation of truth.” (1 Timothy 3:15)


#10

Do you?

I assume your answer is “no”. Then if you are not perfect in truth why does your judgement matter?

[/quote]

Was it a judgment or and observation ? I think it was an observation. In the same what that the writer of the linked article (above), had compiled webpages insisting that Dr. Francis Schaeffer was anti-Catholic. One might therefore observe that the writer was decidedly anti-Schaeffer. Individuals are finite, and it is therefore conclusive that individuals who belong to a religion that declares the Omniscient God, are indeed finite as well.

This thread is explorative not dambing, and I hope that I get a chance to explore some of the writers who you believe make a reasonable defence of the faith that has been entrusted to us.

I was so blessed yesterday. I leant a book by John Blanchard, from the library…It is called, ‘Is God past His sell by date?’…only to discover that it had been placed in the 2nd hand section…I bought it for about $1. He really does help one to understand the Atheism. It is something that I spent two years exploring and am still interested in understanding.

Love,
Pophead.


#11

Dante,

You are a very suspicious person. (read back) - and see who was jumping on whom. Hey, how about a positive contribution to ‘About Apologetics’…Here’s a question for you…When did your interest in Apologetics first begin ? and what do you think of the work of Thomas Acquinas various arguments for the Existence of God?

Love,
Pophead.


#12

Hi Chris,

Excellent post! - I am currently trying to get my head around Michael Sudduth’s work and have quite given up on Godel, I just do not have the brains to do his stuff. Infact both are really hard, I was hoping to explore Prof. Plantinga, but once again I have so much to learn to get to that level of reasoning. It took me really long to get through Thomas Acquinas’ proofs for the existence of God (ont, cos, tele), but it is slowly sinking in how incredibly valuable was the work he did.

Love,
Pophead.


#13

In my understanding of this. There are those who are part of the Bride of Christ who attend Church, but there are those who are not part of the Bride of Christ who attend Church as well. There is a sense in which the Bride of Christ is perfect, because of the righteousness of Christ, but in and of herself she is still being changed from glory to glory. To assume that the Bride of Christ is perfected would be to assume too much. The Bride of Christ has a significant role to play and will one day declare the wisdom and power of God before the whole of existence, but until that day we are still dealing with very imperfect people both in the Bride and in the Churches who are in the Bride or not.

Considering the way that the word ‘church’ is used in the world, I would like to make a slight ammendment to the passage that you quoted…note also that it is something that Christ is busy doing, not already done…

…that he might present to himself the church/bride.

Have you studied Thomas Acquinas’ arguments for the EXISTENCE OF GOD?

Pophead.


#14

You’re a step ahead of me, my friend. Aquinas is pretty brutal. I feel like I ought to get fluency in latin and read it that way since, from what I understand, much of the philisophical terminology he uses doesn’t translate well.

Have you ever tried reading Ratzinger/Benedict? I’ve found his books and collections of homilies to be absolutely top-notch. His ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ is profound, and many non-Catholics have highly praised it as well. His prose is deep, but very readable and his love for Christ and the Church is blatantly evident in everything he writes. :thumbsup:


#15

Apparently the distinction I attempted to make between the Church itself (which St. Paul says is flawless) and individuals who may be sinners, but are still part of the Church, was lost on you. Your understanding of his words are obviously different than mine. Pity.

Have you studied Thomas Acquinas’ arguments for the EXISTENCE OF GOD?

Pophead.

Taught classes on it, actually. Perhaps you should start another thread on this.


#16

See his video How Should We Then Live, I did, and walked out when it began to “discuss” the era of the reformation and offered a grossly inaccurate representation of the Catholic Church at that time. I had great respect for him up until I saw that. No more though…


#17

That makes a lot of sense. Latin is amazing. Once during a break a friend who was very conversant with both English and Latin. Asked me to give them any difficult English word, and because Latin is a source language for English, was able to explain the meanings of the words. I think you will discover that there are probably some good Latin to English works that not only analyze Acquinas but surrender his arguments well enough to explain them simply to friends who are struggling with the idea of the existence of God.

This afternoon, I bumped into a Jewish colleague and we stood there looking over the sea chatting and he really had some truely insightful things to say about how easy it is to see God in everything around us. I used to reject Acquinas’ arguments until I realized that everybody has what is called, ‘presuppositions’. We cannot move forward without them, for we do not not have absolute knowledge. (though we might like to imagine we do). It was such and inspiring time, I felt I had to feed back some here. There is so much to learn from the Israel of God, though clearly not all are spiritual Israel.

Not yet. I have read many books about ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ (I mean plentry…and of course the movies…hehehe). I think before I get to Pope Benedict’s book, I owe it to myself to read Thomas A. Kempis’ - Imitations of Christ and St. Augustine’s - Confessions, both of which I have read a bit and put them down and so it goes. They do not captivate me enough yet.

The other thing that came up in discussion with my Jewish friend was the matter of how God through Creation creates a ‘yearning’ in us to know Him. I noticed that Bob Dylan’s last song on his new album, explores that same idea. Lately, I have become more and more aware of how useful this yearning is in devotional times.

Whereas so many who were engaged in formal prayer, and formal reading of the Scriptures. I have always managed to explore those times with new and inovative ways. If things are to rigid, it just gets boring and I find I am unable to keep up the rigorous type of devotional, and lest I incur someone judgment (oh who cares), I really believe the Lord enjoys us to be spontaneous and to enjoy His great complexity and His really intricate nature that is so visible in the world around us.

Where we were standing talking above the ocean his labourers we fixing a wall. It was half cemented and below was this fabulous tree, it is Spring to Summer at the moment, actually more Summer and as I looked in fleeting glances a little of that yearning began to play it’s way through my heart. How right Paul was about ‘the invisible nature of God, being seen in the things that He has created.’ I then mentioned to him how often we see as Sunset or Sunrise and that yearning starts to working in us.

Without a doubt Creation is a most wonderful three dimensional artwork that creates the strangest of yearning in us for intimacy with this fantastic God. I know that the writings of men are not without that intrigue and C.S. Lewis’ Sci. Fi. Trilogy blew my mind. I was only twenty or so and I devoured them… I plan to do that again to see what sort of effect it has on my brain thirty plus years later…along with ‘Till We Have Faces’. I still have not managed to go through Lord of the Rings, the book. The movie was great…that too, again.

Wow, you certainly got me going. Thanks.

Love,
Pophead.


#18

I do understand how you understand what Paul has written. It is just when one thinks it out, it does not make logical sense.

The only perfect part about the Body of Christ, is Christ and He is the Head. The word ‘church’ is a word that carries very little purity in the world we live in. It is associated with many things and many of them are not good at all. Christ is the light and He is in the light, by grace we have been translated into the light with him. We go to that place called the Church :::> Catholic, Baptist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal…whatever name you like, and in that Church there are not only those who are in the light, there are those who are in the darkness.

Nice. Why not share a simple definition of the cosmological argument and see if anyone has questions. They are simply the most wonderful arguments and really helpful in sharing with friends who might reject the idea of a GOD. The teleological and the ontological arguments are top notch and a simple definition from someone like yourself would be the sort of positive idea I had when I started this thread. Go for it!

Love,
Pophead.
:thumbsup:


#19

Hi Church Militant,

I think we have done this hill already. :shrug: As long as we are on this planet together you will find many people who you disagree with, and many who you agree with. In the field of Apologetics, and certainly Theology, you are going to find tons of folks you disagree with and then you are going to find and equal amount who disagree with you. That is life.

When I first started out with the G.H. Clark lectures, I thought he was absolutely amazing, but it took me the best part of two years to get to the nitty-gritty and when I did I moved on. I still know that I learned a tremendous amount from him.

I know a few people in the cults and the one thing about them that marks them is that anything that is not part of their own system of beliefs they avoid like the plague. I have friends in the Presbyterian Church who would not even consider doing what I have done. I am a different sort of guy, I don’t mind the fact that I am an Evangelical, and someone else is Presbyterian, just different flavours. When I discovered there was a type called Arminian, I thought they must be terrible, much to my suprise they were a little heavy on the legalism, but essentially quite goodly sorts. I think that one needs to get past the idea that the Roman Catholic Church is the only right Church on this planet. I used to think that the Assemblies of God was, and then went to the next and thought they were, and so on, I hope you get my point. It does not matter what Church you belong to, there is always a Church out there that is better than yours, and one that is better than theirs, even within the RCC, there are some that are wierd, and others that are joyful, and others that are serious, it is just how this life is. People and groups of people vary. To call any one group the only group is to tie yourself to a cult type mentality and that is dangerous.

I once advised a Mormon, who was a far as I could tell, a total pain in the neck, he argued with everyone about everything…poor soul…I said to him, ‘Why not take a holiday and not go to Church for awhile…distance yourself enough to see that there are many, many people in this world and many groups, and yours is not the only one…’ Truly if one is so into the only church idea, eventually you will end up being lonely. It is just the way things are.

Hence, I have always believed that the Bride of Christ can be found in every Church, and :smiley: on every forum. We are God’s peculiar people, and royal priesthood, zealous of righteousness…’

Love,
Pophead.


#20

Dear Apologetes,

Okay, here is something to get your teeth into. I started working through this paper awhile back and just got stuck from the following line onwards.

‘Hence a ground will not be the total input to a belief-forming mechanism, but those features of the input that are taken account of in the actual formation of the belief. We can now draw a distinction between two quite different ways one may believe or know something where this belief or knowledge is mediated by reasons.’

link: The Prospects for ‘Mediate’ Natural Theology in John Calvin by Michael Czapkay Sudduth

Pophead.


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