Most recently Moody radio had a show where Myron Penner, the author of the book The End of Apologetics (I do own this book), and William Lane Craig discussed the role of apologetics and whether a certain kind of apologetics should be abandoned. I did listen to the entire discussion and have concluded the following:
- Penner makes unnecessary false dichotomies. He calls for authentic living, vibrant community, Gospel proclamation, strong emphasis on orthopraxy, etc. As if apologetics and all these things can’t go together? They can’t be a both/and? Note the radio host points out the same issues.
- Craig and Penner agree the culture is very ‘modern’ and not as ‘postmodern’ as everyone says it is. I agree with this but I tend to see a mix of both in the ministry we do at a college campus. I do tend to find Christians that think we are only ‘postmodern’ and this is based on ignorance. Come to a campus with me and also see some of our objections I have heard here.
- Craig mentions a recent debate at The Ohio State University where he had 2,300 people. I was there. Craig also discusses the positive feedback he gets from events. Penner then says well there is negative feedback as well. So he says in the interview we need to move away from these types of events. Well once again, if apolgoetics isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, we need to scrap it? Sorry, but there is no need to “throw the baby out with the bathwater.”
- In the end, I have already mentioned the obstacles that are offered up by Christians about apologetics.
- While I appreciated the discussion, I don’t find Penner’s points to be very persuasive. I am all for doing charitable deeds, etc. and letting your light shine. But Mormons, Muslims, Jews, and others can do those things to and people can ask them “What makes you tick?” So let’s make it a both/and. Let’s let our actions shine and also be ready to give the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ behind our faith.
- If we look back twenty years from now, I don’t forsee Peener’s book leaving a huge impact. For all the apologetic circles I travel in, nobody is stopping and saying “Well, maybe we shouldn’t do this event or write this book because Penner has shown us a better way.”