Bullying in Apologetics

The History of Christian apologetics has not been the cleanest slate one could acquire at Goodwill. There are now at least 5 different major schools of thought in Apologetics: 1). Classical / Traditional 2). Evidential, 3). Reformed Epistemology, 4). Presuppositionalism, and 5). Ad-Hoc Apologetics (whatever comes up at the moment for whomever is there in the moment). Those brethren without a methodology (such as the ad-hoc crowd) are thought of as “messy” and “unsophisticated” by the rest of us (I will not lie, this has often crossed my mind). Those same brethren will see us as “unable to adapt to many different situations.” But it does not stop there. The Traditionalists and Evidentialists will accuse us and the Reformed Epistemologists with using circular reasoning and “assuming a first principle” (which is a virtue, not a vice!). Everyone (who is uninformed and loves to build straw men) regards my presuppositional system as “fideism.” There goes the fideist, they say. He is reasoning in a circle. The presuppositionalists will accuse the Reformed Epistemologists of not taking the Bible seriously enough, because it is not their prima fascie first principle. The Reformed Epistemologists secretly see the Traditionalists as “antiquated” and the Evidentialists as “market-driven.” They always come up with evidences and never know where to place them, apparently. But the Evidentialists will retort “at least we have evidences – you (Reformed Epistemologists) don’t even know where to gather your first principles from.” (A charge mistakenly advanced against Alvin Plantinga). Do not get me started with some (s-o-m-e) Clarkians and their crusade against who knows what. I am quite the fan of Gordon Clark, but this does not mean that everyone other than him is mistaken. (Then you have the young Van-Tillians who have never picked up Van-Til but can write a book on him only by consulting secondary sources). The horrible trench-warfare that goes on in the apologetics forums between those of the analogical and purely propositional knowledge camps is enough to leave a shell-shock in the minds of those in the fringes, and in some cases, certain popular Christian apologists are labeled “heretics.” Something has gone awry – has been awry.

But notice how, throughout the last paragraph, I was throwing a few little jabs myself. This was deliberate and must not be taken more seriously than is warranted. But why?  Why would a command to state my claims with “gentleness and reverence” (1 Peter 3:15) be mistaken for a call to strip the medals off of my Christian colleagues? I am not one to allow myself to be out-argued, but I certainly do not have time nor desire to entertain the thoughts that some of my brethren have with regard to others who do not see eye to eye with them on apologetic method. The term “heretic” must not be so easily allowed to slip from our tongues. So let us read 1 Peter 3:15 in context and search our hearts. If we have any repenting to do, let us do it now.

Felipe Diez

About lalvin1517

I'm married with two children and pastor McCall Baptist Church in McCall, Idaho.
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