Wednesday, July 11, 2007

No Apologies

Some have observed and question why there are not too many apologists that come from a Lutheran background. Whereas there are many professional RC apologists, Reformed and non-Denominational ones, yet there are very few that stand out from the Lutheran camp. So far the most well known ones are Prof. John Warwick Montgomery and Prof. Rod Rossenblad. Even my finding KFUO was an accident (providential). So not too many.
They are obscure and when you do see them engaging in apologia, you do not see them debating topics like the existence of God, the Bible etc.

There are several reasons for this obscurity, and I think it is due to their philosophy.

1. For them the Pastor is Theologian and apologetics is done in the context of the parish environment. All Christian work, like apologetics is done in the context of a pastoral sphere. This is a different concept when compared to idea of para-church organizations.

2. They got the Book of Concord, their confession, which is highly apologetic in character. So in a manner of speaking, they can throw to you "the book". It codifies there their defense for believing what they believe.

3. They won't discuss with the atheist if God exists, or the issue of the Bible being the Word of God. No, they will discuss with the atheist Jesus Christ's resurrection from the dead. This is a different philosophy and it makes sense. One can convince an atheist to be a theist but that still misses the point, one can be convinced that the Bible is the Word of God but that still falls short. None of these makes one a Christian. So, they will discuss Jesus with the atheists as foolish from a logical standpoint that might seem.

The point is that Jesus Christ the Lord has come already and that has changed things. God proved he more than exists, he went further, he proved he loves us. The atheist does not need a God who hates him and who simply makes demands. He also needs to know that the God he does not want to believe in, actually loved him. Christ is proof of that. You hit many birds with that one stone. God, the Bible, life's meaning falls in place when the atheist sees the Christ...given for him.

See also blogologists of Lutheran stripes at aardvarkalley. Follow the links there.

3 comments:

J. K. Jones said...

Great post.

As a Baptist, I have found that the major contribution that Lutheran theologians and apologists have made to my Christian life is the relentless drive they have to turn everything in Christianity back to the Person and work of Christ on our behalf. Montgomery and Rosenbladt are my favorites.

This is a major task of apologetics rightly practiced. The idea is to present the gospel as clearly and rationally as possible. The point is the gospel, not some string of wonderfully articulate arguments (not that we should argue inarticulately, or that Lutherans are inarticulate; they are very articulate).

I would argue the existence of God. I would argue the Bible as God’s Word. I would argue for the resurrection. I would argue anything and everything in the Christian worldview. I would start at the beginning, the end, around the side, up the back, over the top and digging underneath as a conversation would warrant. All of my arguments would be worthless if they did not present the finished work of Christ on our behalf.

Everything I said would be as a resounding gong or clanging cymbal if I did not point to the love of God demonstrated in the provision of righteousness through trust in what Christ did. Apologetics rightly employed leads directly to the expression of the great truths of the gospel.

We are, to a major extent and in every primarily important way, on the same team with the same objectives. Let’s never let our differences in approach and the discussion of those differences take away from the primary task of proclaiming the gospel. We are called to do the work of apologetics, not talk about how to do the work of apologetics.

Sorry for the ranting and raving.

Matthew said...

Thank you for this post! Your points concerning why there isn't so much lutheran appologetics is like you say, it's usually kept in the pastoral area. But there's another level to why this is where our efforts are centered. The issue is us fighting the believer's tendency toward generating as much discomfort for themselves as possible rather than simply believing the promises of God in Jesus Christ. This is the tendency of all believers, to fall into the trap of a theology of glory, which leaves them either broken and falling away from the faith or leaves them believing they are pulling off being "good Christians".

As for appologetics from the Lutherans, check out our new podcast at http://lutherandifference.blogspot.com/ . Our plan is to move from strictly "pastoral" appologetics into a head on clash with the culture.

L P Cruz said...

JK,

Ranting an raving is welcomed here! We do not expect everyone to be Lutheran, however, if all of us are back into the purity of the Gospel, we have hit a major breakthrough.

Matthew,

Thanks for the link, I will visit. Indeed we are creatures who are capable of corrupting the Gospel and get into error ourselves, no wonder Paul said to Timothy to guard his doctrine. We can not stay complacent, we have to guard our own minds from making the Gospel a form of works, I agree.


Lito