Monday, February 16, 2015

The Sad Apologetics Failures at Biola

A couple weeks ago I attended the Biola apologetics event "God, Science, and the Big Questions." It featured three of the giants in Christian apologetics, John Lennox, William Lane Craig, and J.P. Moreland. The Biola gymnasium was packed, so it was encouraging that there is always great interest in the big questions.

I'm just not so sure we've quite got the answers down, however.

Actually most of the answers provided by these scholars were pretty decent. Most were standard-issue apologetics responses, that's fine. Some were ones I hadn't heard before, a few downright sobering. I truly liked Lennox' reference to the creation of Adam and Eve and the resurrection of Christ as "singularity" events, much like the Big Bang.

The item I want to address here, now, is one that I believe we in the apologetics community do a thoroughly crappy job of answering, and sure enough, it was the final question of the entire evening's forum. These particular answers were, yet again, the pathetically deficient blappings we've all heard a million times and yet, they simply do nothing to get at what the questioner wants to discover.

That question, and it was asked just like this.

"What does the Bible have to say to the individual who feels the Christian religion is guilty of terrible violence in history?" Not sure if that's exactly it word-for-word, but you can see yourself at the Biola Youtube site, the video of the forum is there.

Here's the typical response, in the various forms in which it is expressed.

"Why implicate all Christians for the lousy things some of them do?"

"I am ashamed of what people in the name of Christ have done."

"Oh yeah? What about Hitler? Mao? Pol Pot? What about their atrocities? Look at what atheist-based regimes have done in history."

"Because people do violent things confirms the truth of Christianity: that we live in a fallen world."

This last response from Craig earned a round of applause.

Umm, excuse me, people supposedly well-versed in Scripture and philosophy and history and simple logical thinking --

These answers are caw-caw.

That they come from the mouths of the most celebrated scholars of articulating the Christian faith is even more shameful. Now, seriously, they aren't completely awful answers, there is some verity in them, but the main problem is that for one, they didn't answer the question as it was: What does the Bible say to them, and two, the one seeking answers is still left without any real concept of who Christ is in light of the conditions he sees around him.

What's the real answer? Here it is, I'm happy to share it with you.

"Everyone has a heart to do violence, let's face it. Each of us hates when bad things happen to people. So what then? There must be some instrument of judgment to carry out violent acts against those who'll refuse to call on the name of the Lord -- and when we say 'those who call on the Lord' we mean people who live mercifully themselves as God asks us to live.

"What to do with such people? It's really not that complicated, God is an amazing God. He established an agency of justice like the one God did in the fourth chapter of Genesis [getting here right at what the Bible says]. That agency's progenitor was Cain, who was given seven-fold power to prosecute evil-doing wherever it was found, even if it was from its provocation of those who earned the brunt of that violent means of carrying out that justice.

"This agency has been fully operational through history, and is still in operation today. It has manifest itself chiefly first in Babylon, then Persia, through Greece, Rome, Britain, and today the United States of America. Its branches are the federal government, the Federal Reserve banking system, and the Roman Catholic Church, which itself is the primary driving force of this entire operation.

"Any great institutional violence that has happened through history has been the expression of sinful behavior by people refusing to call on God -- or acting out of their belief in a counterfeit god -- and the commensurate prosecution carried out by this hegemony of retribution started by Cain.

"Jesus Christ, on the other hand, gave His life for people to be freed from that body of death, and invites all to enter the Kingdom by accepting His work on the cross, His shed blood covering your sin. One day He will return, and will take with him those clothed in His righteousness, but will execute final judgment against those whose lifestyles have been or are all about violence in whatever form.

"If we actually took the time to look carefully at it, you'd see examples of those kinds of violence in things you wouldn't even think. Violence isn't only physical, it is emotional and spiritual, and Cain's legacy is just as much about violence as anything else. But again, God made it that way, outside of His presence to do its thing.

"You, on the other hand, can grasp the nail-scarred hand of Christ, right now. and He'll lead you out of that in into a wonderful life of forgiveness, grace, charity -- as authentic and vibrant an expression of His mission for true brotherhood and community as there is."

That's the answer. There is more to it, and it could be articulated a bit more clearly, more eloquently, certainly. But that's the main thrust.

Oh, and one more thing, something I've shared a hundred times in this blog and in my webzine work. Know why they can't say something like that? You know it.

They're all so awfully Catholicized.

They simply don't understand the meaning of that, as Scripturally sound as it is. It is because they're inured with the idea that the Roman Catholic Church is the same as Christianity. It is because they themselves are sold out to the U.S. federal government through the 501c3 tax-exempt incorporations of their ministries and universities. It is because they know  many of their patrons, including those applauding those pitifully weak answers are Catholics or Catholicists themselves, people with gobs of money to give and complete disunderstanding about what the gospel really is.

Very sad.

As always, I'm praying like crazy that some will get it, and share it, and even though apologetics forums like this people would come to Christ in Spirit and in Truth.