Posts Tagged ‘apologetics’

The apologetic testimonies of Hank Hanegraaff, Gretchen Passantino Coburn, and Fuller Theological Seminary in defense of the Local Churches are highly problematic. As I explained in my previous post, they lack serious argument to justify the about-face of those who (in the case of Hanegraaff and Passantino Coburn) for years deemed the Local Churches, at the very least, theologically unsound. But there is something else that makes these testimonies problematic and even troublesome. There is something oddly familiar about them. Specifically, what general and unsubstantiated claims that these evangelicals make about the Local Churches eerily parallel claims that some evangelicals have also been making about the Mormon religion—as well as some claims that Mormon apologists have made. Indeed, in one instance it is the same evangelical making these claims in both cases. Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

21
Jan

Who Wants to Be an Apologist?

   Posted by: Rob Bowman    in apologetics

After a bit of a hiatus during which those of us at the Institute for Religious Research have been reflecting on the direction our organization is headed, I wish to resume this blog with some thoughts on the notion of being an apologist. Although some of us actually consider the role of a Christian apologist to be an honorable vocation and ministry, the term apologist is now largely used as a pejorative.

 

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: ,

Books have an enormous power to shape the way we think and in turn the way we live. Obviously, as a Christian, the books of the Bible are for me both foundational and transformative. Other books, though not inspired or authoritative, have helped me to think about the Bible, its teachings, and its truth claims. I present here a list of books by fifteen different authors. I make no claims here about these being the greatest or most important books of their kind, although in some cases I think this assessment might apply. They happen to have been especially formative for me, either in kindling interest in a certain subject or in reorienting my way of thinking about a subject. I have listed them in roughly the order in which I read them, though my recollection in this regard may not always be correct. Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , ,

Once a year, the Evangelical Theological Society and the Society of Biblical Literature hold their annual conventions back to back, usually in the same city. This year ETS met in Providence, Rhode Island, November 19-21, and SBL is meeting in Boston, November 21-24. The Evangelical Philosophical Society, in addition to having sessions at ETS and SBL, also co-sponsors an annual apologetics conference to coincide with ETS; this year it is meeting in Smithfield, Rhode Island, November 20-22.

Attending as much of these meetings as possible has been on the must-do list for me for a few years now. Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , ,

27
Oct

Twenty Ways to Answer Someone If You Have No Case

   Posted by: Rob Bowman    in apologetics

Finding someone’s argument too tough to handle? Over your head in a matter of biblical exegesis, scientific evidence, or logical validity? Don’t despair. Now you can always respond to those smart-alecks and put them in their place. These are field-tested methods for diverting attention from the lack of substance in your argument. Never be stuck again for a snappy comeback!

1. The Amateur-Status Violation: If your opponent is not a professional scholar in the relevant field, dismiss everything he says on the subject as the opinion of an amateur. (Your opinion as an amateur, of course, is exempt from this criticism.) On the other hand, if he is a professional scholar in the field, dismiss what he says on the grounds that he is in the field for the money, or that he is the product of a corrupt academic establishment, or both. Note that this strategy is viable in all situations. Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , ,

24
Oct

The State of Book of Mormon Studies

   Posted by: Rob Bowman    in apologetics, Mormonism

The October 2008 issue of Sunstone—a liberal Mormon magazine—includes a lengthy article by John-Charles Duffy entitled “Mapping Book of Mormon Historicity Debates—Part I: A Guide for the Overwhelmed” (36-62). The article is available online as well as in the print magazine; the online version has the advantage of easy access to links to numerous online resources. Duffy, a doctoral student in religious studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has written a must-read article on the state of Book of Mormon studies. Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , ,

14
Oct

Defending Heresy in the New Millennium

   Posted by: Rob Bowman    in apocrypha, apologetics, Biblical studies

The words “Defending Heresy” in the title of this blog are deliberately provocative. I am referring to a recent article published on the Society of Biblical Literature’s web site by Tony Burke entitled “Heresy Hunting in the New Millennium.”  Burke (whose full name, according to his web site, is Tony Chartrand-Burke) teaches biblical studies at York University in Toronto, Canada, and specializes in the study of the Christian (or New Testament) apocrypha. His doctoral dissertation was on the Infancy Gospel of Thomas.  This post is the first installment (Lord willing) of a thorough reply to Burke’s article.

Burke’s SBL article is a critique of the way various conservative Christian apologetic works handle the Christian apocrypha (hereafter CA). The main authors he criticizes are Darrell Bock,[1] Ben Witherington,[2] N. T. Wright,[3] J. Ed Komoszewski,[4] Philip Jenkins,[5] and Craig A. Evans.[6] According to Burke, these authors’ works “often misrepresent the texts, their authors, and the scholars who study them. Proper research and sober argument take a back seat to the apologists’ goal of buttressing the faith.” Like the ancient orthodox apologists such as Irenaeus and Hippolytus, they sacrifice accuracy “to the needs of apologetics” and hurl demonizing invective against modern advocates of the CA. Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , ,