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Question of the Week

Question of the Week- Mistakes for Apologists?

question-week2Each Week on Saturday, I’ll be asking a “Question of the Week.” I’d love your input and discussion! Ask a good question in the comments and it may show up as the next week’s question! I may answer the questions in the comments myself.

Mistakes for Apologists

We often talk about what apologists should do and what the best arguments are, etc. What we don’t often discuss is what apologists should not do and what some mistakes may be regarding method, argument, and the like. Thus, I thought I would ask:

What’s the single biggest mistake you think apologists make? Why do they make it? What can we do to avoid it?

Is there a methodological error apologists frequently make? Is there a way of presenting that might not be as effective? What are some issues involved in apologetics that might turn others off? Let’s see what you think in the comments.

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SDG.

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About J.W. Wartick

J.W. Wartick has an MA in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. His interests include theology, philosophy of religion--particularly the existence of God--astronomy, biology, archaeology, and sci-fi and fantasy novels.

Discussion

6 thoughts on “Question of the Week- Mistakes for Apologists?

  1. In the seedy subterranean world of online comments, perhaps the biggest mistake is a lack of patience with internet skeptics. If we think of apologists conforming, or performing Jesus’ character traits, I see apologists break out of character all the time. I think there is a balancing act between being able to read a person’s comments and questions at face value, and then, when needed, admitting with respect and tact that you think the conversation has become unproductive.

    This is the discipline of charitable interpretation, and a cultivation of the gift of discernment. Pearls before swine seems to be a season in the development of many apologists, myself included. Then, this discernment rightfully grows into asking, “Is this the best place to spend my energy right now?”

    Posted by cogitatingduck | August 23, 2014, 10:12 AM
  2. 1 Corinthians 2:11 – Who knows the thoughts of a man, but the spirit of the man within him?

    The single biggest apologist mistake in my opinion is crafting an argument to appeal to the physical mind, and not the spirit. Sure, the most successful arguments go through the mind, but you must craft your argument to appeal to the spirit.

    Take ID as an example. The skeptical mind will reject the argument when it perceives God within the assumptions; only the spirit can embrace Him.

    Posted by Mike | August 23, 2014, 10:39 AM
  3. My only thing is presentations in a debate. I remember watching a debate between Frank Turek and an atheist (I think his name was David “Something”) and Turek used a video presentation to explain an attribute of God or something with God. I don’t think presentations are all bad, but I think this one was shown in a church, which made me wonder if it would have been shown in a room filled mostly with atheists and agnostics!

    Other than that, I respect Frank Turek, but I think we must be careful of using presentations b/c you can only go so far with them. Just my opinion though.

    Posted by Jerome Danner | August 23, 2014, 7:22 PM
  4. The biggest flaw by far is simply not making the argument. Many assumptions are made by apologists and those assumptions are not grounded sufficiently at least in explanations that skeptics or seekers might find convincing or plausible. It might be a jagged and difficult path but at least make the effort.

    Presuppers may be best known for this phenomenon but it is by no means limited to their camp!

    Posted by Adam Spurgeon Zens | August 24, 2014, 12:23 AM
  5. The biggest mistake I encounter is when the apologist has some fixed idea about what atheism is, and that’s different from what I believe. The apologist must try sincerely to understand what the other person really believes, and then argue about that. Otherwise, you’re totally missing the target, and there’s no way you can bring that person to the Lord.

    Related to this point is the idea that the apologist wants to win an argument by appealing to the audience at large. I thought the point of apologetics was to convince the atheist to become a believer, not to get a group of believers in the audience to nod in agreement. If you’re just talking past the atheist in order to get applause, then you’re not really doing apologetics.

    Posted by John Moore | August 24, 2014, 12:29 AM
  6. Interesting to see what others have to say; I think one mistake I see in my immediate circle is the need to listen more to those we talk to

    Posted by SLIMJIM | August 26, 2014, 1:39 AM

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