Lutheran and Reformed Apologetics: An Overview

You know there it ends. Yo, it depends on where you start

– Everlast, What It’s Like.

You’ve all been there before: that algebraic formula that starts with the logical precision of a Vulcan only to wind up looking worse than Lady Gaga’s wardrobe by the end of the equation.

It happens in theology too. Errors in the doctrine of original sin, for example, result in relics and altar calls instead of repentance and the forgiveness of sins. Errors in Christology result in Dr. Pepper and Doritos instead of Jesus’ body and blood for the forgiveness of your sins and a real absence instead of Jesus’ real presence. It depends on where you start.

Apologetics is no different. Where one begins the argument will determine where the we lead the non-believer in the course of the discussion: to the cross and the certainty of Jesus’ death and resurrection in history or doubt in the very nature of truth and historical investigation altogether. Using poor methods leads both speaker and hearer astray from the overarching goal of apologetics – the proclamation of Christ Crucified – and ultimately undermines Christian proclamation of the Gospel.

Everyone does apologetics. There are good arguments, bad arguments and no arguments. The question is, what is the best method?

Lutherans approach apologetics the way we do because of the way we “do” theology; the Reformed approach apologetics the way they do because they “do” theology the way they do.

Admittedly, the title Lutheran and Reformed Apologetics is vague. Many Lutherans have fallen prey to the presuppositional approach in spite of their rich, evidential apologetic heritage and many in the Reformed camp have embraced evidential apologetics. Broadly speaking however, Lutherans (e.g. John W. Montgomery), approach apologetics evidentially while the Reformed (e.g. Cornelius Van Til), typically employ presuppositional methods.

In Van Til’s own words:

All is yellow to the jaundiced eye. As he speaks of the facts the sinner reports them to himself and others as yellow every one. There are no exceptions to this. And it is the facts as reported to himself, that is as distorted by his own subjective condition, which he assumes to be the facts as they really are. [endnote 1]

 What then more particularly do I mean when by saying that epistemologically the believer and the non-believer have nothing in common? I mean that every sinner looks through colored glasses. And these colored glasses are cemented to his face. He assumes that self-consciousness is intelligible without God-consciousness. He assumes that consciousness of facts is intelligible without consciousness of God. [endnote 2]

 Shall we in the interest of a point of contact admit that man can interpret anything correctly if he virtually leaves God out of the picture? Shall we who wish to prove that nothing can be explained without God, first admit that some things at least can be explained without him? On the contrary we shall show that all explanations without God are futile. [endnote 3]

In other words, there is no common ground between the Christian and the non-Christian. “The apologist must presuppose the truth of Christianity as the proper starting point in apologetics.” [endnote 4]  One must have saving faith before one can understand empirical truth. Consequently, presuppositional apologists begins by arguing that “Unbelievers cannot argue, think or live without presupposing God” thus demonstrating the inadequacy of the unbeliever’s jaundiced vision. [endnote 5]

The question is, once the unbeliever’s worldview is razed what is left in the rubble since the presuppositionalist has already stated that investigation of empirical evidence based on common ground do not exist between the believer and the unbeliever?

This is nothing short of philosophical uncertainty and religious anarchy. Like a one-legged pirate kicking his enemy, there are numerous problems inherent in the presuppositional method:

  1. As John Montgomery observes, “…even if it were possible in some fashion to destroy all existent alternative worldviews but that of orthodox Christianity, the end result would still not be the necessary truth of Christianity; for in a contingent universe, there are an infinite number of possible philosophical positions…” [endnote 6]
  2. The presuppositional apologist burns bridges before he can cross them. In contrast, the evidential apologetic maintains that the non-Christian can understand empirical and biblical evidence. Both Christians and non-Christians must use inductive reasoning to distinguish true and false (i.e. simply crossing the street).
  3. The truth of Christianity – and its evidences – is not locked in some presuppositional closet. Christianity is capable of examination (1 Corinthians 15) for these things did not occur in a corner (Acts 26:26). Jesus was born in the days of Quirinus and crucified under Pontius Pilate.
  4. Where the presuppositionalist makes the case a priori, the evidentialist builds a defense a posteriori, not assuming their conclusion. The former is circular (begging the question), the latter is a biblically sound defense and a well-reasoned argument.
  5. The unbeliever can easily turn the presuppositional cannon back on the Christian, arguing that it is the Christian who has “Jesus goggles” firmly cemented to his head. And until those are removed there is no hope for an intellectual discussion. Conversations of this sort almost always degrade into an esoteric Jerry Springer show, the irresistible force meeting the immovable object.
  6. “By rejecting the fact-oriented alternative, Van Til eliminates in principle the possibility of his opponents’ marshalling evidence against Christian claims. But the victory is entirely pyrrhic, for by accepting aprioristic circularity, he at the same time eliminates all possibility of offering a positive demonstration of the truth of the Christian view.” [endnote 7]

In the end, the presuppositional apologist actually undermines Gospel proclamation while at the same time removing any need to examine the factual, historical nature of the Christian faith. This renders the Christian incapable of making any meaningful claim to truth as distinct from any of the other voices clamoring to fill the ears of the unbeliever.

However, there is a better way: the explicit and implicit method of the Scriptures: Lutheran evidential apologetics. A method which acknowledges:

  1. There is common ground and knowledge. Everyone (Christian and non-Christian) uses factual evidence and inductive reasoning on a daily basis.
  2. There is a joyful marriage between the claims made in the New Testament and the historical, empirical evidence. Jesus Christ lived, died and rose from the dead in the common ground we call history. This provides a good starting point in our discussions with the unbeliever.
  3. And finally, the evidence for the Christian faith is overwhelming and compelling, including both the primary historical documents (i.e. the gospels) – written by eyewitnesses and close associates of eyewitnesses – and corroborating evidence, including that of secular, hostile witnesses.

While the presuppositional apologist can only bring the non-Christian to stare at his feet in despair, Lutheran apologetics brings the unbeliever directly to the foot of the cross in confidence. The unbeliever does not need a priori dogmatism, but the veracious, reliable witness of the Christian proclamation that God has taken on human flesh, entered human history and died and rose again for our justification. There’s no better place to start.

 

 

 

 

 


[1] Cornelius Van Til, “Introduction” to The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible by B.B. Warfield (Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1948), p. 20.

[2] Van Til, A Christian Theory of Knowledge (Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1969), p.295.

[3] Ibid., p. 294.

[4] Steven B. Cowan, general editor. Five Views on Apologetics (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000), p. 18.

[5] Ibid., p. 19.

[6] John Warwick Montgomery, From an essay in Faith Founded on Fact: Essays in Evidential Apologetics, entitled, Once Upon an A Priori (New York: Thomas Inc., Publishers, 1978), p. 119.

[7] Ibid., p. 118.

About Pastor Sam Schuldheisz

Pastor Schuldheisz serves as Pastor at Redeemer Lutheran Church, Huntington Beach, CA. He graduated in 2004 from Concordia University Irvine. And he is a 2008 graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana. Pastor Schuldheisz is also blessed in marriage to his wife of 7 years, Natasha. Together they enjoy the blessings of parenthood with their daughter Zoe. And when he’s not writing sermons or changing diapers, he enjoys reading and writing about the works of the Inklings and other belletristic literature, and Christian apologetics. He’s even been known to answer to Pastor Samwise on occasion.

Comments

Lutheran and Reformed Apologetics: An Overview — 50 Comments

  1. I am certainly one who likes apologetics and I often give reasons for the hope within me to others. But, I still scratch my head over why Lutherans would bother wrestling with the differences between evidential and presuppositional apologetics. As Lutherans we confess the Scriptural doctrine that one can’t come to faith by his own strength or reason. Certainly the non-believer can hear and even understand arguments and evidence presented to them, but at the end of the day reception of the truth is solely due to the workings of the Holy Spirit through the Word of God giving faith to the individual to receive the truth.

    I was an atheist for eighteen long years. As a follower of philosophers such as David Hume and other British Empiricists, I believed that humans only had what Bertrand Russell called “knowledge by acquaintance.” Any other forms of so-called “knowledge” were merely beliefs, some of which might be justified by facts much better than others, but needless to say such beliefs were not actual knowledge, which I believed required one’s actual experience with an object or causal connection. So, you can imagine the sort of skepticism I lived under. For example, if one was to tell me that the resurrection is a historical event and the person making the claim knew this to be true, then I would have a field day tripping them up over just what they meant by “knew.” After all, how can miraculous events such as “resurrections” be a fact we can “know” if we have no experience with a resurrection? And if we did have such an experience, wouldn’t such then not at all be a miracle?

    I don’t think evidential or presuppositional apologetics can get the job done with hardened skeptics such as I was. I think there is a third way and that is plainly speaking the Gospel truth to all and defending one’s own faith from the Scriptures. Furthermore, we should use whatever else we can adopt from both evidential and presuppositional apologetics while we confess the truth of Christ. Should we abandon any talk of an a priori simply because we want to be empiricists? Really? As Christians we don’t have something like a priori knowledge, or knowledge as in revelatory truth? Isn’t the truth of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity a priori knowledge revealed to us by God? Yes, I don’t have to go out and experience the world in order to know that the Triune God exists. We do have some sort of a priori knowledge. At least I think so. Thus, there is bound to be something in presuppositional apologetics we can find useful as we confess the truth.

    The bottom line for me is that apologetics of any stripe is likely more for the believer than it is for the unbeliever. It is nice being able to have solid answers to the questions of the skeptics, but what they really need to hear is not so much that the resurrection of Jesus is a historical fact, but rather that Jesus has risen from the dead and that the skeptic is in trouble with God and it will be the resurrected Jesus who will judge him on the last day should he not repent of his sins… whether he, the skeptic, believes it or not.

  2. Really appreciated your article–and not just because you cite me positively in it! In a secular world where numerous religious options are vying for attention, it is never sufficient just to proclaim the message of the gospel. That message must be offered together with the reasons why it is true, as contrasted with the many false solutions to the human dilemma that are inconsistent with it. This is exactly what the apostles did–think of Paul on the Areopagus. Readers of your material should seriously consider attending our annual International Academy of Apologetics, Evangelism and Human Rights (http://apologeticsacademy.eu).

  3. Sam,

    Nice work! Stays on the major critical point and argues it lucidly and well!

    After decades of silence on the subject in LCMS intellectual circles (read “seminary curricula”)–– with the exception of Dr. Francisco doing it so well for a few years at Ft. Wayne––it’s refreshing to see such an article in today’s circle of orthodox Lutherans! May the Jasa’s, Schultheisz’s, Pierson’s & Francisco’s continue to multiply!

    Under the completely sufficient imputed righteousness,

    Rod

  4. Pastor Sam Schuldheisz,

    Why so few comments here? What a great piece! I must say that I think you’ve done a great job here condensing things. Dr. Jack Kilcrease, who I respect immensely, has discussed these issues a bit, but I do not think has understood J.W. Montgomery’s main agenda quite like he should: http://jackkilcrease.blogspot.com/2012/03/empiricist-vs-presuppositionist-views.html (you can see my comments there in the last post).

    Dr. Montgomery and Dr. Rosenbladt,

    Hello! I have never seen you gentlemen post on a blog before, and I am very happy to see you both here. You have no idea how much your good work has meant to me over the years. I consider myself a disciple of you both. When I did my treatise for my MTS at Concordia in St. Catherines, “the Holistic Relationship Between Apologetics and Evangelism”, chapter 3 was entitled: “Apologetics in the New Testament – Proclaiming the Unconquerable Facts of the Gospel Acts”. How can people not see that the whole of Acts is evidential apologetics? (I think of 17:31 and Paul’s and Festus’ exchange in particular)

    Dr. Montgomery – I really like your Tractatus – but there is one part I really struggle with. I don’t have it with me now, but you quote Kierkegaard saying something to the effect that we don’t (or did he say “should not”?) question the faith we are given… and then go on to talk about the importance of distinguishing between a wife and a harlot (something to this effect). My approach is to say that in general Kierkegaard is right (here at least!) – and that this is a normal human phenomenon. And it is especially good if cradle Christians, though facing evidence that on the face of it *seems* to undermine their faith – do not waver at all, but cling to His Word (even as we always realize that our faith is founded on fact and not fantasy) – I just did a post on this this morning (quoting Stanley Fish): http://infanttheology.wordpress.com/2012/05/24/idealogues-true-and-false-blackheart-or-braveheart-part-ii/ *Nevertheless, God is patient with us when we question Him, and gracious towards our doubts – and provides wonderful apologists to confirm us in what we know to be true… At the same time, ideally, learning evidential arguments should be for our neighbor! (as I argue in the paper posted here: http://worldagainstmerages.blogspot.com/2012/05/faith-seeking-truth.html) – they can be particularly helpful when it comes to talking with some unbelievers, as you point out (I’m a librarian, and tried to do this here, quite effectively, I think: http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2012/05/opinion/peer-to-peer-review/libraries-as-indoctrination-mills/ – I get the sense that he was more familiar with presuppositional apologetics than evidential!)

    In any case, I think you and Dr. Kilcrease should talk. Take that guy under your wing, because he is going to do some great stuff I think!

    And either your or Rod (preferably both) should start blogging. : ) Your appearances on Issues ETC are not enough.

    +Nathan

  5. @Nathan #5
    Nathan, some of the best posts receive few comments because they say it all. Also, many of the new articles here at BJS are meant to be resourceful, but sometimes they also spark long conversations.

    It is a blessing to have a lot of excellent writers contributing here, and then to see such commenters as above (they have been noted).

    Blessings and keep reading!

  6. Two quick responses to Nathan:

    1) There’s no way that I can get into regular blogging. If I did, I would get nothing else done. Trust that you understand!

    2) The Tractatus line about “wife and prostitute” refers to the extreme presuppositionalism of the late Gordon Clark, not to Kierkegaard. The later declared, over against Hegelian rationalism, that “truth is subjectivity.” He was right to criticize Hegel, since fallen man cannot arrive at ultimate metaphysical truth through unaided human reason. But the problem is not solved by going to the opposite extreme–a subjective approach that unwittingly led to the existential atheism of the 20th century (Heidegger, Sartre). Fallen man can still investigate objective reality and discover particular facts attested by solid historical witnesses (e.g., Napoleon defeated at Waterloo, Jesus dead on the cross and subsequently risen from the dead)–and draw appropriate conclusions from such facts (the French lost the war; Jesus was the One he claimed to be: God come to earth to die for our sins and conquer death). Our subjective faith must be grounded in objective, factual truth, or Christianity is reduced to the status of a mind cult.

  7. Dr. Montgomery,

    Thank you for your comment. I agree. I’m going to have to look at my copy of the Tractatus tonight – maybe I have the wrong quote… more tomorrow, I hope!

    (and I understand about the blogging – I try to limit myself to a post or so a week).

    +Nathan

  8. Jim,

    “but what they really need to hear is not so much that the resurrection of Jesus is a historical fact, but rather that Jesus has risen from the dead and that the skeptic is in trouble with God and it will be the resurrected Jesus who will judge him on the last day should he not repent of his sins… whether he, the skeptic, believes it or not.”

    I do indeed sympathize with the view you expressed above. It seems to me that to say “Jesus has risen from the dead…etc” is to say that the resurrection of Jesus is a very significant historical fact. The fact that it is a fact that can change some hearts apart from any actual historical inquiry and investigation does not change that!

    God has given us proof or assurance that Jesus is the world’s judge by raising him from the dead, and this was not done in a corner….

    +Nathan

  9. Mr. (Pastor?) Peirce,

    The “getting the job done” never involves just a proclamation, but when called for, an apologia as well. We see this “in action” in the preaching of the apostles (Acts). Using the categories of the Lutheran orthodox (17th cent.), saving faith involves (1) notitia, (2) assensus AND (3) fiducia. Any apologist worth his salt knows that the highest level his work can reach is (2) assensus– no more. Fiducia is beyond his reach, is God’s business. But for sceptics like you & me, the “chink in the armor” is that the eternal Word (Jn. 1:1) became real flesh (vs. 14), offered Himself (& His claimed work–His death being for the sin of the world) open to examination by any and all. I was an agnostic science major at the Univ. of Wash. and a fan of C.S. Lewis (Pr. Earl Palmer, University Presbyterian ch.) helped me to see that if God became flesh, I was welcome to evaluate the case for His deity via the reports of the four Gospels (as history only at first, not “Word of God.”) My Lutheran training (pietism) as a youth had never broached the subject of “starting with history,” but instead a blind acceptance of all of the Bible as “Word of God.” Pr. Palmer (and select Young Life leaders, trained by B. Ramm at Young Life’s summer Institute) helped direct me first to Matt., Mk., Luke, & John as historians, only THEN to Christ’s claims and eval. of Christ’s claims (vindicated by fulfilled propehcy, His sinless life, His miracles at will, but primarily from the fact of His resurrection). Later, as a visiting professor at the old Springfield seminary of the LCMS, Dr. Montgomery built the case for every word of Scripture being true (Christ’s clear view of the text of the O.T. being God’s very words, and His unique promises to the later writers of the N.T. text to (again, later) do the equivalent. Dr. Montgomery also pressed (what is now part of his Tractatus) that Christianity was, in principle, factually overthrowable (rare in the field of “religion”)! F.W.I.W.

    Under the completely sufficient imputed righteousness,
    Dr. Rosenbladt

  10. Jim

    First of all, thank you for reading and taking the time to post your thoughts. It’s good to hear from others who are interested and engaged in apologetics. I hope you’ll pardon the length of the post, but there are a few things I should add in response. I hope you’ll understand that my tone is not trying to be antagonistic or “feisty” but simply carrying on the discussion…

    1. Why bother wrestling over evidential vs. presuppositional apologetics? If I may dare an assumption; you are a confessional Lutheran for the same reason I am (because it’s true) and because Lutheran doctrine most clearly articulates the facts of Scripture and the events proclaimed within. We who care deeply (as we should) about confessing the pure doctrine of the Scriptures, should also care deeply about defending the faith in the most logical, biblical and careful manner possible.

    While Reformed theology, (Calvin, etc.) has a great deal in common with Luther(ans), it has also proven to be inadequate in articulating the truth of Scripture in a clear, and faithful manner (i.e. Predestination, Lord’s Supper, etc.). If it’s important to wrestle with theological issues, why should apologetics be any different?

    The point of the article is this: to lead the reader to this conclusion: Lutherans approach apologetics the way we do because of the way we “do” theology; the Reformed approach apologetics the way they do because they “do” theology the way they do. Does this matter? Yes. In other words, our apologetic should reflect our theology.

    It’s not all that different from worship. Baptists worship the way they do because they believe, teach and confess like Baptists (and so on down the denominational line). While some aspects of presuppositional apologetics are useful, as a whole, it is not the best approach.

    Ultimately, it is one of many tools in the apologist’s tool box. Is it perfect? No. If there were perfect arguments we wouldn’t need the Holy Spirit. You’re right in saying that we believe that we cannot believe in Jesus Christ our Lord by our own strength and reason or come to him apart from the HS and the Word and Sacraments. This is precisely why the Lutheran, evidential approach is so vital. In contrast to the Reformed presuppositional method, the Lutheran evidentialist accomplishes the goal of apologetics – removing barriers in front of the cross – so that the real scandal and proclamation can be given most clearly – Christ Crucified.

    2. I am very thankful you are no longer an atheist. Thanks be to God in Christ for doing what only he can do!

    3. When it comes to “knowing” whether something happened or not we should always ask, “what does this mean?” We should always ask that about anything. This again is why the evidential (and I would add historical) method of apologetics prevails over the presuppositional one. Yes, a resurrection is a miraculous event. Dead men don’t ordinarily rise from the grave. But what if there was a report that one man, roughly 2000 years ago died on Friday and was scene dead by numerous eyewitnesses (whose accounts are record accurately in the gospels), confirmed dead by followers and hostile witnesses and then found to be alive again on Sunday appearing to over 500 people in the next 40 days?

    That would not only make it a miraculous event, but a historical one too. The resurrection is miraculous. But it’s also historical. But it has more significance and supernatural consequences than the average historical event! True, and yet it is historical and objective, therefore we can examine whether it happened or not the same way we can examine whether any historical event: through evidential, historical methods. Simply because we have no experience with a resurrection does not make it any less true. Flying to the moon lies outside my experience too and yet that does not make it any less historical fact
    .
    Presuppositional methods will not help here; in fact, they do us harm by removing the objective, factual nature of the events in question.

    4. If presuppositional and evidential apologetics didn’t appeal to you, what arguments did?

    5. When it comes to our discussions with the unbeliever, using a priori apologetic methods is dangerous. This is the same way the Mormons and the JWs and the Muslims argue. What makes Christianity any different then, if we argue like this: “we know god exists because the book says so and god wrote the book so we know god exists…”? Evidential apologetics avoids this pitfall and leads one directly to the cross.

    6. I know you’re not suggesting this, but I wouldn’t start an apologetic conversation with the Trinity; that’s one big rabbit hole to dive into there. But since you brought it up…how do we know about the Trinity? Who is it that reveals this alleged a priori knowledge? Jesus of Nazareth, a man who lived at a specific time in a specific place and said certain things and did certain things, claiming to be God, to die and rise and vindicating his claims by rising from the dead on the third day. The historic documents of his life and sayings also record him saying things like this: “I and the Father are one…he who sees me sees the Father….and…when I go away I will send to you the Spirit who will guide you into all truth.”

    7. Apologetics is for both the unbeliever and the believer. For the believer it strengthens faith, gives us a way to declare and defend the faith, etc. But it gives the unbeliever the answers to the questions they ask: what do you believe and why do you believe it? It’s not because he lives in my heart; it’s not because I had a burning bosom. What is it then? The incarnation, death and resurrection of Jesus. Faith is founded on fact. Christianity is objective, extra nos. And the proclamation of Law and Gospel goes hand in hand (not in contrast) with the historical facts of Jesus’ death and resurrection. You can’t have one without the other. Because we have a historical, objective, Christian faith, the facts (those stubborn things) remain whether the skeptic believes it or not.

  11. Dr. Montgomery

    Thank you so much for weighing in here, not only do your insights provide great wisdom in this field, but is a great honor to have you post here upon reading the article. I have learned (and continue to learn) a great deal of how to defend the faith from your writings, interviews, etc. Some day soon I hope to make it to Strasbourg for the summer academy; it’s been a goal of mine for some time. Peace of Christ be with you.

  12. Dr. Rosenbladt,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to read the post and for your words of encouragement. I would never have written this had I not been so blessed to have studied under you at CUI. Apologetics is lacking in our Lutheran circles, and for no good reasons whatsoever. Glad to be a part of the Jude 3 project!

  13. Nathan :
    The fact that it is a fact that can change some hearts apart from any actual historical inquiry and investigation does not change that!
    God has given us proof or assurance that Jesus is the world’s judge by raising him from the dead, and this was not done in a corner….

    Hi Nathan,

    Thank you for your response to part of my posting above. I don’t necessarily disagree with what you have written, but I do find what I have quoted above an interesting perspective. I have never heard “The fact that it is a fact that can change some hearts….” If I am understanding you correctly, you are expressing the view that the truth of the resurrection can be recognized by an unregenerate who hasn’t faith and that the fact of the resurrection alone will “change” the person’s heart. I suspect that isn’t what you want to say, as a Lutheran. Indeed, we preach Christ crucified and resurrected from the dead as historical facts, but it is not the historicity of the event which changes hearts; instead, it is the Holy Spirit working through the Gospel which pricks hearts and He (not facts) gives faith to the individual through the Word, pointing us to Christ for the forgiveness of sins.

    When I was a Baptist, Nathan, I held the view that the human mind was not in bondage to sin, but that it was somewhat neutral towards God. I also believed that same mind could be changed through persuasion with facts. The decision theology I embraced allowed me to believe that I was hard at work winning souls for Jesus through a program of apologetics. It wasn’t the apologetics that were wrong. It was the underlying theology supporting why I did apologetics that was wrong. As Lutherans we don’t present facts thinking that we are “winning souls for Jesus,” or to cause someone to make a decision for Christ. We present the Gospel which is factual, planting seeds, knowing that it is the Holy Spirit who is doing the changing of hearts through the Word.

    Indeed, the difference between us and the evangelical fundamentalists is that we confess Christ chose us for salvation, giving us faith to receive the forgiveness of sins, and we know His Word is true because of the faith He has freely given to us. Many fundamentalists believe in Christ because they have faith in the Holy Scriptures and that the stories in the scriptures are true. The difference is the object of faith. I know from experience that if the object of faith is the Scriptures being factual, then the person’s faith can potentially destroyed once they run into a theological liberal or an “evangelical atheist” who will show them all sorts of alleged problems with the Bible. But if our trust is in Christ, and not in facts, then we can weather the attacks against the truth of the Scriptures. There is no doubt about it, the Scriptures do not err, Christs words are true. But I know this because of the faith given to me, not because of evidence dug out of the sand.

  14. Nathan,
    Thanks for reading and taking time to post. Your comments seemed to open the gates a bit more for further comments. Thanks again.

  15. Nathan has said in a paragraph what it took me a 1000 words to get to in my response!

  16. @Pastor Sam Schuldheisz #11

    Pr. Schuldheisz,

    Thank you for a well thought out response to my earlier comments! In reading through your comments I am not seeing where we are really in any deep disagreement. In fact, I think you are making my point for me, better than I had, and that point is that Lutherans don’t do apologetics as today’s Evangelicals precisely because our hermeneutic begins and ends with Christ. It is Christ centered and that surely affects how we do apologetics.

    As for presuppositional apologetics being some sort of great “no-no,” I definitely agree with you that it has deep problems, but I would also point out the same with evidential apologetics, hence my reference to David Hume and the points I made. It is noteworthy that what drove me into atheism was Rationalism, Empiricism, and being crushed by the law to the point of despair. I was a “good Baptist” who could argue like Josh McDowell, but at the end of the day my faith was not in Christ, but in my intellect, knowledge… me. The same empirical methods I used in defense of the truth of the Bible, I turned against the truth of the Bible and lost all faith.

    Today, and as a Lutheran, I know my faith is given to me as a gift by Christ Jesus. So in answer to your question…

    “4. If presuppositional and evidential apologetics didn’t appeal to you, what arguments did?”

    No arguments appealed to me. In fact, I read apologetics books (some written by Dr. Montgomery, too!) so that I could dismantle the arguments and demonstrate to my own satisfaction that the arguments presented were not convincing. I argued with every knowledgeable Christian I could get my hands on. 🙂 No arguments, no method of apologetics appealed to me when I was an atheist.

    So what happened? A Lutheran pastor’s wife whom I had been trying to “deconvert,” and who was very knowledgeable when it came to apologetics, didn’t engage any of my arguments. She just wouldn’t listen to them, as was the right thing to do. Instead, she told me that I was in deep trouble with God. She read the Scriptures to me, giving me pure law (as she should have). She then told me that one day, perhaps, my sins would weigh heavily on me and that Jesus would be there to forgive me of my sins (paraphrasing her of course). She was right! Eighteen years later it was as if the Holy Spirit flipped a switch! I was terrified by God’s law. I knew He existed and that I was deserving to be punished now and into eternity. I also knew that there was nothing I could do to earn His forgiveness and that I was forgiven of my sins. I knew it was God’s grace alone that had brought me to contrition and His gift of faith freely given to me that allowed me to receive His forgiveness.

    No arguments from a Josh McDowell-like approach could ever have done that. I know the truth of God’s Word today because He gave me faith to trust in the Words of His Son, Jesus Christ. Any factual evidence that can be presented by any camp in apologetics is just “gravy” for me. 🙂

    I hope I answered your question clearly.

  17. Jim, others,

    Wow – lots of action here now – I will try to respond a bit tomorrow.

    +Nathan

  18. @Rod Rosenbladt #10

    Dear Dr. Rosenbladt,

    Thank you for responding to my posting above. I have a sense that my earlier points are being misunderstood so maybe I can help clarify what I wrote. What I am not saying is that we should not do apologetics. As I wrote in the opening sentences of my posting at the top of the page, “I am certainly one who likes apologetics and I often give reasons for the hope within me to others.” Bring on the apologetics!

    I hope that is helpful in clarifying that I am not against doing apologetics. I apologize to all for the confusion I inadvertently caused at that point.

    P.S.—And… I am not a pastor.

    P.S.S.—”I was an agnostic science major at the Univ. of Wash.”

    My alma mater, too! Go Huskies! 🙂

    Thank you for your time, Dr. Rosenbladt.

  19. Jim,

    You are quite welcome. I never really saw any disagreement either, more of a point (or rather lengthy points) of clarification. Glad it all made sense. You’re right, there are some dangers in trusting too much in our intellect, etc. when it begins to be used magisterially rather than ministerially.

    As a case in point, perhaps you have read C.S. Lewis’s “Miracles” in which he destroys Hume’s argument rather thoroughly. Fantastic read if you haven’t yet.

    And thanks for sharing a bit more about how our Lord worked through his Word to bring you to faith. Marvelous indeed and I’m greatful you were willing to give that much background. Good ole Law and Gospel, coupled with a strong defense of the faith is a great thing.

    Praise be to Christ for bringing you to faith by the solas, as he does for us all!

    Thanks again!

  20. as to your P.S. we need excellent, well-catechized Lutheran laymen too. What a blessing you are in that regard.

    as to your P.S.S. I grew up in Oregon and I would typically root for the Huskies to beat the Ducks as I am a Beavers fan.

  21. Thanks, Pastor Shuldheisz! For the excellent article and comments! Thanks to all the commenters as well. Very encouraging!

  22. Just a final comment from me to Nathan and to Jim Pierce: You say: “It is nice being able to have solid answers to the questions of the skeptics, but what they really need to hear is not so much that the resurrection of Jesus is a historical fact, but rather that Jesus has risen from the dead and that the skeptic is in trouble with God and it will be the resurrected Jesus who will judge him on the last day should he not repent of his sins . . . .”; and ” . . . if our trust is in Christ, and not in facts, then we can weather the attacks against the truth of the Scriptures”; and “I knew it was God’s grace alone that had brought me to contrition and His gift of faith freely given to me that allowed me to receive His forgiveness. No arguments from a Josh McDowell-like approach could ever have done that.”

    (1) The factual case for Christianity does not in itself convert anyone; only the Holy Spirit does that, as the Scriptures plainly teach (cf. Luther’s explanation of the 3d Article of the Creed in his Shorter Catechism). But no evidential apologist I know of has ever claimed that evidence produces salvation–certainly not (even the non-Lutheran evangelical) Josh McDowell! Evidence is like John the Baptist–it shifts the attention to Christ, over against inadequate or false religious claims.

    (2) When you say in effect “preach Christ and don’t be concerned with evidence for Christ” you don’t seem to realise that this exactly parallels the Muslim approach: “preach the Koran and don’t be concerned with evidence for Mohammed as the Prophet of God”–or the Mormon claim: “preach the Book of Mormon and don’t worry about evidence that its claims are factual.” If, of course, the unbeliever already has no problems with the historicity of Christ’s life and mission, fine–but if you expect this to be the ordinary situation today, you misread our secular culture.

    (3) As for your [Jim Pierce’s] own conversion, you surely did not accept an “existential Christ of experience”: the Holy Spirit worked in your heart to bring you to an acceptance of the Christ whose historicity you no longer doubted (maybe owing at least in part to your contact with the historical evidences years before). The point is: proclamation and evidence must never be set against each other in a secular world. It is a both/and, not an either/or. And the more secular the culture becomes, the more critical it is for Lutherans, with a solid understanding of the gospel and the Holy Spirit’s work, to “give a reason [apologia–check the Petrine text] for the hope within us.”

  23. (note: I composed this post last night – it looks like my comments here go well with Dr. Montgomery’s – maybe some overlap)

    Jim,

    “If I am understanding you correctly, you are expressing the view that the truth of the resurrection can be recognized by an unregenerate who hasn’t faith and that the fact of the resurrection alone will “change” the person’s heart….it is not the historicity of the event which changes hearts; instead, it is the Holy Spirit working through the Gospel which pricks hearts and He (not facts) gives faith to the individual through the Word, pointing us to Christ for the forgiveness of sins.”

    Jim – I think that the truth of the Gospel message is intextricably connected with the reality of the historical events, and that the Holy Spirit uses the message of Christ’s death and resurrection to bring persons to faith when and where He pleases. Further a person can believe Jesus rose from the dead but this will not necessarily make Him a Christian. Only by embracing the scandal of the cross – and this can only happen as God changes his heart – can a person believe unto salvation. There is no neutrality and the unregenerate cannot make a decision to become regenerate.

    Other than saying this, I embrace what Rod and Pastor Schuldheisz said.

    Jim, you also said: “It is noteworthy that what drove me into atheism was Rationalism, Empiricism, and being crushed by the law to the point of despair.”

    In some ways, I see the fact of the resurrection as being a “handmaid” of the law (Acts 17:31). For the person who does not know the cross, the resurrection should not be good news! It is like the law!

    Regarding your conversion, I think it is a good lesson for us. We should not ultimately be putting our faith in our apologetical arguments – although it is certainly good for us to know these. That pastor’s wife probably handled you about as well as she could have. I’d simply add that Acts 17:31 and Acts 26 (“this wasn’t done in a corner” – this is not Gospel for Festus!) goes hand in hand with that. Now, if someone objects to this, it might make sense to say to him, “there’s some great books that look at the resurrection real closely, and you wouldn’t believe….”, but maybe for others (like yourself), saying this won’t have much of an effect (you yourself were already familiar with these things it sounds like). In any case, again, it is only the Holy Spirit who uses our words to both convict and convert.

    +Nathan

  24. Dr. Montgomery,

    “Just a final comment from me to Nathan and to Jim Pierce”

    Shoot – I may have missed you then. : )

    Well, just in case….

    In your Tractutus (2005 ed.) it says:

    2.173 Kierkegaard objects in principle to the question, What is the proper object of faith? For one to try to answer such a question, he maintains, is like a lover attempting to reply to the query, Could you love another woman?

    2.1731 But can we accept the idea that any religious marriage is a good one? Particularly since the number of willing brides is so great and their characteristics so diverse and contradictory?

    2.1732 The real question to be face is not, Could you love another woman? but Which potential bride is a virgin and which is a prostitute?

    In your whole book, I believe these lines are the only one I found myself really having trouble with. It makes sense for us to challenge the person who is not Christian in this way, but I think that these words do not – or should not – apply to the Christian. The difficulty is that while we obviously do need to talk about the proper object of faith, Kierkegaad is at least onto something when brings up his question “Could you love another woman”? The point being, of course, that once we are Christians, it is never a good thing for us to question whether our God is a virgin or prostitute – we already know! (again, and this not because of any “existential Christ of experience”-confidence, but because we believe the message that is inextricably connected and inseparable from historical realities of the most serious import!). So we do have the proper Spouse and always want to engender this confidence in those who believe – not to encourage questioning! (as I’ve said above though, I think that God, in His mercy, is patient with us here when we doubt – if our faith is weak and someone presents, what, on the face of it, seems to be convincing evidence that our faith is wrong, it certainly does seem understandable that we might doubt God – and after all, didn’t Paul say that if Christ is not raised, our faith is in vain? [is this a license for doubt though? – a license for us to put our faith to the test in this way? – I don’t think so…]).

    Again, on the other hand, this is a great question for others to ask! Especially since their gods have little concern for “extra nos” peculiarities – for the importance of public evidence, which I would argue is very important to the true God (as when Jesus simultaneously confronts and comforts John the Baptist by showing [through his disciples who relay the message] how His public miracles correlate with the public Old Testament prophecies that foretell Him!)! In their case, doubt would be good – more, doubt could certainly be the conviction of God’s Spirit. Hence the dilemma.

    I wonder if there might be a way to rephrase those parts of the book. Of course, you might argue that there is no need for this. I’d like to hear that argument.

    Again – I understand you are a man of many commitments, so I understand if you have more pressing matters to attend to!

    In any case, an honor to speak with you sir. I work at Concordia St. Paul (library staff and adjunct prof) and hope to be able to teach an apologetics course here in the future. Thank you for your good work in the Lord!

    +Nathan

  25. A few more thoughts….

    Dr. Montgomery,

    Are there scholarships for your apologetics academy? I am, after all, a librarian and my wife stays at home with our 4 boys under 9 (with another on the way in Sep!) : )

    All here (Dr.’s Montgomery and Rosenbladt, Jim, and Pastor S),

    Actually, I would love to get all of your email addresses – if I ever do get a chance to teach a course like that, I want all the best input and help I can get. I understand if you don’t get crazy about putting your emails out in public though : ) :

    I will though: [email protected]

    I would be delighted if all of you would email me so I can have your address on file for future reference.

    Blessings in Christ,
    Nathan

    Blog: infanttheology.wordpress.com/

  26. Dear Nathan,

    That Tractatus passage does indeed refer to Kierkegaard, though Gordon Clark used the analogy in another way. I do not believe that the passage needs revision. I am certainly not suggesting that believers question the faith once delivered to the saints–and for which the evidence is solid. I am simply pointing out that one must not simply ASSUME the correctness of one’s religious position–without checking out its truth value, based on solid evidence.

    Go to the Academy website for full information on scholarships (www.apologeticsacademy.eu). Each summer 10 are granted at $1,000 each, and a person of your interests and background would certainly qualify for one of them. One must, however, first register for the July session by paying a deposit of $300–and this must be done by 1 January of the year when one intends to come to Strasbourg.

    Sorry, I am violating my principles in having gotten involved in this episode of blogging AND I do not provide theological or academic advice by e-mail–the one exception being in the case of those who have previously studied with me in Strasbourg or elsewhere. It is my only defense against short-circuiting my regular responsibilities in Europe and in the Americas.

  27. @Prof. Dr John Warwick Montgomery #24

    Thank you for your time and your fine response. It is very much appreciated and I agree with most of what you have written with the following exception,

    When you say in effect “preach Christ and don’t be concerned with evidence for Christ” you don’t seem to realise that this exactly parallels the Muslim approach:

    I wouldn’t say “don’t be concerned with evidence for Christ.” In fact, I did say in my very first posting at the top of the page,

    “I think there is a third way and that is plainly speaking the Gospel truth to all and defending one’s own faith from the Scriptures. Furthermore, we should use whatever else we can adopt from both evidential and presuppositional apologetics while we confess the truth of Christ” (emphasis mine).

    The point of my original posting is not to say that apologetics shouldn’t be done, or that we shouldn’t be concerned about using evidence “for Christ.” Rather, the point I feebly attempted to make (which I see now hasn’t been clearly set forth) is that as Lutherans who don’t believe, teach, and confess that we can come to faith through reason, we shouldn’t be so concerned about using what we can from presuppositional apologetics as we confess our faith in Christ (or, we shouldn’t reject the whole of presuppositional apologetics out of hand). In other words, it is the Holy Spirit doing the converting, so let’s use all the tools we can which will not conflict with our confession of faith.

    Be concerned with evidence for Christ, but remember it isn’t the evidence for Christ which has given the unbeliever faith.

    I hope I am making better sense.

    Thank you again for your time and the response.

  28. Dr. Montgomery,

    Thank you for your response. I totally understand why you don’t do things via email – I guess I’ll just have to try and get on your list then by getting to Strasbourg : )

    OK, deep breath… (as I hope and pray my challenge below does nothing to cause any offense whatsoever)

    “I am certainly not suggesting that believers question the faith once delivered to the saints–and for which the evidence is solid. I am simply pointing out that one must not simply ASSUME the correctness of one’s religious position–without checking out its truth value, based on solid evidence.”

    I think we approach things differently here. I think it is good, right, salutary, and proper for the Christian to assume the correctness of their religious position, which is that Jesus Christ became man, was crucified and resurrected for our justification – all in human history that was not done in a corner (unlike the private revelations of so many). After all, what about the faith of the infant? (see here: http://infanttheology.wordpress.com/2011/12/19/knowledge-first-and-foremost-baby-king-david-vs-adult-st-thomas/ ). Should we be treating them like exceptions? But are we not all supposed to be like them? It seems that all of my boys – who have been given faith by God through His word – do just this kind of assuming “without checking out its truth value, based on solid evidence” (maybe you’d have to explain what all this entails – perhaps simply asking those who have carried the message of the eyewitnesses “is it really true” is all that you mean? – in which case, the seven year old qualifies but but what if the others don’t even feel compelled to test the messenger’s statements in any way?). I know only God ultimately creates faith and trust, but I think it goes without saying that my children are trusting the earthly messengers who have delivered this message to them.

    Therefore, it seems to me that the *ideal* reason for learning apologetics is, again, for the neighbor (it is childishness, not child-likeness that would refuse to do this) – although it also has the benefit of encouraging Christians in their faith, and God may, in His mercy, even use these apologetics/apologists to convict/comfort those who sin by taking too seriously those who would contend the evidence in favor of Christian truth is weak.

    +Nathan

  29. Nathan, think about this: Our Lutheran congregations often treat everyone like a child, never teaching them the factual foundations of the faith–in direct contradiction to the Petrine, inerrant COMMAND “Always give a reason [apologia] for the faith within us.” Result: our young people go off to secular universities and even former church colleges and are blown right out of the water by unbelieving professors. We have kept them at the level of children and then thrown them to the wolves without the apologetic training that could have preserved their faith. May I remind you that in Lutheran theology, unlike Calvinism, one can indeed lose one’s faith, and the childish level of many congregations (unthinking sermons, unthinking liturgy, unthinking pietism, German/ Norwegian ethnocentrism substituted for serious theology and apologetics) produces parishes in which confirmation is virtually the last time the church sees many of its young people.

    Now I am done with this. I can’t believe how much time I’ve used on this blog exchange–after writing documented books treating exactly the same material in depth.

  30. Dr. Montgomery,

    Perhaps I should have held my tongue – I seem to have exasperated you a bit! I did not mean to. You must understand that I am a huge proponent of apologetics. Remember, I want to teach a course on them here at CSP! Everything that Dr. Rosenbladt said earlier about the LC-MS falling down here I agree with. I almost lost my faith when I went to the 92 National Youth Gathering (so dismayed was I by what I perceived to be its simplemindedness and unwillingness to deal seriously with intellectual issues) – I am quite confident that if I had had knowledge about the existence of apologetics (I had *none* – can you believe it!) I probably would not have gotten to that point.

    So please understand: I agree with everything that you have written! (it almost mimics the first chapter of my master’s treatise I mentioned earlier). I have read many of your books and listened to almost every one of your appearances on Issues over the past 15 years (one of my favorite guests!). That’s why I teach my kids apologetics (even the 2 and 4 year olds) – using everything I learned from you, Dr. Rosenbladt, Craig Parton, etc. – so that they can offer help to their neighbors – especially their contemporaries who will accompany them to college.

    And yes, maybe it will even be used by God to keep them in the faith to!

    Carry on! And please spend no more time on me. : )

    Love in Christ,
    Nathan

  31. Prof. Dr John Warwick Montgomery :
    Now I am done with this. I can’t believe how much time I’ve used on this blog exchange–after writing documented books treating exactly the same material in depth.

    Dr. Montgomery,

    Thank you for your valuable time. I have certainly been edified by your joining in and commenting. Perhaps you have given your work in apologetics more exposure by your participation here? I think so.

    Blessings,

    Jim Pierce

  32. Pastor Schuldheisz,

    I am not sure that you would have time(or anyone who would like to comment) but would it be possible to interact with this article a bit on some of the main points that you have made. Especially, how reason is regarded. This article is in parts and kind of long but worth the read and it is from the counterpoint.

    http://highlands-reformed.com/reason-evidence-and-presuppositional-apologetics-2/

    I have been researching this quite a while and I seem to go back and forth as the arguments go.
    Not sure it will ever be clear to me but I would hope.

    Appreciate your article, greatly!

  33. Dr. Montgomery,

    I shared the conversation with my wife and she joked that I might not ever get to Strasbourg. : )

    Thanks for your final words here – I’m glad all is well!

    Graham,

    Looks interesting – thanks for the link.

    +Nathan

  34. And how do you know if they will accept or reject if you never take the evangelistic responsibility to present the case for Christianity? The fact that racists won’t accept the evidences of equality hardly means that those evidences are not exceedingly important. They have convinced young people who a generation ago would have assumed that blacks are inferior to whites. Education and maturity require the consideration of evidence–to distinguish factual reality from wishful thinking and fancy. Nowhere is this more important than in the religious sphere–owing to the number of false and damnable ideologies vying for souls. The Christian who argues as you do is the precise equivalent of the Muslim or the cultist who refuses to justify his or her beliefs. The technical term for this is “invincible ignorance.”

  35. I’m glad evidence will convince the children of racists to accept equality, but when did apologetics become about convincing people we’re not actually talking to that they should believe? By your example we write off the current generation and hope their children believe. In my Bible the Great Commission doesn’t read “Go ye therefore unto all nations and hope you can present enough evidence that their children believe even though they never will.”

    I’ll gladly justify my beliefs, but the Catechism I swore to uphold at my confirmation says, “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith.” As Scripture commands I’ll readily give answer for my faith, but any claim I can win someone to Christ with evidence stands in total contrast to Augsburg II.

  36. Graham, thank you for the kind words. I’ll take a look at it sometime in the next few days and see if I can get some kind of opinion put into the reply notes here.

  37. Apologetics and the use of reason therein in no wise denies the oath taken in one’s confirmation vows, the truth about coming to faith in the Gospel as written there or attemps to circumvent the work of the Holy Spirit.

    Think of it this way: if you knew a man was about to walk out into the middle of an intersection where a double decker bus was barreling down the street in his direction would you not take the time to plead with him and give him evidence that his position in life is in danger, etc.?

  38. If a man was about to walk in front of a bus, I’d try to stop him; then I’d try to reason with him as to why this is a bad decision. Unless I stop him from walking in front of a bus, all the reasons in the world won’t do him any good. Thus I would try to stop an unbeliever (by attacking his non-Christian presuppositions), and if this succeeded then I would try to explain to him the truth. A man determined to walk in front of a bus will not be stopped by words. I would have to physically block him. Why would someone determined to walk into hell be any easier to stop? We all know it is the Holy Spirit, not reason or evidence, that brings a person to faith. Certainly the Holy Spirit can work through reason and extra-Scriptural evidence, but if we give evidence of the truth of Christ without first destroying the presuppositions a person holds that causes him to trust in something other than Christ, how is that really different from preaching the Gospel to those secure in their sins? Since other denominations refuse to accept the explicit Word of God on theological matters, because they presuppose some other doctrine, why would you expect unbelievers to accept mere evidence for Christ before you crush their false presuppositions? Evidence is incredibly important, but what use is all the brilliance of the sun to a blind man?

  39. If you begin your witness by trying to “destroy the non-Christian’s presuppositions,” (1) you may never get around to the case for Christianity–since there are an infinite number of false presuppositions available, and the non-Christian can readily move from one to another, and (2) you will surely alienate him or her (no one likes having his or her position knocked down).

    The proper approach is (1) listen to the non-Christian’s position, (2) present the gospel, (3) give the solid evidence for it (especially the powerful testimonies to Christ’s resurrection), (4) point out that two contradictory viewpoints can’t both be true, (5) emphasize the wonderful gains to the believer and the terrible consequences of disbelief in Christ, (6) move the non-Christian to decision (which, if it occurs, is solely the work of the Holy Spirit–Shorter Catechism, Apostles’ Creed, Art. 3).

  40. Since when did Lutherans become afraid of offending people? John the Baptist called the Pharisees a brood of vipers. The other prophets did no less. Jesus offended the crowds when they began to follow him because he seemed “cool.” Lutheran and Walther certainly never feared alienating people they debated against. The list could go on.

    Dr. Montgomery, I do not have to strive against an infinite number of presuppositions. I only have to challenge the specific ones the person I’m talking to holds. Then I can present the Gospel and evidence for Christ. No one holds every presupposition. As you said, two contradictory points cannot both be true. Dangling the Gospel in front of someone like a piece of candy will not convince anyone to abandon their presuppositions.

    Furthermore, I can present the Gospel and evidence for Jesus while attacking presuppositions. I need some ground to stand upon before I attack someone’s position. Even the skeptic must believe in something. I cannot attack someone’s presuppositions and leave him nothing to stand on. Nor can I convince him of something contrary to his presuppositions without first destroying those presuppositions. Do you really think I could destroy someone’s presupposition without showing him how it conflicts with another presupposition he holds. I (1) listen to the non-Christian’s position, (2) use the law of non-contradiction to challenge his presuppositions against each other, (3) move to presenting evidence and Law and Gospel in accordance with whatever position the non-Christian is now in after he had become open to the idea of his presuppositions being wrong (e.g. if someone believed Jesus never died I would present the medical and historic evidence that the Romans did in fact kill him. If he denied the Resurrection I’d do the same for it. But if someone held that Jesus did in fact die and did actually come back to life, but that this was merely an as yet unexplained phenomenon that science would eventually understand, I’m wasting my time until I convince him science cannot explain everything.) and hope for conversion (which of course only occurs as the Confessions explain).

  41. I have dealt with every one of these points in my published writings–which you evidently have not read–e.g., in my Faith Founded on Fact (with refutation of Cornelius Van Til), my Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, etc. Until you arrive at a greater level of philosophical and theological sophistication, I am not bothering to continue this dialogue.

  42. @Prof. Dr John Warwick Montgomery #34

    > Our Lutheran congregations often treat everyone like a child

    > Result: our young people go off to secular universities and even former church colleges and are blown right out of the water by unbelieving professors.

    ha. and the dads disengage from the feminized church.

    Thank you for weighing in here. You added more value and credibility to this blog than you may have thought about. One hopes that it won’t go to waste.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.