Thursday, March 26, 2009

Frank Turk on Apologetics with Romanism

Apparently Frank Turk, aka Centuri0n, thinks that engaging in apologetics with those of the Roman Catholic Church is a waste of time (link) and (thinks he) he's got the statistical data to prove it.

With all due respect to the wise Turk, I'm not persuaded by his argument from web traffic. I'll keep on giving an answer for the hope that is within me, trusting in God to bring the increase.



Anonymous said...

great answer TF and I can personally say I certainly am glad that God does the heavy lifting when it comes to saving a wretch like me and that His approach to things is more informed and far better than ours.

We proclaim the Truth. The Truth then does something with it in those who "hear"!

A couple of Scriptures to note that maybe our friend Turk should consider? Maybe they too are a waste of time and he doesn't have time to understand the reality of either?

Here are the verses I have in mind:

Mat 9:11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?"
Mat 9:12 But when he heard it, he said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.
Mat 9:13 Go and learn what this means, 'I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.' For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners."

Roman Catholics are, as we all, sinners, in need of this Mercy we are admonished to go and learn something about!


Col 1:3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you,
Col 1:4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints,
Col 1:5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel,
Col 1:6 which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing--as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth,
Col 1:7 just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf
Col 1:8 and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.

A couple of things to highlight with these verses of Paul's;

one, the Gospel bears its "own" fruit. God is active, we are passive, even when we actively proclaim the Truth.

two, Epaphras was actively involved in the work of proclaiming the Truth and the Truth had His Way with those there in Colossae who heard.

TheoJunkie said...

There is a difference between "the Gospel" and "apologetics".

Apologetics have much value, but I too have concluded that the value is limited (if existent at all) for converting the unsaved. Apologetics are faith builders-- not faith starters. That said, if your apologetics includes the Gospel itself, then there may (per God's will) be fruit of conversion seen in the interaction. But at the same time, if your apologetic includes the Gospel, it is not your apologetic but rather the Gospel that is the valuable message.

A quick muse on 1 Peter 3:15...
Peter seems to provide the context with this lead-in in v 9: Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.

He goes on to say "have no fear of them [who revile you]"... but do defend yourself with gentleness and respect... "so that those who revile your good behavior may be put to shame".

It would appear that 1 Peter 3 is more about keeping your own course in the face of adversity-- and not letting your flesh get a prideful upperhand-- than it is about converting people through apologetics.

Again... I would agree that we should not give up on the RCers... but let us use the Gospel itself, rather than logic and philosophy-- or even scripture for the purpose of showing where they are wrong. When reviled, let us use scripture for showing how what we believe is right... as opposed to using it to show them where they are wrong.

Turretinfan said...


I see you and Frank as posing a false dichotomy. Since the Scriptures tell us to do apologetics, I'm going to do it.


TheoJunkie said...

Interesting response...

TF, please re-read my post. I did not say apologetics are worthless, nor did I suggest that the Scriptures don't tell us to do apologetics. Besides, even if I had said Scripture commanded us to not apologize for the faith, I'm not sure your a priori statement to the contrary would be sufficient to refute it (I'm rather surprised at your technique there... not typical for you).

How many people have you seen come to Christ as a result of your apologetics? For me, it has been none (speaking of my apologetics). In contrast, I have seen at least one person come to faith after I laid out the Gospel of Grace for them.

Did I use apologetics in my conversation with them? Yes. When he had complaints or snide comments about my faith-- and later when he had doubts about the faith he was tentatively accepting, I rationally countered them. But the core of the message that I was telling him was the Gospel itself, straight up facts with no effort to "explain what that means" beyond the message itself, much less argue why his views were wrong.

If I were presenting a dichotomy I would be suggesting that the Gospel and apologetics are "opposed" to each other. Instead, I am observing that the two have different roles in the salvation process.

Turretinfan said...

To clarify, when the Bible commands apologetics, it does so in the context of evangelism. Ergo, it is not worthless for converting people.

And, yes, you didn't say "worthless" in your first comment, but you did say: "the value is limited (if existent at all) for converting the unsaved" if I recall correctly.

Obviously whether the Gospel is delivered without response to objections (bare presenation) or with response to objections (presentation employing apologetics), the increase will be brought by God's grace, not our obedient efforts.


Strong Tower said...

You know, the number of people that come out of Romanism, generally do so because they understand the "this not that" no matter what the level of argument. When we follow Jesus' ministry the fact is that no matter the level, simple or complex, arguing the "this not that" is ubiquitous.

I can't begin to ascend to the level that you argue TF, but I do appreciate the fact that in that thin atmosphere where few breath, there is still a voice that reaches there.

Most of us will think, ah, that is too lofty. Most of us live on the street and don't see our arguments as apologetics. Yet, whether soaring or crawling, we offer a defense, we remain ready to answer. At least that is what we are commanded to do.

I know the frustration even dwrafish as I am. I experience it when confronting the Arminian. And it is usuall never without the Gospel at some point. In the thread at Pyro the Gospel was evident and I am sure, given time, as the apologetic wears on, Centuri0n always presents the Gospel.

The frustration is no different whether on the street or on the net, or wherever. Been there, done it in many venues. I have used techiques, track and theses and alway found that few do respond if any at all. But, I have also experienced the blessing that months or years latter, that some that I spoke have came around.

The sum is that I agree with TF that it is a false dichotomy. Apologetics is evangelism and though different in form from proclamation it is still the Gospel.

my verification code: hylow ;)