Monday, March 25, 2013

Mr. Patton, Your Anecdotes don't Provide a Biblical Argument

Sadly, Michael Patton has decided to double down on his attack on the fundamental importance of Special Creation and Inerrancy with a new post titled "FORGET ABOUT EVOLUTION AND INERRANCY (FOR A MINUTE)."

Patton doesn't offer any Biblical or even logical argument for his position. He just provides two anecdotes of people who were allegedly persuaded to set aside their concerns about evolution or inerrancy and consequently became Christians. Patton writes:
These two stories are illustrations of the importance of keeping to the “make or break” issues of our faith when sharing the Gospel. The issue of origins and inspiration and inerrancy are very important. We eventually need to discuss them. But they are not ”make or break issues.” And they can be used to sidetrack the Gospel into endless and fruitless debate. They can often keep you from getting to Christ. The two people above may have never really heard an actual argument for the Gospel. They were both intellectual types who were ready to debate so many things that did not matter. I don’t need to convince an unbeliever that the Bible is inspired or inerrant. The issue of evolution does not matter if it is only keeping you from sharing the Gospel. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes people will have legitimate hang-ups about these and other things that need to be dealt with. But sometimes we need to deal with them by explaining that they have no bearing on whether Jesus rose from the grave. Once we establish Christ’s resurrection, you can get back to those things. But in our apologetics, we need to do everything we can to get to the historicity of the resurrection.
That's very clearly an appeal to expediency and pragmatism. But the argument lacks the necessary foundation to be anything more than an assertion and two anecdotes.

For example, Patton hasn't provided any revelation from God in support of his conclusion that special creation and inerrancy aren't make-or-break issues.

Likewise, Patton has not actually engaged in scientific experiment - providing controlled comparisons between consistent, uncompromising evangelism and evangelism of the kind that Patton seems to prefer.

All that said - as with the previous post, not everything Patton says is wrong.  It can be useful to get people to stop focusing on the excuses they are making for not addressing the central gospel issues of creation, sin, and redemption (accomplished and applied).

In fact, there are non-compromising ways of handling those excuses.  I recall reading Eusebius responding to an objection that Jesus was raised from the dead too soon - the sign of Jonah was "three days and three nights," whereas Jesus was risen before Sunday night.  He simply and quickly identified the absurdity of the objection (see how), without setting aside things like Biblical inerrancy.


No comments: