Although the media seemed to forget to assault Christianity over the time leading up to the celebration of the Lord’s resurrection this year that doesn’t mean questions about the faith weren’t on the air in various ways. Col. Muammar Gadaffi asserted that the ‘original Bible’ had been tampered with. How do we know that? There are no references to Muhammad in the Bible. Since he knows they were in the original and they are not in any manuscripts we have it must have been taken out. There was no real questioning of his claims by the media and the comment went largely unnoticed. No Christians were burning down mosques or torturing Muslims in order to force a retraction and acceptance of Christianity. Meanwhile in Canada the Rev. Gretta Vosper of West Hill United Church in Toronto was busy Taking Christ out of Christianity.
I appreciated the comments and challenges on last week’s blog I Don’t Like Apologists As I and several others within the ministry of MCOI went back and reread Stephen Macasil’s article Apostasy Warning: Tim Keller and the interview in First Things we were not persuaded that our conclusions were wrong. And yes, we did read them contrary to assertions that we “really didn’t.” That is not to say that Macasil’s intention wasn’t to base his warning on what he believed that Keller might be saying rather than what he didn’t say, but rather that the attempt was unsuccessful. The reason I say that is because it appears a great deal is being read in to the statements Keller made which simply isn’t there. This is not a defense of Roman Catholicism and anyone who has read our Journal or blog very much is fully aware that we believe that Rome proclaims a false gospel. For those who are new to MCOI, Journal articles such as Thus Saith Rome would probably be helpful.
When I checked my email after the EMNR conference a good friend had sent me a link to Stephen Macasil’s blog article Apostasy Warning: Tim Keller For those who don’t know him Dr. Tim Keller is the founder and pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City and author of the new book The Reason for God. As I read the Macasil’s article the words of my friend and MCOI Advisory Board member, Jahn Moskowitz, began forcing their way into my thinking. Jhan is the North American Director of Jews for Jesus and in his workshop at EMNR this past weekend he said, “I don’t like apologetics.” At which point nearly everyone in the room sat up and paid attention. After all this was an apologetics conference and he is on the Advisory Board for a national apologetics ministry (MCOI). So why would he dislike apologetics?
Two weeks ago, I ranted eloquent about how Evangelicals surrender their “weapons” by surrendering their reason and good judgment with regard to scripture. I also noted that often this surrender seems curiously to impair their judgment concerning the nature of God himself. Evangelicals seem to err by either making God unapproachable and distant at the expense of God’s love and mercy or embracing the more recent trend of doing just the opposite: making God so personal at the expense of God’s majesty and power. All too often Evangelicals buy into this false dilemma that God is either majestic and infinite, or God is personal and caring. Now a false dilemma can be resolved in one of two ways. One way to resolve the false dilemma is by realizing that two sides of the either/or aren’t the only options. There could be a third option. The other way to resolve a false dilemma is to realize that the two sides of the dilemma may not be mutually exclusive—the two claims are compatible. A story attributed to the former editor of Christianity Today magazine, Kenneth Kanzer may help to illustrate this point. He received a telephone call from a trusted friend to let him know that the daughter of another friend had been struck by a car while crossing the street. She was not fatally hit but was rushed to the hospital. A little while later he received a phone call from another trusted friend about the same girl. He was told that she was riding in a car and when going through an intersection a truck had gone through a red light and struck her side of the car killing her instantly. Both phone calls came from trusted friends and were talking about the same girl. As it turns out both were true and compatible. The girl was standing on a corner and when the light changed she stepped in to the intersection and was struck by a car. She was injured but not killed. The driver quickly put her into his car and headed for the hospital. While in transit as he passed through an intersection a truck ran a red light and struck his car on the side she was on and she was instantly killed. Both claims were true and compatible. Someone not taking the time to check the facts or making assumptions could easily create a false dilemma when none exists.