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August 01, 2007

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Given Lee's prior works, it's hard to know whether he is choosing to highlight the personal relevance of a relationship with Jesus, or attempting to avoid providing the evidence that the gospels are based on fact.

The question didn't seem ambiguous; but, at any rate, I think that any concerns can be addressed by simply asking the question again.

Hmmm...looks like another stroll down Self-referential Lane:

Just after making an *argument* for the latecomer Gnostics' attempt to make themselves the heroes and the earlier orthodox church the dopes, and in the midst of making his *argument* about what brings people to Jesus and presenting a *system* in which this view operates, McKnight says,

"The reason [the Gospel account of Jesus] is believable is because it's Jesus. This is all the church has to offer. We don't offer arguments, we don't offer a better system, we offer Jesus."

We don't offer arguments? Tell that to Paul. Furthermore, why then are you arguing this point?

We don't offer a better system? What does McKnight think he is offering when he effectively says that "offering Jesus" is the best way to go? A SYSTEM.

Now, don't get me wrong. I agree that we do, in a very real way, offer Jesus, and that an important way God draws people to Christ is through this kind of direct encounter through the pages of the New Testament. I would actually argue that an encounter with the risen Jesus on a personal level (and by that I mean "seeing" Jesus through the regenerative work of the Holy Spirit) is necessary for a saving faith. I even agree with McKinght's very next statement: "Jesus is good enough to attract people to himself."

What I don't get is the false dichotomy. It's as if you either present Jesus, or you present rational arguments and a coherent system, but heaven forbid you try to offer both. That kind of radical dichotomy is not only unreasonable, but it is downright unbiblical. I wonder how much time McKnight and others who at least seemingly view it like this have spent studying Paul's apologetic and proclamatory methodology. McKnight must have a woefully anemic view of "system" to think that the worldview inherent in the message of Christ is free fom any systematic element.

If Jesus is enough why even bother with those pesky gospels? In an effort to pay Jesus a high compliment he ends up insulting a God who also used history, documentation, reason, inference, dreams etc.

Woops. I thought that was Lee.

o.O

What do you fellows make of this statement by Paul?

1Cr 2:1 And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God.
1Cr 2:2 For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.
1Cr 2:3 I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling,
1Cr 2:4 and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,
1Cr 2:5 so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.
1Cr 2:6 Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away;
1Cr 2:7 but we speak God's wisdom in a mystery, the hidden {wisdom} which God predestined before the ages to our glory;
1Cr 2:8 {the wisdom} which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory;
1Cr 2:9 but just as it is written, "THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND {which} HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM."
1Cr 2:10 For to us God revealed {them} through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.
1Cr 2:11 For who among men knows the {thoughts} of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the {thoughts} of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.
1Cr 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God,
1Cr 2:13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual {thoughts} with spiritual {words.}
1Cr 2:14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.
1Cr 2:15 But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one.
1Cr 2:16 For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ.

Is he not arguing that reasons and wisdom are for the mature, as in for apologetics-the defense of the faith, not evangelism? See vs. 5 and let us reason together.

Brad

I couldn't help but comment again that apologetics are for those who are already born again, even if they dont even know it yet. The defense of the faith that they dont understand in the intellect but posess in the heart must have reasonableness at some point or the faith is without works ala James' warning. Stroble is not gifted as an evangelist, he's an apologist who can evangelize if he proclaims the gospel. He cannot nor can anyone elsc apologise anyone into belief, because it's foolishness to them who're dead.

Preaching is the power of God unto salvation. It is a proclamation of what God did, it isn't up for debate, it is stated and it'll not return void.

Brad

>> “The reason it’s believable is because it’s Jesus. This is all the church has to offer. We don’t offer arguments. We don’t offer a better system. We offer Jesus. And Jesus is good enough to attract people to himself. And I have gone to the gospels for..a long time and I love Jesus and I love the opportunity and I think I believe it because of the Jesus I encountered there.”

Funny cuz I LEFT the church for those very reasons.

I think Scot's saying something I've heard from other theologians and philosophers -- at the end of the day, the best apologetic is simply to just let people read the words of Jesus. Either they're going to be attracted to Him, or they won't. All we can do is lead them to Him (which is where evangelism and apologetics come in) and then leave the rest to Him.

I think the fallacy here is that he is saying it is either-or. It isn't; it is both-and. The power of the gospels -- just reading them -- IS enormous but offering arguments provide stepping stones to people opening and reading them. He is simply wrong that we don't offer arguments; of course we do.

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