Is Christian Apologetics Secular and Unbiblical? An interview with Myron Penner by Peter Enns
Today’s post is an interview with Myron Penner (PhD, University of Edinburgh), author of the upcoming The End of Apologetics: Christian Witness in a Postmodern Context, slated to be released July 1.
Penner is an Anglican priest in the Diocese of Edmonton, Alberta. He previously taught at Prairie College and Graduate School and served as a human development worker. He is the editor of Christianity and the Postmodern Turn: Six Views and coauthor of A New Kind of Conversation: Blogging Toward a Postmodern Faith.
Penner’s thesis is thoughtful and provocative. He argues that the modern apologetic enterprise is no longer valid, in that tends toward an unbiblical and unchristian form of Christian witness and does not have the ability to attest truthfully to Christ in our postmodern context. Christians to need change their well-entrenched but ineffective vocabulary and move toward a new way of conceiving the apologetic task, characterized by love and grounded in God’s revelation.
Today I wanted to share an interesting idea I came across today. Since my involvement with an anti-abortion organization, I have felt more and more that apologetics can do more harm than good. Standing in the courtyard of my university with signs and pamphlets doesn’t communicate God’s love, no matter what the printed words say. In fact, those of my generation perceive this “picketing” as arrogant and aggressive.
In my person experience, I have seen Jesus’s message get lost in the tidal waves of winning an argument. What do you think about Penner’s suggestion that modern apologetics doesn’t work anymore?
Personally, I would like to see a new kind of apologetic crusade – one that uses love instead of threats.
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