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Apologetics in sermons?

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  • Apologetics in sermons?

    I haven't been to a church in a fair while, as some of you may know. The times that I were, however, didn't include apologetics. Do you all think that more sermons should include apologetics? (such as defending the Resurrection, date of the book of Daniel, the Torah, the Gospels etc. and especially, the literal Greek/Hebrew/Aramaic of the original text and its socio-historical contexts which give its likely meanings?)
    -The universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine.
    Sir James Jeans

    -This most beautiful system (The Universe) could only proceed from the dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.All variety of created objects which represent order and Life in the Universe could happen only by the willful reasoning of its original Creator, whom I call the Lord God.
    Sir Isaac Newton

  • #2
    I really wish they would. I'd be less inclined to scoff during sermons. Each time I go in hopeful for something solid and all I get is hit or miss, mostly miss. I wouldn't necessarily advocate for all apologetics all the time. I need some daily living sermons, too, which don't necessarily include defense of the Resurrection, but a better mix I think would have more people in the doors more often.

    "Fire is catching. If we burn, you burn with us!"
    "I'm not going anywhere. I'm going to stay here and cause all kinds of trouble."
    Katniss Everdeen


    Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast.

    Comment


    • #3
      In short, my answer is "yes and no".

      I suspect this is going to be a minority opinion on here, but for the most part, I don't think sermons should be primarily devoted to certain apologetics topics. It's all well and good to mention specific apologetics points in sermons (I'd encourage this practice), but apologetics study seems better suited for Bible studies or small groups. As the quote in my signature suggests, I believe apologetics is a practice that should be individualized to a target audience more than most evangelicals assume. With that in mind, church members are going to be all over in where they are, what their abilities are to share with others, and what the needs are of people whom they know. Sermons seem like a better format for providing practical life instruction than for educations. (Also, the ability to discuss and ask questions is available in small group/Bible study formats, which I see as important for the teaching of apologetics).

      There are two exceptions I can think of off the top of my head. One is the Resurrection. Simply put, everybody needs to know how to defend it and it is relevant to every Christian. The other is theodicy/the problem of pain, because this is such an emotional issue for so many Christians. I know some pastors preach on it after disasters in the community or deaths, and it is a topic that will be relevant to everybody.
      "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

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      • #4
        I've heard when Paul was preaching there was apologetics in his message. He was eloquent and defended his claims to Christianity. Are our churches preaching like Paul? i just wonder.

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        • #5
          Having said that, I'm thinking of churches such as the one I grew up in (just your normal, run of the mill middle class suburban church). Churches that primarily serve communities such as a university population or the like may well have more of a need for the use of more intellectual topics. But it's just something you have to keep in mind. If you're preaching in a soup kitchen to people living day by day, I think it's common sense that you're more likely to be preaching the gospel message than waxing on the intricacies of Levitical law.
          "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

          Comment


          • #6
            I asked this question because too many young people fall away from the Church because they aren't taught the solutions to the questions they have about the Bible (Eg. God's character, its historicity etc.) and when challenged on these issues, have no solution. Doubts creep in and it eventually destroys their faith in Jesus.

            Having said this

            Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
            In short, my answer is "yes and no".

            I suspect this is going to be a minority opinion on here, but for the most part, I don't think sermons should be primarily devoted to certain apologetics topics. It's all well and good to mention specific apologetics points in sermons (I'd encourage this practice), but apologetics study seems better suited for Bible studies or small groups. As the quote in my signature suggests, I believe apologetics is a practice that should be individualized to a target audience more than most evangelicals assume. With that in mind, church members are going to be all over in where they are, what their abilities are to share with others, and what the needs are of people whom they know. Sermons seem like a better format for providing practical life instruction than for educations. (Also, the ability to discuss and ask questions is available in small group/Bible study formats, which I see as important for the teaching of apologetics).



            There are two exceptions I can think of off the top of my head. One is the Resurrection. Simply put, everybody needs to know how to defend it and it is relevant to every Christian. The other is theodicy/the problem of pain, because this is such an emotional issue for so many Christians. I know some pastors preach on it after disasters in the community or deaths, and it is a topic that will be relevant to everybody.
            Regarding the bolded in the second paragraph,
            I would also add that when pastors are teaching us how to live life in a biblical manner, they should use the original Greek/Hebrew/Aramaic text to support what they are going to say as well as the socio-historical context and the early traditions of how people interpreted these passages.

            Not so sure I agree with the bolded in the first paragraph. A pastor should be able to speak from the pulpit regarding issues of slavery in the OT and the NT (I'm planning on doing something similar this Tuesday at my school's Christian group) and why it wasn't the institution it was in the New World (The Americas and the Caribbean)
            -The universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine.
            Sir James Jeans

            -This most beautiful system (The Universe) could only proceed from the dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.All variety of created objects which represent order and Life in the Universe could happen only by the willful reasoning of its original Creator, whom I call the Lord God.
            Sir Isaac Newton

            Comment


            • #7
              I actually was talking to a seminarian a few years ago and they were running a possible sermon by me. I suggested going into the original text at the time and she told me "No, they tell us not to do that. It seems arrogant and most lay people don't read." That didn't sit well with me at the time but I think it does explain why so many pastors do not, if they're actively being told not to.
              "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
                I actually was talking to a seminarian a few years ago and they were running a possible sermon by me. I suggested going into the original text at the time and she told me "No, they tell us not to do that. It seems arrogant and most lay people don't read." That didn't sit well with me at the time but I think it does explain why so many pastors do not, if they're actively being told not to.
                I suddenly feel exceedingly insulted by seminaries.

                "Fire is catching. If we burn, you burn with us!"
                "I'm not going anywhere. I'm going to stay here and cause all kinds of trouble."
                Katniss Everdeen


                Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Quantum Weirdness View Post
                  Not so sure I agree with the bolded in the first paragraph. A pastor should be able to speak from the pulpit regarding issues of slavery in the OT and the NT (I'm planning on doing something similar this Tuesday at my school's Christian group) and why it wasn't the institution it was in the New World (The Americas and the Caribbean)
                  That makes sense. That's not something I would personally think of when brainstorming apologetics issues, but for people in other cultures, I could see how it could be incredibly relevant and impossible to gloss over if discussing, say, Philemon.
                  "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hell, anything would be an improvement over the church's I've been members of. I couldn't tell you the last time I learned something useful in a sermon, it's mostly just emotional edification which I typically don't need. I would love for every other week to be about something apologetic in nature, that way no member of the congregation is left out (those primarily emotionally charged, and those primarily intellectually charged).
                    Last edited by Manwë Súlimo; 01-30-2014, 04:05 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      It doesn't even have to be James Patrick Holding-esque, just something like this:



                      See, in one sermon you learn about Greco-Roman rhetoric, exegesis, oral traditions and how they're expressed, etc.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        You have to know your audience.

                        Jesus met people at the point of their need. Too many Pastors are so isolated from their people that they don't have a clue what their people are facing. And Paul frequently preached to specific issues in the Church - problems, challenges, principles for living.

                        I've been in sermons where the Preacher went into depth into "the original language", and I see people tune out because they don't care WHAT happened 2,000 years ago in THAT regard. They want to know what the Bible says to them TODAY, and how it's relevant TODAY, and how it addresses their life issues TODAY.

                        I think some preachers enjoy waxing eloquent with "knowledge", and SOMETIMES it goes over the heads of the people.

                        So, SUNDAY MORNINGS I don't focus as much on "apologetics" as life issues. Sunday Nights and Wednesday Nights I get more into the "why we believe" thing. In fact, I usually start with a BASIC approach to apologetics like Paul Little's Know Why you Believe and Know What you Believe.

                        I think the Preacher needs to be in tune with God, and in tune with his people, and stay true to the Word. If the preacher preaches with conviction, and WALKS the talk, the power of the Holy Spirit does the work.

                        As an aside, some of the "GREATEST" Sermons I've ever preached (imohbao) received no comment from the people, but times when I thought I bombed BIG TIME, and should never try to preach again --- THOSE are the times that people will tell me "the Lord really spoke to me today", or "God really blessed my heart" or "the Lord really convicted me today of....."

                        I think, too many times, we try to come up with the magic formula for preaching --- this much apologetics, or this many stories, or include a poem, or some kind of theme presentation...

                        Just preach Jesus.
                        "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Well, I'm no William Lane Craig but I do listen to him and I love Ravi and the bits of apologetics I learn I teach my children. I was thinking of having twice a month 'audio time' where I have them listen to their audios (maybe dvd's too)instead of just hearing it from me. Not because I pale in comparison to them because I do even though they understand my translated versions but to introduce them to the vocabulary whereby (or thereby) expanding their minds and outlook. Hopefully, getting them to sit down for this will not be so tough

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Manwë Súlimo View Post
                            Hell, anything would be an improvement over the church's I've been members of. I couldn't tell you the last time I learned something useful in a sermon, it's mostly just emotional edification which I typically don't need. I would love for every other week to be about something apologetic in nature, that way no member of the congregation is left out (those primarily emotionally charged, and those primarily intellectually charged).
                            Why does this seem so widespread?
                            "It's evolution; every time you invent something fool-proof, the world invents a better fool."
                            -Unknown

                            "Preach the gospel, and if necessary use words." - Most likely St.Francis


                            I find that evolution is the best proof of God.
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                            I support the :
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                            • #15
                              They want to know what the Bible says to them TODAY, and how it's relevant TODAY, and how it addresses their life issues TODAY.
                              The Bible wasn't written TODAY, that's the problem. A lot of what people think applies to them is just bad exegesis. Jeremiah 29:11, for example, shouldn't be sent out on graduation cards.

                              I think some preachers enjoy waxing eloquent with "knowledge", and SOMETIMES it goes over the heads of the people.



                              Because when you only preach emotional edification type sermons, they don't have any context to attach these deeper things onto and that's the problem of the pastor. We're letting our congregations get mentally atrophied.

                              If the preacher preaches with conviction, and WALKS the talk, the power of the Holy Spirit does the work.



                              The Spirit isn't a labor saving device. God doesn't do the elbow grease that we don't want to do for ourselves..

                              I think, too many times, we try to come up with the magic formula for preaching --- this much apologetics, or this many stories, or include a poem, or some kind of theme presentation...

                              Just preach Jesus.



                              And then your child goes to high school and college and apostatize because they run into Bart Ehrman, John Dominic Crossan, Richard Dawkins, or somebody similar and they have NO defense or comeback besides "Jesus loves me, this I know". I reflect on my school experience and marvel that I didn't leave the faith. Pastors all over the world are going to have to answer one day for why they only equipped their congregants with wooden swords and aluminum foil helmets for the fight we're all called to undertake.

                              There's a time and place for the daily devotional type sermons, but the problem is that's ALL anybody's getting and it doesn't even appeal to some people like me in the first place.

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