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Do Lutherans Do Apologetics?

April 16th, 2009
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I was speaking recently to Professor Adam Francisco, of Concordia Theological Seminary, and he had a number of very perceptive remarks to share about Lutherans and our, frankly, disconcerting tendency not to attend to apologetics and a vigorous interaction with our culture. We need to do so in a manner that is not rude, but yet assertive. He just pointed me to some excellent thoughtful articles that I’ll be sharing with you here in the next several days. First up: Do Lutherans Do Apologetics? by Korey Maas. It was published in the most recent issue of For the Life of the World, the magazine produced by Concordia Theological Seminary. I highly recommend it. Here is a quote from the article:

The modern apologist says merely that if there are certain objections to the faith that can be addressed by reasonable appeals to evidence-or certain foundational facts that can be similarly established-then by all means, when speaking to the rational unbeliever, make every possible use of reason and evidence. By all means, tear down the intellectual barriers the skeptic has constructed to “protect” himself from a confrontation with the Gospel. No, doing so will not argue anyone into faith. But by means of reasonable and persuasive argument, as by means of the Law, “every mouth may be silenced” (Romans 3:19). And with mouths closed, perhaps way is made for ears to be opened.

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  1. April 16th, 2009 at 16:36 | #1

    Exactly! Apologetics isn't about arguing with people until they believe you. It's about getting people thinking about God, and removing barriers they might put up to him.

  2. April 16th, 2009 at 17:08 | #2

    The quote from Dr. Maas is spot on. Lutherans "don't do apologetics" precisely because we confuse apologetics with evangelism. We understand that we "cannot by our own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to Him." But apologetics is in the unbelief destruction business, not the faith construction business.

  3. Ryan
    April 16th, 2009 at 18:38 | #3

    Where does the quote or claim "Lutherans don't do Apologetics" come from? I have heard it often quoted by those desiring a more vigorous engagement in apologetics, with which I fully concur, but I have not found the source of the quote… Luther? Pieper? Walther? A Seminary Professor? Who?

  4. Matt
    April 24th, 2009 at 21:16 | #4

    I hear a number of Lutherans ably explaining and defending the faith daily on Issues, Etc. Some Lutherans may have a hang-up about apologetics, but some others do it wonderfully. Dr. Montgomery is without peer as an apologist; and Prs. Cwirla and McCain and many others have also made a strong case for the faith, even if the subject matter wasn't apologetics per se.

    In evangelism, our problem is not that our neighbors haven't heard the Gospel. Most have, but are unable to distinguish the saving Gospel from all the false gospels bouncing around the culture

    So, by undermining the bad ideas that undermine our faith, apologetics can be a useful starting point for evangelism, but evangelism consists of more than apologetics.

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