In my most recent column, I introduced you to "Beyond Opinion," a Christian apologetics book, edited by Ravi Zacharias, that offers suggestions on how to approach the skeptic, depending on the skeptic's background or reasons for doubt or non-belief. Before leaving the subject, let me give you a stronger flavor of this interesting apologetics method and this fascinating book.
Ravi tells us an effective apologetic "pays very close attention not just to the question but to the questioner. That, in turn, leads to the relevance of the answer." He cites Jesus' walk on the Emmaus road as an instructive example.
The disciples find themselves walking with the risen Lord, wholly oblivious to his identity and telling him -- with unmatched irony -- that he must be the only one in the world unaware of what had happened in the past few days (Jesus' death and resurrection), when, in fact, he was the only one who fully comprehended it and its significance.
Instead of just dramatically proclaiming, "It is I," Jesus "explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself." Why did he take that approach? It's not that he hadn't proclaimed his identity at other times, e.g., John 4:26. Rather, "Jesus did what was needed in this moment: he pointed out to these two disciples a vast context of fifteen hundred years to show why the event on Calvary had to take place."
Among other things, he opened their eyes to understand why their presuppositions clouded their vision of who he was. They were expecting the Messiah to bring political deliverance, crushing their Roman oppressors. Instead, they crucified him. But he showed them he had come to offer a different kind of deliverance, which only his sacrificial death could achieve. As an apologist, it's best if you -- like Jesus -- approach people mindful of their circumstances and their possible presuppositions.
The first six chapters of "Beyond Opinion," written by separate apologists, address six different obstacles to the Christian faith, from postmodernism to atheism to science.
Amy Orr-Ewing cogently demonstrates the logical incoherence of postmodernism. Postmodernists, she says, suspect all authority and reject all worldviews except their own. That is, they deny all worldviews except their own uncompromising, authoritarian and certain position that there can be no reliable worldview." They fail their own test.
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