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Le Cap 2010 - Thèses préliminaires

La vérité compte : défendez la vérité

Auteur: Carver T. Yu
Date: 19.06.2010
Category: Vérité et pluralisme

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L'original est en anglais

Note de l’éditeur : Cette communication préliminaire pour Le Cap 2010 a été écrite par Carver T.Yu pour servir de synthèse du sujet qui sera discuté lors de la session plénière du matin sur « Plaider en faveur de la vérité de Christ dans un monde pluraliste et globalisé ». Vos réponses à cette communication, par le biais du Forum mondial du mouvement de Lausanne, seront transmises à l’auteur et à d’autres pour les aider à peaufiner leur présentation finale pour le congrès. 

Ceux d’entre nous qui vivent en Asie sont depuis des siècles confrontés à la réalité de la pluralité culturelle de manière générale, et de la pluralité religieuse en particulier. Oui, nous connaissons la pluralité, mais pas le pluralisme. Le pluralisme n’a jamais été une option. Que vous soyez confucianiste, taoïste, bouddhiste, musulman ou hindou, vous avez la conviction inébranlable que ce que vous croyez et vivez est la vérité qui vous conduit à une authentique humanité ou au salut éternel, et que tous les autres chemins mènent au mieux à une vie d’insatisfaction, et au pire à la perversion et à la souffrance. La vérité compte, car elle a des conséquences à vie. Tout en respectant les autres, nous considérons néanmoins qu’il est de notre responsabilité de leur indiquer le bon chemin à suivre. 

De nos jours, le pluralisme en vogue est totalement différent. C’est une idéologie qui préconise que la vérité est une construction culturelle uniquement valable pour la culture qui l’élabore. Elle ne peut donc pas avoir d’incidence sur une autre culture ou un autre système de signification. Il n’y a pas de vérité qui puisse prétendre être vérité pour tous. Toutes ces vérités sont relatives les unes par rapport aux autres. Les pluralistes poussent cela au-delà des cultures et l’appliquent aussi aux individus. Désormais, l’individu est présumé être l’ultime base de la réalité, le fondement sur lequel toute signification et valeur sont basées. Le pluraliste postmoderne affirme que tout individu crée sa propre logique et établit ses propres règles pour construire son monde personnel de réalités et de valeurs. L’individu est « autonome » dans le sens où il représente sa propre loi. Si chaque individu construit son propre monde, il peut donc y avoir autant de mondes qu’il existe d’individus, et chacun de ces mondes n’est qu’une toile de croyances qui ne sont vraies que pour l’individu qui la tisse. Ces mondes individuellement élaborés étant tous uniques, ils sont donc incommensurables les uns pour les autres. Ainsi, malgré toute la rhétorique concernant le dialogue, le pluralisme a rendu tout dialogue inutile et futile. 

De même, si la vérité se fabrique, elle peut donc être recréée à souhait. Elle est donc provisoire et variable, et n’a pas d’incidence durable sur quoi que ce soit. En condamnant toutes les vérités à être totalement relatives et provisoires, le pluralisme a en effet réduit au silence toute proclamation de vérité supérieure qui serait vraie pour l’ensemble des êtres humains et des cultures. Au nom d’un dogmatisme condamnateur, il se trouve que le pluralisme est néanmoins la plus dogmatique de toutes les idéologies car elle qualifie sans hésitation tout concept anti-pluraliste de la vérité comme étant du dogmatisme et de l’exclusivisme, et ainsi le rejette en bloc. Ce genre de pluralisme est le monisme le plus virulent : c’est un monisme de l’indifférence. 

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PhContributeBy
Répondre Signaler 0 J'aime Je n'aime pas God_s_Child (1)  
Kenya

This paper has been so insightful. It’s saddening to see the number of people,especially of my generation,who don’t see the need of having a relationship with God.They are willing to embrace everything but the truth that Jesus is the only way to eternal life and that we can’t live our lives without Him.


05.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Répondre Signaler 0 J'aime Je n'aime pas John_Glass (4)  
Royaume-Uni

I believe this to be a very helpful analysis of the challenge the Church faces in its presentation of the Gospel.  We do not live ina post Christian culture we live nearer a pre-Christian culture in the sense that the majority of those that we communicate with have no knowledge of the Christian message with which to compare what we are presenting to them.  The Church, at its best, emerged from a pre Christian experience in order to send its message around the world.  We should be no less optimistic about the future success of our message.


05.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Répondre Signaler 1 J'aime Je n'aime pas Dmytro_B (1)  
Ukraine

Thank you for your thoughts about the truth in a modern day society. As a man I was raised in a communist ideology that defiantly not intend of any pluralism. But in a new world that we all living in our mind bombarded with a new ideas. I guess that many Christians for right now fighting the idea of tolerance against the truth. And really needed understandable explanation. My illustration and answer to that conduct with the doctor visitation. Even you wish to have the second opinion but still you strive for the straight truth. For all who swimming in pluralism this illustration can help to get sober. No one doesn’t want to die from the bad prescription medicine. So, if the doctor’s recipes crucial how much more the spiritual truth is important


05.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Répondre Signaler 1 J'aime Je n'aime pas Linda_Campbell (1)
États-Unis

Thank you so much for this paper. You are emphasizing the importance of understanding key world views and trends. We need to be aware of human philosophies and empty deceptions based on the principles of the world. As Paul said in Col 2:8, we need to be on our guard so that we are not taken "captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

    Lars Dahle in his Advance Paper on Media Messages underscores what you are saying: "there is an urgent need globally to develop critical thinking and awareness ... with an emphasis on issues of truth and reality, worldviews and spirituality."

    And yet, the cry to stand up for the truth is at the same time a call to the Church to embrace Christ, who is the Living Truth. It is as we long for Jesus, and long to bring glory to the Father, that Truth will fall from our lips. It is when we embrace the cross and Christ lives in us that our words, because they are His, will have power to demolish strongholds.


04.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Répondre Signaler 0 J'aime Je n'aime pas cheez116 (0)
États-Unis

Wow, great paper. You have made your point straight across. There is some things that I believe you should have mentioned which I will explain later in my response. In your paper as I was reading, I never knew there was books out there against The Faith. This paper was very informative. Pluralism is becoming a problem with society. Yes I do agree we need to stand up for our faith and preach the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. My girlfirend was telling me that her younger sister which is in high school had a class decision about being a homosexual. And mostly all the student said it was ok, that its your own personal decision. Now she was disagreeing with them. The teacher and the students were trying to prove to her that she is wrong. She stop to think and remember she has the bible application on her ipod touch. So she became quiet for a second. And then she stood up and read a passage from the scriptures in 1 Cornithians against homosexuality. After she read the word, everyone became silent, mind you this is a public school. With this example we do need more people like her to stand up for the Truth. But also I felt that you should of incorporate that the end of times is near because yes I do agree we need to stand up and profess the Truth, all though with your information you have given especially with the pluralism, this is an indicator that we are believers need to wake up. I would not say make it a focal point because that will shift the direction of your paper but let it be known. Overall great paper and I pray that others read it and God reveals them the truth on the spot. Also I have one question, what cause pluralism to evolve as much as it does now against the Truth? like for an example is the da vinci code, etc. Like what was the catalyst the spark it off? 


04.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Répondre Signaler 0 J'aime Je n'aime pas Jim_Harries (-3)
Kenya
@ cheez116:

One response to Cheez’ question - is that the Protestant church itself promotes questioning, to such an extent that the questions have resulted in the undermining of its own foundations. Fundamentally truth is held by faith after all. You start by believing. But to an extent, did Luther start by ’questionning’?


Now - I agree that if you keep questioning in the end you get to the truth. But in the meantime, we are in a bit of a diversion?


I perceive that Westerners, including Western Christians have got too deep into historical materialism. This is demonstrated by the tendency for mission from the West tends these days to be over concerned for people’s material well being as a means to their heart. If even Christians believe this, the secular world is not getting an alternative model to follow.


Here’s an excert from a recent newsletter: if more Westerners ... go to Africa to work
ALONGSIDE the indigenous people. This could break the monopoly of the
teaching that mission is done through money. Once church leaders
acknowledge that Christian mission ought to be done from within the
local context, cultural barriers can be broken, and troublesome issues
that have been ignored for decades could be addressed. Addressing
those issues will not be easy. It will try people’s faith. Such trials
can build faith. This kind of activity could even help to awaken
Europe from its sleep in secularism. Then those who are hopeless,
lonely, and failing to satisfy their human needs through worldly
material things and sexual and other excesses could be re-awakened to a
knowledge of
God’s provision and God’s love ...


04.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Répondre Signaler 1 J'aime Je n'aime pas Cody_Lorance (13)   
États-Unis

Thanks for this thought-provoking paper.  As I read, two different kinds of people came to mind – who both might be considered to be devotees of the postmodern, pluralistic worldview that you have described.  The first is embodied by a sociology professor I once had.  Highly educated, militantly atheistic, openly and publicly antagonistic to the Christian faith – a conscious, intentional proponent of this worldview – he publishes books and articles about it, blogs it, tweets it, teaches it, etc.  The second however, is embodied in an individual that I know who has recently left his wife for another woman.  When confronted as to the moral aberrancy of his conduct, though not consciously a postmodernist, he responded in a way that typifies it.  Phrases like, “You’re entitled to your opinion, but it is my business”; “I have to follow my heart”; and “If you don’t like my life then get out of it” are met by platitudes from like-minded peers such as “Don’t worry about what anyone else says”; “Be true to yourself”; and the like.  This second individual is unintentional, unversed in postmodern theory, and often unable to articulate the rationale behind his values and beliefs.   

I want to state simply that the Church must seek to answer both types of people. 

  1. First, I’d like to see the Global Church make an effort to identify, affirm, and meaningfully support those among us who are the truly great apologists of our day.  Then to call on them to redouble their efforts to (1) give public and compelling defenses of the faith that are of irreproachable soundness and quality and (2) equip the whole Church to effectively join the battle for truth in our day.
  2. Second, we must have a related but nevertheless distinct strategy to win the hearts and minds of the masses of unintentional postmodern pluralists who are especially plentiful in Western society today.


15.07.2010
PhContributeBy
Répondre Signaler 2 J'aime Je n'aime pas Carver_Yu (9)   
Chine
@ Cody_Lorance:

I agree with Cody on his two challenges to the church:


1. identifying, supporting a new generation of apologists. Our global church has invested very little on developing thinkers. Not only has she invested little, she harbors a suspicion on intellectual pursuits. There has to be a change of heart in this.


2. this is perhaps more urgent. The mass of unintentional or unthinking pluralists are  expanding. A new breed of evangelists has to be nurtured to understand the heart and mind of this group. How do we do it? I need help here.


19.07.2010
PhContributeBy
Répondre Signaler 1 J'aime Je n'aime pas ChrisSmith (2)
États-Unis
@ Carver_Yu:

@ Cody Lorance & Carver Yu:


1. The identification and development of Christian apologists is a critical effort. The Colson Center for Christian Worldview is one institution working in this area, providing Web-accessible resources as well as training. We must develop more such resources and institutions, both in number and in variety.


2. It is vital that youth ministry (where it exists; I acknowledge there is disagreement about its importance & validity in the Church) incorporate worldview training, especially as Western teenagers will often soon find themselves moving from home to university campuses where their oft-tenuous and incompletely-elaborated Christian worldview will be challenged. I am privileged to work with a youth pastor who has made it his central goal to work toward this objective. Of course, this requires the "best and brightest" be encouraged into youth work.


02.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Répondre Signaler 0 J'aime Je n'aime pas Cody_Lorance (13)   
États-Unis
@ ChrisSmith:

Amen to this comment, Chris.  Thanks also for mentioning the Colson Center for Worldview Training. I agree with you that we must affirm and encourage the development of more such resources for the global Church.  I’ve also been appreciating Alpha and Omega Ministries lately and years ago did recieve a lot of benefit from the Christian Research Institute.  You might find the latter to be particularly helpful for youth.  When I was a youth minister, I found that the approach of CRI was simple, direct, solid and memorable -- and thus, easy to pass on to students.  I’m hoping that through the Congress we can really encourage those called to apologetics ministries to renew their committment to fully equip the Church to defend the faith.


04.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Répondre Signaler 1 J'aime Je n'aime pas Mojoe (7)
États-Unis

@Jetteke and Doug

Here is a link which should help with some clarification of terminology.  I was kind of waiting for someone else to address your thoughts, but I am fairly impatient.

http://codylorance.blogspot.com/2010/09/postmodern-pluralists-intentional.html

I haven’t come across anyone on this site yet without the ability to research the Bible or simply the scriptural knowledge to justify the claims in this paper and I personally think that this is the reason for the absence of scripture. 

We can’t reason people into Heaven, but we can answer the unanswered questions and explain misconceptions.  With the "fact" (by experience) that the use of scripture, chapter and verse is an immediate disconnect with atheists, agnostics and many other nominal Christians, there is a need to paraphrase and meet them on their level.  This would be much like me trying to evangelize in China and getting angry at the indigenous for not speaking english.  I doubt that I would be of much effect if I didn’t learn the language.  The language for the modern pluralist/atheist is science and logic and that is the venue for this type of ministry. 

Paul went to Athens and ministered to the academics using their own language.  He didn’t enter with the concept of domination, but rather assimilation.  He also didn’t have the advantage of the books of Acts thru Revelations which indicates through precedent that as long as we speak truth, then we don’t HAVE to quote scripture to make a point to someone who doesn’t understand it.  We need to make sure they understand God and then the scripture will make sense.

In my ministry, we educate the new Christian with zero knowledge of good, bad, right and wrong (as indicated by their troubled past).  We also minister to the highly educated who either don’t understand or even deny the Bibles accuracy and authenticity.  Each group speaks a different language and there are nuances in between.  We are called to preach the gospel to ALL people.


02.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Répondre Signaler 0 J'aime Je n'aime pas TeresaChai (0)
Malaisie

Religion can unite or divide.


02.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Répondre Signaler 0 J'aime Je n'aime pas Jetteke_N (0)  
Pays-Bas

A good and necessary topic to be talked about.

Yet, I think it needs more body to make an impact and help people. it has too much the assumption that people know what you mean when you use words. Explain your definition of the words pluralism and plurality. To point them to the right path: what do you mean with that? Christianity is probably the right assumption.

Explain why you think that the divine decree that the human person is made in the image of God, makes the difference in it’s value. Also: use the Bible.


30.09.2010
PhContributeBy
Répondre Signaler 0 J'aime Je n'aime pas David_Benson (2)  
Australie

Great article ... nice line, too: "Pluralism as such is the most virulent kind of monism—;it is monism of indifference.

I agree with your critique of radical pluralism--in which there is no truth other than that which is socially constructed.  It does deconstruct itself, and is a convenient belief in a culture wanting to go its own way.

My sense, however (from an Australian perspective of working with high school and university students), is that relatively few people are true postmodern relativists.  Most (following Philip Hughes critique in "Putting Life Together") are confused pragmatists with no clear way to discern which if any of the options on offer are true ... thus they follow what feels best.  Many people (following Newbigin) are pluralist with respect to their beliefs, but not with respect to their "facts."  Science says the way the natural world is, and anything to do with metaphysics is a mist.  

What we need is to help these kind of confused skeptics find a way through.  What criteria, if any, may guide them on the search for what makes the best sense of the world and their experience therein.  And what person may be a trustworthy guide for the journey.

Both point back to the person of Christ--who doesn’t just expound "objective truths" but claims that the truth is personal.  Indeed, the truth is a person.

Perhaps the files at http://logos.kbc.org.au/blog/resources/logos-talks/many-paths-one-door/ and the video at http://www.kbc.org.au/media/message-logos-%E2%80%94-many-paths-one-door/--my stumbling effort to guide such agnostics through the labyrinth of competing beliefs--may be of help toward this end.

Pièces jointes téléchargeables


27.09.2010
PhContributeBy
Répondre Signaler 0 J'aime Je n'aime pas Peter_Barney (0)  
Australie
@ David_Benson:

I would probably add my agreement with what Dave is saying about the "on the ground" effect of pluralism.


The monotheistic God of consumerism which may or may not be the outworking of pluralism seems to have a greater unchallenged deity status in my context.


In fact in relation to Pluralism and the mentioned battle between Atheists and religion, I see this battle as not as big as possibly portrayed in the Carver article.


I tend to think that the Atheists are primarily still part of the enlightenment and their voice is a small, older, male and academic one that should be carefully engaged as giving this group oxygen to their cause may be the least sucessful strategy of engagement.


 


Looking forward to the Plenary in Cape Town


28.09.2010
PhContributeBy
Répondre Signaler 0 J'aime Je n'aime pas Mojoe (7)
États-Unis
@ Peter_Barney:

Peter,


We may have to agree to disagree about the power and support of the atheist/pluralist mindset.  I agree that it is from the enlightenment period, but it has taken a very strategic methodology. 


The main issue is not that people will experiment and test their theologies, but rather that the future decision makers of industry, government and media, will have been educated by a highly motivated system of education.  The manner of educating used by the ’enlightened’ atheist is highly logical. Whether that logic leads to a the truth is irrelevent when most Christians can NOT logically defend their faith.  We live in an era of logic and science and these viens are purposfully leaving out any avenue for theology.


I have been evaluating students going to college from vibrant churches and I have found that youth leaders have a confidence in 2 out of every 100 students, as pertaining to the students continued walk of faith.  It is nearly 0 when I interview leaders of dormant churches (dormant is refering to older, more traditional churches with low growth).


My greatest concern is that we take this issue too lightly.


28.09.2010
PhContributeBy
Répondre Signaler 0 J'aime Je n'aime pas Mojoe (7)
États-Unis
@ David_Benson:

David, the manuscripts are wonderful.  Do you distribute these or what is your goal.  Do you offer this on a regular basis and who is your target?


I certainly would not offer this unless in an environment where the probability of questioning their faith was pretty high, but I may not have the confidence in the presentation that you do.  Our teens and young addults are losing their confidence in a specific faith as exemplified by the following article.


http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/08/27/almost.christian/index.html


 


28.09.2010
PhContributeBy
Répondre Signaler 0 J'aime Je n'aime pas David_Benson (2)  
Australie
@ Mojoe:

Hi Mojoe,


thanks for your encouragement, and feedback.  I work as Pastor of Evangelism in Brisbane, Australia, and this talk comes from our apologetics team called Logos.  (Previous talks can be found at http://www.mediafire.com/?i3jjj5zv3dnl4 and http://www.kbc.org.au/index.php?s=Logos ... about 30 in all on a whole range of topics).


I agree with your concern about offering such talks unless the probability of questioning their faith was pretty high.  (And no I don’t have great confidence that our presentation in one hit will solve their issues! ... it has to be part of an ongoing and open dialogue.)  In my context, they are questioning.  Or at least their ’faith’ is daily being hammered in school and university and by media coverage increasingly overt in its derision of Christianity, particularly from an intellectual angle.


Logos presents in a number of schools and universities, but this presentation was one of 4 given in our church service (at the night service we have ~500 youth and young adults).  In relation to the modernity/postmodernity distinction, I think it’s largely a false dichotomy.  Both modernity and postmodernity tend to be secularising.  Following Craig Gay’s critique in The Way of the Modern World: Why It’s Tempting to Live as if God Doesn’t Exist, I think postmodernity is helpfully understood as hypermodernity.  It has just as many continuities with a reason-based modern approach as discontinuities.  Reason never truly went out.


(As a side point on this, I’ve uploaded my MCS thesis on commending the Bible to non-Christian teens, in which chapter 3 looks at the sociocultural setting of contemporary western adolescents, and argues that postmodernity and postmodernism need to be properly distinguished, less we contextualize to an audience that doesn’t exist.)


I know from discussion with our youth that they are struggling with issues of belief.  Given this, we’ve abolished an insider vs. outsider apologetic and language to similarly commend Christian faith to all.  This helps model for Christian kids a way of thinking, and a way of engaging, that holds up whether in the church supported by Christian friends, or in a hostile class environment.


After presenting defeater beliefs in a full-blooded form, my aims in any given talk are usually three fold:


1) Challenge: Open ears by undermining secularism (use logic/reason, which best reaches atheists or those who a priori reject Christian belief)


2) Inform: Establish trust through advancing credible truths (use evidence, which best reaches skeptics with an historical or scientific bent, where they need direct responses to pointed questions of detail)


3) Inspire: Arouse interest by engaging experience (use existential approach, which best reaches new agers, postmoderns, and the average adolescent/young adult keen to find meaning and happiness in life).


Apologies if the detail is way too much, here, but hopefully this helps you get where we’re coming from.


The fruit, so far, has been positive.  It’s created a culture where the doubts and questions our people already had are brought into the open, they gain in confidence to ground what they believe as a reasonable--if not the best--frame of reference to make sense of life, and they learn ways of communicating with those outside our community that can stand up in the marketplace.


What is your context, and would this kind of approach be helpful, or harmful?

Pièces jointes téléchargeables


28.09.2010
PhContributeBy
Répondre Signaler 0 J'aime Je n'aime pas Mojoe (7)
États-Unis
@ David_Benson:

David, this looks very promising to me.  Apologetics in my area, especially in the form of a concise program is very rare.  I am trying to gain support from local ministries who don’t seem to see a problem.  I have been able to develop trainings of peer counseling and evangelism by removing the language of "Christianese".  This has been a huge help in not only evangelizing, but also in helping teens actually understand what they, themselves are saying.  I was hoping to not have to ’re-invent the wheel’ with an apologetics program and this may be an avenue for that.


My interest is in helping the high number of youth attending higher education, to retain their faith.  By my surveys, 98% of our local students become pluralistic at best and atheistic at worst.  There is an amazing shallowness to the understanding of Christianity here (as well as many other places).  I attribute this to the leadership either not understanding what they are teaching, not knowing how to teach any differently or not seeing the need to teach differently.  My statistics are based on surveys of youth ministers’ follow up of former students and 98% is an optimistic view of modern, healthy, progressive churches.  Simply being able to recite the rhetoric is not a test of an educated and prepared Christian.


I would like something to help prepare youth prior to higher education, in order to expand my audience, but also serve those already emersed.  My approach has been from a position of open mindedness, alternative thought and agreement on the simplest issues and then transitioning to that of overwhelming evidence from a cocophony of fields simultaneously.  For example it was usually by agreeing that people of all cultures and eras feel some need for a creator.  I tend to progress into deeper and deeper evidences culminating into consistancies, and evidences, in history, culture, cosmology, geology, literature, etc.  The pace is usually determined by the time that I expect to have with the youth. 


complex ideas, but as you well know, this is discipleship and not a lecture.


28.09.2010
PhContributeBy
Répondre Signaler 0 J'aime Je n'aime pas David_Benson (2)  
Australie
@ Mojoe:

What you’re looking at sounds great.  


Feel free to use absolutely any of the stuff I’ve uploaded ... it’s all kingdom work, so have fun :)  


In terms of other organizations with a similar focus, check out:


1) Summit Worldview Ministries (http://www.summit.org/): They have some great resources, and already run forums and events for upper high school/university to ground Christians in a biblical world view.  Much of what they do is great, but--perhaps my view only--it is shaped significantly by the culture wars in the USA ... which is not so much our context here in Australia.  It can be a bit defensive in stance, and thus not equally useful in dialogue with those outside the Christian faith.  ... So, check out ...


2) Compass (http://www.compass.org.au/): They link in with Summit through John Stonestreet as a key speaker, but I think their general frame is far better for where culture is at.  Over ~5 days they take 100 top students through a broad sweeping unpacking of the Christian faith in a narrative frame. ... Creation, Fall, Redemption, Consummation ... so instead of a defensive posture, it allows apologetics to fall out of the story we’re in.  They cover the typical apologetic topics on the way through (evil, science, suffering, resurrection, etc.) but within a more holistic missional frame.  This group is largely based in New Zealand, but are doing some fantastic work in Australia and overseas.  


Another approach I’ve found helpful for a 1-2 hour+ session (though you could do it over a number of days), is to share the gospel using a modified version of James Choung’s The Big Story (see my version here: http://pathways.kbc.org.au/passing/passing-evangelism/the-big-story-video/).  After sharing this, I give each participant ~3 sticky notes to write the biggest questions or objections either they or their non-Christian friends have to what I’ve shared ... they write them out, stick them on the relevant circle on a whiteboard, and then we break them into groups to work through the questions ... so the apologetics discussions derive from their own questions and engage them in answering questions they’re commonly asked.


A last resource ... one of the other talks Logos did was "Caught Out: Quick Answers to Tough Questions" (http://logos.kbc.org.au/blog/resources/logos-talks/caught-out/) ... we surveyed ~600 non-Christians around Brisbane, categorized their responses into the top 10 objections/sticking-points to following Christ or believing in Christianity.  A team of us then put together a starting point for dialogue, crafting a sample 3 minute response so that believers have thought in advance, and don’t get caught out when asked a tough question on the spot.  Each answer is followed by a couple of responses, and then a small group discussion guide with recommended reading.  We’ve found this useful to journey through, though I’d definitely like to reshoot our 3 minute video responses--the content was good, but our amateur presentation skills were shameful!!


Hope this helps, and God bless as you set something up for your own crew.


 


... I’ve tried reinventing a few wheels already, and it’s fun to start with but potentially pointless when you find someone else has done pretty much the same thing better than you could!! ... 

Pièces jointes téléchargeables


28.09.2010
PhContributeBy
Répondre Signaler 0 J'aime Je n'aime pas Peter_Barney (0)  
Australie
@ Mojoe:

Thanks for your feedback.


I would say that in my context confidence in sharing the Gospel is very low. Is that what your evaluations measure? Or are they measuring confidence in whether people stay with the faith?


So I would agree with your findings and the need to equip people afresh to share the Gospel and have confidence in defending their faith in the world we live in.


I also found Dave Bensons resources very stimilutating regards material for engaging young people with the Gospel. But, I am excited with Dave’s stuff because it moves beyond countering Atheism and pluralism.


I am not sure that the atheist movement is structured or strategic. Small movements of it are. But, on closer examination of one those movements in Australia they have an older demographic than the church and do not have the emerging champions of their paradigm.


In my context I think that one of the more challenging issues is consumerist culture which is backed by an economic model (see Milton Friedman and Chicago School of Economics) many countries in the world have ascribed to. And that was reinforced in the global financial crisis


By the way, I would not want to down play the need to equip Christians to tackle Atheism and wrestle with the "there is no ultimate truth" retort to Christian evangelism. But, I do not think that behind this retort is a structured and strategic movement.


28.09.2010
PhContributeBy
Répondre Signaler 0 J'aime Je n'aime pas David_Benson (2)  
Australie
@ Peter_Barney:

Hey Peter! ... great to hear from you ... will have to grab a coffee in Cape Town :) ... I had a great time catching up with Emma Palandri in Brisbane a couple of months back, so thanks for the contact.


The whole atheism thing is interesting, as stats for Gen Y are still on the rise, for non-belief in God to be sure, but especially for the % uncertain about God’s existence.


We did some surveying on worldviews around University Queensland the other week, and found nearly 20% of those we surveyed had staunchly atheist views.  (Though many were uniformed about even the basic mechanics of the Big Bang, and other tenets of a materialistic paradigm--more of a general sentiment that it doesn’t seem like there is a god, it’s irrelevant, and anyway, how could you know?)  And books by old dudes in the "new atheist" camp like Dawkins continue to be best-sellers, even in Australia.  So there is some heat on this.


Often the loud views of a minority serve to undermine confidence of those already confused about their beliefs, so the whole ’god’ thing becomes a back burner issue ... just get on with enjoying life today.  God becomes irrelevant by default.


I agree that consumerism is a big issue (bigger than atheism), and it pushes us to look inward at the church before we throw any stones, as we hardly reflect a godly simplicity seen in the early church (cf. Lausanne Occasional Paper 20 on simple living).  But I do think atheism still needs some focus.


Like you said, Peter, I think we’re always better to avoid the them-us model of debate--as though they’re our enemy--and instead foster a genuine dialogue that begins with listening and mutual understanding, resulting in loving community.  That’s where the culture-wars in the US drive me crazy, as it seems to make our "enemy" one of flesh and blood.  The more our (apologetic) engagement reflects our role as agents of reconciliation, the better for the whole world, including atheists.


29.09.2010
PhContributeBy
Répondre Signaler 0 J'aime Je n'aime pas Peter_Barney (0)  
Australie
@ David_Benson:

Coffee sounds good.


Thanks for your feedback regards atheism and pluralism. Both you and Mojoe have me thinking that this is worth looking at and reflecting further.


cheers for the feedback


29.09.2010
PhContributeBy
Répondre Signaler 0 J'aime Je n'aime pas Juan_G (2)  
Venezuela

I wonder when tolerance becomes an excuse for cowardice to share the gospel with others?  Where do we draw the line? How do we reconcile with the fact that the Gospel often offends no matter the packaging. Because of the affirmations it makes. It claims there is just one way to find God`s face, and that is offensive.

I have found the answer to this question in the basis of understanding truth and defining it relationally.  Truth is the interpretation of reality through God´s lenses. Beginning with taking the Bible as the whole truth of God and furthermore to even asking the guidance of the Holy Spirit (his opinion) in making decisions in every little and futile situation. To choose when to speak and when to be silent is a result of the guidance of the Holy Spirit and can never be out of cowardice. 


27.09.2010
PhContributeBy
Répondre Signaler 0 J'aime Je n'aime pas Joseph_Paul_Cadariu (5)  
États-Unis
@ Juan_G:

Dynamite, sir!  It’s as simple as that.  Why do we want to complicate the truth??


27.09.2010
PhContributeBy
Répondre Signaler 0 J'aime Je n'aime pas Rachael_Hosier (0)
Royaume-Uni

If we are to stand up for God’s truth we need to ensure that we know what this truth is through thorough teaching of God’s word in our churches and personal study. The challenges many of us face in standing up for this truth, are also knowing how to share what we believe to be true in such a way that we are not dismissed as being intolerant and judgemental and yet having the courage to be bold in speaking out.


25.09.2010
PhContributeBy
Répondre Signaler 0 J'aime Je n'aime pas Mojoe (7)
États-Unis

"if we lose..."  I don’t know what that means.

If there is one more heart and mind that can be "won" for Christ, then it’s worth the effort. 

Interesting study of the concept of time, freewill and pre-destination; when we watch a recorded football game and the reciever runs out ten yards and then cuts to the inside, did he choose to run that direction?  Every time we watch the game, he does the same thing.  We know that we win the game, but that doesn’t substitute for the fight, determination and free will employed during the game.  Our efforts need to be so empassioned that it would appear that we didn’t know the outcome of the game.  Unless my NT survey is inaccurate, we will be fourth and long, trailing in the fourth quarter and then He saves the day.

The battle is real and I for one do not want to be the one who could have done better.  Who is that "one more" that I can "win"?


24.09.2010
PhContributeBy
Répondre Signaler 0 J'aime Je n'aime pas Ilya_Kolmagorov (1)  
Russie

Carver, thank you for the article! It helps to motivate thinkers to take a more pronounced stand on the issue of truth. This is especially important in the academe, because that is where a great part of the future thinking elite is formed. I appreciate your illustration (quote from R. Zacharias) - I think examples like that are practical how-to’s we can teach Christian students to use their apologetics to defend the Christian faith.

And, undoubtedly, the issue of truth is the "hinge" in the dialog (or argument?) with secular humanistic thinkers. Without Christian truth being universally true, none of what we say about Christ, atonement, the forgiveness of sins, etc., makes sense or is worth people’s attention. Moreover, as Carver rightfully says, the battle of truth/pluralism is a fight for the minds and hearts, and if we finally lose, it will give unrestrained rein to this dominant secular world view. The stakes are simply too high.   


23.09.2010
PhContributeBy
Répondre Signaler 0 J'aime Je n'aime pas Joseph_Paul_Cadariu (5)  
États-Unis
@ Ilya_Kolmagorov:

"And, if we finally lose..." Not sure what that means.  Has not Christ already won the battle?


24.09.2010
PhContributeBy
Répondre Signaler 0 J'aime Je n'aime pas RyanHannah (1)   
Malawi

An African Perspective of Truth

Contemporary discussions about truth tend to focus on truth from a western perspective.  The discussions usually focus on the Modern view of truth over against a Post-modern view of truth.  Other world views are either not considered or neglected.  The global dominance of western culture as well as the fact that some world views have not articulated their perspectives means that other voices are not heard. 

Joe Kapolyo in his book, The Human Condition: Christian Perspectives Through Africa Eyes (Inter-Varsity Press, 2005) gives some insight into the world view of the Bemba (a people group largely based in Zambia) and their view of truth. 

Western philosophy since the Enlightenment has generally conceptualized truth in absolute terms but divorced from any metaphysical ideas or notions.  This conception of truth has drawn a sharp distinction between facts and values.  Facts are objectively true, while values are a matter for personal opinion.  …

Science assumes enormous prestige in this privileging of its form of knowledge over biblical revelation.  Scientific truth has its basis in observation but observation has its limitations.  A chicken observing the farmer putting down food in its feeding trough assumes, on the basis of observation that the farmer puts down the food in order to feed it.  This is true but it is not the whole truth.  The chicken has no way of knowing the financial and economic strategies behind the farmer’s actions!  But in general it is observation that gives the Western concept of truth the quality of timelessness or contextual autonomy.  As a consequence Western culture has basically rejected the metaphysical world as true on account that such notions and concepts are not verifiable.  Their ‘truth’ must be virtual rather than absolute.  In line with this, a statement is deemed to be true if there is a verifiable corresponding fact or reality behind it.  It is false if no such corresponding fact or reality exists.  This conceptualization of truth puts Western attitudes in sharp contrast to those of other cultures like that of the Bemba. 

 For most, if not all African cultures, ‘Criteria of truth and value are socially, not internally, generated and applied; responsibility is communal, not conscientious, and public shame, not guilty self, is the penalty for moral contravention’ (Maxwell 1983:24)  When the need to tell the ‘truth’ conflicts with a greater value (i.e. the demand to protect one’s ‘good image’ or defend a close relative) it is appropriate to tell lies.  However, although everyone acknowledges the lies as lies, the person who told them to protect his kin or his ‘good image’ will generally be upheld in the community as truthful.  This often brings much biblical teaching into conflict with culture. (p.139-140)

Joe compares the Bemba view of truth with a traditional Modern view of truth, but does not compare it to Postmodernism.  Pure Postmodernism does not recognize absolute truth and emphasizes the views of the individual.  Truth is determined by the individual and may be based on individual views of reality, beliefs, perspectives etc.  This contrasts the Bemba view of truth, where it is determined by the community. 

 Knowing that our view of truth, be it Modern, Postmodern or Bemba is deeply impacted by our cultures and is flawed, we need to seek out a biblical view of truth.  I don’t see this issue addressed inYu’s paper.  A biblical understanding would need to not only consider the relevant texts, but also take into consideration how the biblical authors understood truth in their cultural contexts. 


17.08.2010
PhContributeBy
Répondre Signaler 1 J'aime Je n'aime pas Carver_Yu (9)   
Chine
@ RyanHannah:

Brother Ryan,


Sorry for this belated reponse. I have been overwhelmed by administrative chores as President of a theological school.


I appreciate your comments very much. The reason why I choose to deal with pluralism framed in Western mode is the fact of the impact of globalization of market capitalism as well as liberal humanism. I certainly do not know how serious is the impact in Africa, it is certainly very serious in Asia, particularly in Hong Kong and China.


I also agree with you that the Biblical Truth ought to be tabled. I will touch on that as I reshape the paper. On the other hand, this part will be dealt with by another speaker in the same session.


All the best,


Carver 


12.09.2010
PhContributeBy
Répondre Signaler 0 J'aime Je n'aime pas ines_franklin (0)
États-Unis
@ RyanHannah:

Ryan,


I appreciate your perspective on truth. Do we determine truth by our individual perspectives, by the judgment of the community or by the words of the Bible?  Unfortunately, that is a question that even Christians struggle with.  Indeed, Christians would respond to this claim by stating, perhaps even arguing, that they stand on the truth of the Bible.  But when there is disagreement on the interpretation of a passage, a word or a message, Christians either rely on a community, an individual or themselves to determine truth.  


In my conversations with those who argue for a pluralistic truth, I find that they view Christians as pluralistic even though we all expound the same Book.  They point to the 33,000 denominations as proof that there must be many different roads to "truth."  


I pray that this is what Lausanne III can accomplish.  To unite the churches into a solid interpretation of what is truth while celebrating the variety of expressions. 


Even pluralists are seeking to know, understand and define "truth".  It is very much part what it means to be human, because we bear the image of our creator, the Truth.


Ines


23.09.2010
PhContributeBy
Répondre Signaler 0 J'aime Je n'aime pas Albert_S (1)  
Nigéria

Thanks for this article.  I find it most helpful in emphasizing that beliefs/ideas have consequences.  Surely this must also be a point - if not the point - of engagement with friends and neighbors who are committed to pluralism.

I do wonder about the "why" question: Why this progression from plurality to pluralism?  One reason may be related to the shrinking of the globe; we’re no longer restricted to just reading or hearing about other faiths, but we actually interact with people of other faiths - often on a daily basis.  And we have a hard time reconciling in our own mind that these good people are missing the mark. And we’re not comfortable interacting about things so personal.  So we drift toward uncritical acceptance, finally pluralism.

Following the thread of belief-consequence is a powerful personal challenge to examine the consistency of our own lives; it is also a graceful apologetic when done with humility.


23.09.2010
PhContributeBy
Répondre Signaler 0 J'aime Je n'aime pas Volker_Roggenkamp (2)  
Allemagne
@ Albert_S:

Thank you Albert,


I think the "why" question is very important.


Two reflections about it:


a) Your thesis that part of the reason is the day to day encounter with poeple from other faiths is convincing. It is easy to be a non pluralist if in your mind of people of other faiths is a picture of people who are hateful or less educated oder don´t care for their families or do not get along in their lifes or are morally very bad and so on. But in our days you meet them and you see: nothings of this needs to be true. There are people of other faiths or nor religion at all and they are friendly, have families which workr, are succesful, nice, healthy and so on. Of course, this is not true for every person of other faiths, but for some.


And than you have to say: there is nothing wrong with them, or at least nothing more than with anyone else in this world- except they do not follow Jesus.


And this brings us to a serious question: What is the reason why we follow Jesus or why we think others should follow him ?


Is it because of anything next to Jesus himself (succes, humanity, moral and ethics, getting along with your life, human reason...) and you prefer Jesus because you think he is the helper to achieve that goal ?


Than you cannot avoid pluralism, because you cannot show in a way that cannot be disputed that he is the only or the best helper to reach those goals. Then these goals are your god and you must accept any path that might lead to them.


Or do we follow Jesus not because he helps us with other (higher) goals, but because he is the goal. Jesus is the reason for following Jesus. Because he is who he is, the Christ , son of god and there is no reason next to him whhich justifies following him.


Only this second option is the one true to biblical faith, but this option is not too easy to sell on the marketplace of worldviews.


b) Another answer to the "why" question may be one of feelings. I recently talked with an atheist pluralist and in the discussion he admitted that his position is self-contradictory and philosophically weak. But he still prefers his position (beeing a postmodern thinker) because somehow he feels that  that the pluralist option is the only one which helps against dictatorship. His fear was, that the christian option could bring a new kind of dictatorship and intolerance. We have to be very careful with this fear. Without being careful with that fear we might win the philosophical debates and still loose the heart of those people.


To answer that fear I guess we have to stress that we do not expect any obedience to the gospel other than through free agreement in a society of religious freedom. We as christians should not hope that anyone should believe in Christ because the state law or some authority tells him to do that. That won´t help. We only have the authority of saying "please" (2. Cor 5,20). And even if people don´t accept our view at ill we are still under the commandment of loving our enimies. These aspects of our faith might help to win credibility to pluralists. 


 


Yours in Chris 


Volker


23.09.2010
PhContributeBy
Répondre Signaler 0 J'aime Je n'aime pas Albert_S (1)  
Nigéria
@ Volker_Roggenkamp:

I appreciate your interaction and insights Volker.  Yes, there are limits to following beliefs to their logical consequences if the goal is ultimately pursuasion; namely, that someone may temper or abandon logic in favor of feelings; or someone may choose to pursue an assumed higher good (eg - tolerance).  We need the humility to say "please consider" and not the triumph of "See? Gotcha!"


23.09.2010
PhContributeBy
Répondre Signaler 0 J'aime Je n'aime pas Mojoe (7)
États-Unis

Fantastic synopsis of the issue.  I posted a little more indepth on Cody Lorance’s response to your own, but I wanted to mention something slightly different here.

I have found that unless purposely developing strategies in oposition to a moralistic view, there are some consistancies.  I have found through studying various religions and mind sets, that the vast majority have a window of who God is and what He would have use do, much like looking through a straw.  Christianity has a view of front row, stage center.  If we could draw on the consistancies and formulate agreement with commone themes, then it could offer a window for illumination about other areas.  This could be a challenge considering that there is such division within Christianity that it fuels the pluralistic/atheistic stance.

Dr. Ravi Zacharias’ example is a fantastic example and were the student not as dogmatic in his views of division, then there would be buy in on the one topic.  That one topic, with much care and finesse, could be expounded upon to eluminate the truth.  The highly dogmatic pluralists/atheists develop their arguements in oposition to specific issues and could/should be allowed to develop their theories into superabsurdity.  God has placed the witness of Himself in all men and men want to believe.  In light of highly publicised apparent contradictions or at best lack of uniformity within Christianity, doubt is created and fortified.  Find unity first within Christianity between denominations and then within other faiths and pluralism falls.  Show the expanse of truth in Christianity and Christianity grows.

This was very impronptu so I hope that my thoughts are coherent enough to follow.   I’m humbled by the audience.


23.09.2010
PhContributeBy
Répondre Signaler 0 J'aime Je n'aime pas Walter_McAlister (0)  
Brésil

Militant pluralism is indeed a growing, albeit a presently formidable challenge to proclamation. It appears that more than ever we must challenge our youth to lay hold of the truth of truth, as well as be able to defend its very existence. Authors of the reach of JP Moreland have defended this very issue brilliantly and could well benefit those who deal with such issues. 

There are, of course, numerous levels of challenge to this single concept of truth as even plausible. In our country, it is not one that has been formed with the resilience found in countries that have a more "educated" population. At any rate, it seems that one must train leaders to respond accordingly, i.e., to respond at whatever level the challenge is presented.


22.09.2010
PhContributeBy
Répondre Signaler 0 J'aime Je n'aime pas Giacomo_Carlo_Di_Gae (0)  
Italie

Dear Carver,

I would like to express my personal consent to your presentation of significance of the truth in our plural context. I like much the phrase (as a kind of motto): "Truth matters, for it has life consequences". I believe that the part more strong and founded of your paper is the illustration of the consequences for truth absence at a personal level. The freedom to affirm the items prducted by proper will is considered in our western counties as a moment that should protected (a sort of natural right), without consider if one is reclaming the liberty to have something to eat or the freedom to organizes its sexual preference and life style.

I would like express you some pesonal perplexity on the relationship between trascendent truth and social implications. It seems as you present this implications to be sure and certain. Wherever the trascendent truth is socially diffused there we will register the presence of a kind of  social and public light. And it seems to me that you believe that thhese consequences are sure not only on a De Jure plan (as we could think is the plan of biblical revelation; without consider the sin implications and the already-and-not-yet-logic). Surely in this comprehension of the relationship between trascendent truth and social plane play a role the context of communist countries as China.

I think that this is not so transparent in West. As you know the two World War was experienced in Europe in a moment of strong and confident christianization of Europe; the racial prejudice in USA lived when there was a strong influence (?) of Bible on society, and we could continue with historical exempla.

What I would like to imply with this notation? I think that the affirmation of Truth on a personal level not ever means or is a prelude for the diffusion of social positive effects. This remind us that Truth should be affirmed not as a means in view of a social transformation (naturally the Gospel is able and has the power of the Holy Spirit to operate similar transformations), as we assign to the Gospel second aims. There will be opposition, a strong opposition and also a distortion effects. But also for these reasons ... Truth Matters


20.09.2010
PhContributeBy
Répondre Signaler 0 J'aime Je n'aime pas Moses_Alagbe (2)  
Pays-Bas

Thanks Carver

Your article reminds me of Jeremiah 2:13 when God spoke to the nation of Israel through prophet Jeremiah that they have forsaken him, the fountain of living water and have hewn for themselves cisterns- broken cisterns that can hold no water.This is similar to the our 21st world.

The Truth of Christ will stand forever, many other so call truth have come and gone and they will continue to come and go. The pluralistic view of truth is really absurd. If the statement ’ truth is relative ’ is critically considered, it will bring to light the foolishness of the proclaimers, because this statement itself is then relative and cannot be absolute.


20.09.2010
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