The Humanism of Evangelistic Apologetics: Part 13.4

Review and Critique:

"An Illustration of What Apologetics Really Is"
Matt Slick

[Key: direct quotes from author.]

Mr. Slick opens:

“Apologetics is somewhat of a lonely endeavor. It is possible for a person to give a great deal of effort to apologetic work, to defending God’s word, to answering questions, to reasoning with people and have it all seem as though it was worthless. Discouragement is a reality to the apologist. There are certainly victories, by God’s grace; but there are many encounters that could simply be classified as "unprofitable."”

The type of evangelistic apologetics espoused by CARM was also taught at the Bible college I attended in the early 70’s. So, during and after that attending that college and wanting to be a faithful witness, I attempted frequently to use this newfound “apologetic” knowledge in my witness to the lost.

In a word, it was a disaster.

I learned, all too slowly, I confess, that I was not really sharing the gospel with the lost. No, I was giving them information about the Bible, something that was absolutely useless to the goal of leading them to the Lord Christ.

Make no mistake, sharing

“… such subjects as biblical manuscript transmission, philosophy, biology, mathematics, evolution, and logic.”

is not sharing the gospel!

So, I have a very different take on Mr. Slick’s opening observation:

Mr. Slick, the seemingly “worthless” feeling and “discouragement” you experienced are justified because your words, logic, rationale and methodology actually were useless. Your words given to the lost in place of the only gospel that the Lord promises to use to save them should have made you feel “worthless”; you certainly were not accomplishing anything substantial or real for their lost souls.

Perhaps it was a salve for your wounded conscience, the result of tacitly trying to avoid the topic of repentance.

You then offer a less-than-helpful illustration of a garden, a single door (Jesus) to that garden, and a number of impediments in the path that leads to the door, along with a number of false paths that don’t lead to the door. You then make a comment that is very common among evangelistic apologists:

“The apologist resides in the field and points people to the true path, so they can find the Garden. The apologist seeks to remove the intellectual thorns and emotional rocks that prevent people from finding the true path to God. … The apologist gently guides the person, removes the obstacles, and points in the direction of the Garden.”


Do you possess some form of spiritual power that imparts spiritual life and opens the spirit and mind of the lost to spiritual understanding? What about the truth of the spiritual deadness of the lost (Eph 2.1,5; Col 2.13 ), and the utter and complete absence of even the ability of the lost to understand anything spiritual? (1 Cor 2.14)

Since when did you take over the responsibilities of God’s own Holy Spirit!?!? Did the Lord transfer His authority to you?

You then “add insult to injury” by glibly stating:

“When people arrive there, it is between them and God as to whether or not they enter.”

You need to read my previous articles on the spiritual nature of the lost, the election of grace, the work of the Holy Spirit in salvation, and the proper preaching of the gospel. They present a thoroughly biblical view of these topics in stark contrast to your humanistic and anti-biblical drivel.

Your summary words are also as hollow as they are useless:

“It isn’t your job to save anyone. It is your job to point the way. You aren’t the only one in the field. Getting them to the Garden is not your job. They get there. You simply help them.”

Where is the dependence on the word of the gospel, the only means of directing sinners to the door Jesus? As I’ve noted before, when I do a google site search: repent

I could find no hits within your articles on apologetics. So, exactly, how to you really propose to “point the way”? With your humanistic intellect? With your clever reasoning, presentation or methodology? You might want to think about wearing very tough gloves to protect yourself when you remove those "thorns" and "rocks" lest you be pierced through.

And while you’re at it—for the sake of any future attempts at meaningful illustrations—you should spend some time with John Bunyan and his remarkable Pilgrim’s Progress. Bunyan knew something of biblical illustrations! Your illustrations would have to improve to be vapid.

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