The Humanism of Evangelistic Apologetics: Part 13.13

Review and Critique:

"Christian Apologetics: The Evangelistic Wave of the Future?"
Dr. Richard D. Land

[Key: direct quotes from author.]

By apologetics standards, this is a really short article. So, let’s find out how Dr. Land answers his own provocative question.

The author leaves little doubt regarding how he views the field of modern, evangelistic apologetics:

“In becoming president of a seminary that specializes and focuses on apologetics, I am just moving from front-line combat to a training command, helping to prepare the next generation of green berets and paratroopers for the Lord's army. I fervently believe apologetics is the way we will spell Christian evangelism, missions, and discipleship in the 21st century.

Dr. Elmer Towns, Dean Emeritus of Liberty Baptist Seminary, recently sent me an email that stated, "The next great trend in the evangelical church is 'apologetic evangelism', those who can go and give a defense of the faith while they present the Gospel. That means you are on the cutting edge of the next trend in Christianity."”

Wow—this sounds a lot like the pilot for the something that will appear on reality television … or perhaps a new product that will “take the world by storm”.

Dr. Land: really!?!? You actually think that the gospel, the Word of the Lord Christ, needs an upgrade to Gospel Version 2.0!?!?

Who gave you the authority to implicitly declare that the gospel given by the Lord Christ to His disciples is essentially obsolete and needs its “cutting edge” restored!?!?

In spite of the fact that I’ve invested many months for a thorough, biblical review, critique and calling out of the modern evangelistic apologists, the shear hubris of the author’s statements still amazes me! I’m convinced that apologists like Dr. Land have no true fear of the Lord or His Word. I also think that it is likely that their attempts at a Gospel witness have been less than stellar, so, they decide to change the message because—after all—they themselves can't be responsible for their failures.

It must have been that old fashioned, out-of-date gospel.

The last time I checked, these verses were still in the Bible (and I haven’t heard that the Lord amended them):

Eph 6.17
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Heb 4.12
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Is your new “cutting edge” approach “able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart”? I’m convinced that if you were to go into a real battle for souls with your new “cutting edge” approach that it is you who would be cut to ribbons and left to die.

Also, so that I don’t miss the obvious: I thought seminaries were supposed to teach the Bible in depth, not some extra-biblical data which enables students to appear more educated and intellectual but who actually are useless in the proclamation of the gospel. (It should be obvious that if you try to supplant the old, reliable, Holy Spirit-inspired gospel of grace, you have nothing—except the presentation of “another gospel”!)

But, Dr. Land’s self-serving gushing is not yet complete:

“So what is apologetics? SES's cofounder, the incomparable Norm Geisler, has defined apologetics as "simply to defend the faith, and thereby destroy arguments and every proud obstacle against the knowledge of God (2 Cor. 10:5). It is opening the door, clearing the rubble, and getting rid of the hurdles so that people can come to Christ."”

My response to this drivel has two parts:


Part 1:
So who is Norman Geisler? Is he the Holy Spirit-inspired author of some as yet hidden epistle of the NT, someone whose words bear intrinsic authority?

Does he (or you, for that matter) possess a divinely-appointed authority to make proclamations that are fundamentally incompatible with and contradictory to Scripture? Will he stand with me before the Judgment Seat of Christ and say “It’s OK, Lord. He did what I instructed him to do in the manner of the proclamation of the gospel because, after all, what You gave us two millennia ago has become outmoded to our modern culture and was in need of an update.”

You both are laboring under a destructive and hellish delusion.

And as to my charge of “fundamentally incompatible with, and contradictory to, Scripture”, I present …


Part 2 (I’m quoting from myself here):

[Have you never read that the lost is spiritually dead?

Eph 2.1,5
And you [lit., being] dead in your trespasses and sins, … even when we [lit., being] dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

Col 2.13
When you [lit., being] dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions,

Have you never read that the lost is spiritually unable to understand any and all spiritual truth?

1 Cor 2.14
But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.

Have you never read that the lost is completely corrupt?

Rom 3.10-18
as it is written,

“There is none righteous, not even one;
There is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God;
All have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one.
Their throat is an open grave, with their tongues they keep deceiving, the poison of asps is under their lips;
Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness;
Their feet are swift to shed blood,
Destruction and misery are in their paths,
And the path of peace they have not known.
There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Have you never read that the lost is actively opposed to God and actively suppresses His truth, in spite of the spectacular evidence of the glory of His creation?

Rom 1.18-20
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

Therefore, please tell me, exactly, how this

“It is opening the door, clearing the rubble, and getting rid of the hurdles so that people can come to Christ.”

could even begin to take place when the subject of this work—the lost—is clearly, completely spiritually dead? You, and essentially every other evangelistic apologist whose work I’ve studied, continue to maintain—contrary to clear Bible teaching—that the main issue with the lost is their intellect.

My Bible tells me it is their dead spirit.

And, if you had actually bothered to check the context of 2 Cor 10, you’d have learned that the Apostle was referring to the false teachers and apostles who had infested Corinth. [You should have recognized this, since it is exactly what you are doing now within the Christian community with your facade of a “next generation [army]”.]

You, like the author to whom I addressed the quote above, infect the Christian church with your distortions of Scripture, imitate the ones to whom the Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Cor 10. You, like every other apologist I’ve reviewed assume that 2 Cor 10.3-5 is your “marching orders” (to continue your military analogy) to the lost when it says nothing of the sort!

The author then presents another quote from yet another man: who is William Lane Craig? Will he stand with me at the judgment?

“William Lane Craig, one of America's foremost apologists, defined apologetics as "that branch of Christian theology that seeks to provide rational warrant for Christianity's truth claims. It contains offensive and defensive elements, on the one hand presenting positive arguments for Christian truth claims and on the other refuting objections brought again Christianity's truth claims."

So, let’s make sure that I understand the value of this veritable gem of wisdom from someone whose writing also was not inspired by the Holy Spirit:

I am instructed to apply a methodology that essentially stands above the Bible that—somehow—positively proves the truth of Christianity and simultaneously refutes those who claim that the Bible is not true. I suppose these are not sufficient:

Isa 40.5-8
Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
A voice says, “Call out.” Then he answered, “What shall I call out?” All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it; surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.

Mat 5.18
For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

Mat 24.35
Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.

Dr. Land: the last time I checked, both heaven and earth were still intact. I therefore reject your foolish claims and maintain that the “word of out God stands forever”.

Then, as if on cue, the canonical text is trotted out:

“Simply put, apologetics means loving people enough to give them reasonable and compelling answers to their honest questions. When Christians do this, they are fulfilling the Apostle Peter's admonition to "be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you" (1 Pet. 3:15).”

As I clearly demonstrate here, you have ignored the context of why Peter gave this admonition.

[Summary: It is the reaction of those who persecuted Christians. The persecutors were perplexed by the Christians’ reaction of submission and humility, and had to ask them “Why…?”. It is not carte blanc to argue for “Christianity’s truth claims”.]

Finally, lacking any real, in-context Bible support, the author turns to yet another man (one who is mentioned occasionally in articles like these), C. S. Lewis.

In my initial review of this article, as I was doing my research for this series, I made this summary comment:

“This is a completely useless article which says nothing of the dependence of the Christian upon the Spirit and Word of God. Instead, there is the inference that a Christian might be more effective to emulate C. S. Lewis when evangelizing. “

I stand by that initial analysis.

So, did Dr. Land answer his own provocative question ("... the wave of the future?")?

No! It was a massive and epic fail, a demonstration that the evangelistic apologist thinks very highly of himself while showing complete contempt for the real gospel of grace. If this is a valid indication of the depth and scope of true Bible doctrine at that "seminary", then higher Bible education there is doomed.

But, of course, to make up for the complete lack of biblical support for his new model, Dr. Land gives us three men as the basis for his authority: Norm Geisler, William Lane Craig and C. S. Lewis. 

I’m sure that they’ll carry The Day. After all, they're well known apologists! I'm sure the Lord won't contradict them or their humanistic refuse!