About Mark McIntyre

Mark has been blogging at Attempts at Honesty since early in 2011 primarily writing to challenge and encourage the church to be all that she should be. He can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.

Leaders – How well are you getting people grounded in the faith?

GroundedIt should come as no surprise to anyone who is at all paying attention to the culture around us that we can no longer assume that the people we interact with subscribe to a Judeo/Christian worldview. In fact, an increasing percentage of the populace is hostile to such a view.

This begs the question of church leaders, “what are you doing to get your people grounded in the Christian faith?”

I believe that good preaching does part of the job, but assuming that the average sermon is 30 minutes and the average parishioner attends 50 service per year (I like easy math), that is 25 hours per year of instruction that may or may not address the issues that the parishioner struggles with.

Highly motivated people will find web sites, podcasts or other materials that will address the questions and concerns they have. They may even take classes or pursue a degree to become better trained to understand what they believe and why they believe it. But what about the ones that are not so self motivated or who don’t know where to turn? [Read more…]

Love and apologetics

A few days ago I retweeted this:

For my friends who are involved in Christian apologetics, I would rephrase this to say that “if your apologetic doesn’t make you love people more, it’s wrong.”

Gagged ManThere are two reasons that I say this. The first reason is that love of neighbor is the second great command (Matt. 22:39) and our defense of the faith must be done in a way that fulfills this command.

The second reason can be found in the familiar verse, 1 Peter 3:15. At the end of that verse, Peter encourages us to give our defense with gentleness and respect. The word translated respect is phobos, which has the literal meaning of fear. Perhaps the idea is that we should have some fear of giving an offense. In other words, the message might be offensive, but he messenger should never be.

Most of the apologists I know (and read) seek to do their apologetics in a loving way, being courteous with those who disagree . There are a few who are rather brash and belittle the arguments of those who they oppose.

But all of us, through impatience or pride, sometimes fall short of the command to love the one with whom we disagree. If love of God and love of neighbor is not our motivation for engaging in the discussion, then we are better off remaining silent.

This post originally appeared on Attempts at Honesty Christian Blog

Dealing with Apparent Failure in Apologetics

It is my guess that just about everyone who is interested in Christian apologetics is aware of 1 Peter 3:15 in which Peter encourages believers to be ready to make a defense (apology) to everyone who asks about our hope. Yet, when we make that defense, not everyone responds to the claims of the Gospel.

Admittedly, sometimes the lack of response is because of a poor presentation on our part. When this is the case, it should spur us on to further prayer, study, and reflection so that we are better prepared the next time.

But, there are other times when the lack of response is not due to inadequate answers or a defective presentation. How then should we respond? [Read more…]

Standing in the Light – Four Considerations for Defending the Faith

interview-peter-kreeftWhile driving, I had a chance to listen to an Apologetics 315 podcast featuring an interview with Peter Kreeft. If you have not subscribed to the Apologetics 315 podcasts, I strongly suggest that you do so if you have any interest in Christian apologetics. Brian Auten does an outstanding job of interviewing apologists in a way that is informative yet avoids technical jargon.

In this particular episode, Peter said something which struck me. He was answering a question about what to do when interacting with someone who is asking questions intended to put off the apologist. In other words, what do you do when someone really isn’t interested in considering the claims of Jesus Christ. [Read more…]

At the core of doubt

DoubtIn the story of Peter walking on the water, Matthew records Jesus’ response when Peter became frightened and started to sink. Jesus said, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31)

This phrase has often been interpreted as a rebuke of all doubt. The understanding is that Jesus is telling Peter that it was wrong to doubt, the inference being that all doubt is wrong. When this passage is preached in this way, the implication is that we should have complete control over our thought process and that all doubt can and should be removed from our minds. I have heard some preachers say that all doubt is sin.

[Read more…]