Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Since my last commentary was critical of Richard Mouw, Craig Hazen, Greg Johnson and others like them who advocate a cultural approach to Apologetics, I thought I would post a response by Frank Beckwith, who is writing in defense of these men. Gina Pastore's answer follows Frank's comments. I will post my thoughts a little later today.

Please, no comments on Catholicism here. We are all well aware of the fact that Frank is now part of the Catholic Church, and that particular discussion belongs on the WM Discussion Board.

Frank Beckwith: This sort of anecdotal evidence has no bearing on the question of whether Hazen, et al are doing the right thing. After all, what if somebody were to reject your criticism on the grounds that it seems to rely on anecdotal evidence, and that is not a good way to conduct a serious inquiry on such an important subject? You would, rightfully, say that that your case is a matter of principle and not of consequences, and that the citation of such evidence should not be confused with your principled objection to the tactics you find flawed. In that case, the anecdotal evidence is irrelevant, which raises the question as to why one should bring it up at all?Consider this: imagine if Mrs. Pastore had the exact experience, but it was with LDS missionaries who said that they would never consider the traditional Christian message because of abrasive talk show hosts like Frank Pastore who lack an artful and winsome manner? You would, rightfully, say that that is a poor reason not to consider the Christian gospel.


Gina Pastore: Frank... You're not concerned for the Gospel? Sounds like you'd rather defend Hazen than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What's that about?



Francis J. Beckwith said...

My comments concerned whether one can move from an encounter with two missionaries to a definitive judgment about a particular way to approach Mormons, which is you did your entry.

Gina, your judgment about the wisdom of these methods may very well be correct. But there is no warrant from your experience with these missionaries that would establish that judgment. In fact, when people rely on such paltry evidence on other matters we dismiss those judgments, and rightfully so. For example, suppose one were to make a judgment about the overall quality of Frank Pastore's intellect from his wildly pitched comparison between the Emergent Church and Al-Qaeda. That would be a hasty judgment, to be sure, one that would be an unfair assessment of a man with many fine qualities.

So, Gina, let me encourage to re-read my comments carefully. They are not meant to be a defense of anyone. They are meant to be a correction of sub-par reasoning that does not set a good public example for other Christians.

9:40 PM  
JohnD said...

The very purpose of apologetics is to determine fact from non fact. Resorting to ANY other approach (ANY other approach) is only an attempt to obscure what is fact and what is non fact.

10:14 AM  

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