Just to alert you to the fact that i’ve included some other reading lists (hopefully these are a little more useful) on the Writing & Speaking page. And then i’ve come across a new addition for the P.E.D.A.N.T.S. page on Youtube – there’s a link to a song whichwill provoke, humour and annoy – can you spot the alarm bells for members of PEDANTS?

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Pete Bowman

    I think the mocking YouTube video just highlights the fact that Christian thinking and pagan thinking operate in different spaces. It’s a graphic demonstration of the so-called “wise” thinking that the apostle Paul speaks of in 1 Corinthians 1:18-.

    If “by faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command” (Heb 11:3) then science for Christians and non-Christians operates in entirely different spheres – there is no common ground for discussion. The two will never be in agreement, because understanding our origins is a spiritual discipline. Our fundamental axiom is “let God be true, and every man a liar”.

    It seems to me that a lot of Christian thinking on origins, and in fact reality in general, is dangerously close to the so-called “wise” thinking of 1 Corinthians 1. Surely it’s better to be considered foolish by worldly standards than to be “wise” yet declared foolish by God?

    Paul’s way of dealing with this is enlightening: “I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.”

    Doesn’t Paul have a long list of detailed rebuttals against his equivalents of Richard Dawkins and co? No! He just preaches Christ and him crucified. His words aren’t even persuasive – he’s weak and trembling. So why are there so many Christians today willing to engage in fruitless debates, when what is needed is a clear proclamation of the gospel? It is the gospel that is the power of God for salvation.

  2. markmeynell

    I completely see what you are saying – but i don’t think it is perhaps quite as simple as this. Yes, Paul refused to play the same sophistic games as the Greeks of Corinth, but he did engage in serious debate on the Areopagus (Acts 17). Notice the word ‘reasoned’ (Acts 17:2, 17; 18:4, 18:19) – of course i don’t think this means that anyone can reason one’s way through to someone putting their trust – but i do think there is a place for showing the reasonableness of the faith, which is a different thing. Paul reasoned with them, trying to persuade them – for the gospel is persuasive precisely because it is true; and everything that is true is true because God made it true. Therefore we should have nothing to fear from the pursuit of truth nor from the proclamation of truth. Far from being fruitless (while fully acknowledging that sometimes they CAN be), it may well be an act of love and respect to one’s hearers that we actually engage and dialogue with what they are saying, trusting that God can and will use our arguments when he sees fit.

    This i think is the point that James Sire is seeking to make in his book When Good Arguments Often Fail, referred to elsewhere on this blog. His theme is that we have a serious responsibility to be as rigourous as we can in our arguments, while of course leaving God to do the hard part!

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