Friday, August 31, 2012

The "Religion of Peace" Naked At Last?

Best selling author Tom Holland has written a book about the early history of Islam. Barnaby Rogerson, writing for the Independent, nicely summarizes the gist of what Holland is up to:
This is a history of the history as it were, telling how the warrior-dominated Empires of Antiquity were transformed into the first monotheistic states; how the old inclusive conquest states, with their comparatively simple desire for submission and tribute were replaced by states which imposed systems of total belief and demanded exclusive loyalty.

(link to full review dated March 30)
Rogerson begins his review by saying "This is a book of extraordinary richness. I found myself amused, diverted and enchanted by turn," and ends it with "Even with these slight flaws In the Shadow of the Sword remains a spell-bindingly brilliant multiple portrait of the triumph of monotheism in the ancient world." So it appears that he rather liked it.

Anthony Sattin, writing for the Guardian, was also very positive about Holland's book, which he characterized as "brilliantly provocative".

Here is the concluding paragraph of Sattin's review:
The Qur'an anticipated the day of Holland's coming (or someone very like him). Sura 25 instructs Muslims to counter the claim that "these are fables of the ancients which he has got someone to write down for him" with the insistence that it was "revealed by Him Who knows every secret". For believers, these words are proof enough of the veracity of the Qur'an. Some have gone further and used them as justification for intellectual, legal and physical attacks on people who claim otherwise. The lives of some people who have dared to question the historicity of the prophet Muhammad and the Qur'an have been ruined, even ended. We must hope that Holland is spared their wrath and that his excellent book will be lauded, as it should be, for doing what the best sort of books can do – examining holy cows.

(link to full review, dated April 5)
Ziauddin Sardar, writing for the New Statesman, spews forth a predictable apolgetic hit-job in his "review" of Holland's book. Sardar frames his attack in terms of what Holland is "ostensibly ... concerned with", as opposed to what Holland's "real aim" is. Further, Sardar attacks Holland's sources, Holland's colleages, anyone who agrees with Holland, and the horse he rode in on. In all, it is exactly the kind of obscurantist tripe that one expects from a Left-Islamic cultural warrior like Sardar. Here is a link to Sardar's full review, dated April 25.

Not wanting to be outdone in the political-correctness department by the good Fabians over at the New Statesman, the Guardian decided to publish another review. This time it was the turn of G.W. Bowersock, one of the world's premier historians of late antiquity, who wrote sneeringly that:
Holland came to his work on Islam unencumbered by any prior acquaintance with its fundamental texts or the scholarly literature. He modestly compares himself to Edward Gibbon, whom he can call without the slightest fear of contradiction 'an infinitely greater historian than myself'.

(link to full review dated May 4)
Bowersock ends his review by openly questioning Holland's motives and personal character. This kind of unhinged attack is nothing new for Bowersock, as those familiar with his obsessive hatred for the Emperor Julian are already aware. While generally a staid and reliable scholar, Bowersock reacts to certain subjects the way Rigby Reardon (in Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid) reacts to any mention of "the cleaning woman".

Fortunately, Tom Holland was given the opportunity to respond to Bowersock's screed. This excerpt gives a taste of Holland's highly effective and dignified rejoinder:
If I did not cite a manuscript in the Bibliothèque Nationale dated by the French scholar François Déroche to the third quarter of the seventh century, it was not – as Bowersock charges – because I had "missed" it, but because the dating of early Qur'an manuscripts is notoriously a work in progress. Déroche himself, for instance, originally placed the origins of the Bibliothèque Nationale manuscript in the early eighth century – and there are other scholars who still do. Nor, unfortunately, does carbon dating offer any greater certainty. At a conference in 2010, the same Christian Robin cited by Bowersock in his review revealed that a preliminary carbon dating of some pages from one of the Sana'a palimpsests had given dates in the late 500s – a most awkward misfire. I hope, then, that it will be understandable why, in a book aimed at a general readership, I opted not to venture into such a quagmire.

(link to full response, dated May 7)

David Frum very much liked Holland's book. Frum is an interesting guy who went from being a celebrated right-wing pundit to, well, the kind of guy who resigns/gets fired from the American Enterprise Institute because he was sick and tired of the Republican obstructionism in Washington, especially with respect to President Obama's Affordable Care Act. This is important to note because it means that Frum is definitely not a knee-jerk reactionary who simply spouts well-rehearsed xenophobic talking points any time the subject of Islam is mentioned.

The beginning of Frum's review (written for the Daily Beast) is worth quoting at length:
"Over the past century, modern scholarship has pretty thoroughly debunked the standard story of the birth of Islam.

The Quran was assembled over a century or more, not revealed in one go.

The religion we call Islam coalesced after the Arab Conquest of what is now Syria and Iraq, not before.

We have no reliable biographical details at all of the life of the prophet now known as Muhammad, but if he existed at all, he was likely a native of someplace in what is now Jordan, not the Hijaz, much less Mecca.

I could go on, but you get the idea.

Until now, however, if you wanted more than just an "idea," you faced a challenging time. The revisionist scholars of Islam wrote in a style that was at best highly technical and at worst deliberately obscure. Unlike the gleeful debunkers of the self-told histories of Christianity and Judaism, revisionists such as John Wansborough and Patricia Crone have taken enormous pains to tread delicately.

The scrupulosity of these scholars however has left the largest part of the reading public to popularizers like Karen Armstrong, who continue to spread long-exploded versions of Islamic history as if the explosions had never been detonated. Those unwilling to struggle through academic texts have long needed a guide to the story of Islam as it's understood by those with the fullest access to the latest linguistic and archaeological evidence. Now at last in Tom Holland's In the Shadow of the Sword, they finally have it."

(link to full review, dated June 4)

Other reviews:

Finally, Tom Holland's own website has a collection of blurbs from various reviews, some of which are not included in this post.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Defining Paganism: "Where your treasure is, there is your heart also."

In the year 375 AD, during Lent, Eusebius Hieronymus Sophronius (c. 347-420), known to us simply as Jerome, had a dream. In the dream an angel asked Jerome what his religion was, and Jerome replied that he was a Christian. But the angel informed Jerome bluntly that because of his excessive love for classical literature he was not a Christian, for "where your treasure is, there is your heart also" (a quote from the Gospel of Matthew). Since Jerome treasured his beloved Cicero, Vergil, Ovid, etc., above the Christian scriptures, his heart was Pagan, not Christian.

Having judged him to be a non-Christian, the angel ordered his minions to begin viciously lashing Jerome with whips. As Jerome begged for mercy and cried out in agony, a crowd of onlookers gathered, and they pleaded on Jerome's behalf. The crowd negotiated with the angel, proposing that Jerome should be given a second chance, and following that if he "ever again read the works of the Gentiles" then the angel could punish Jerome with "extreme torture" (cruciatus) to his heart's content, and they would offer no further objections.

Finally the angel relented and called off his henchmen, and Jerome swore an oath saying: "Lord, if ever again I possess worldly books, or if ever again I read such, I have denied You." (Quotes are from a letter written by Jerome nearly a decade later: source1, source2.)

In Jerome's account of his dream, quoted in translation above, he uses the Latin adjective Gentilis to refer to the Pagan writings of Cicero, etc. As a matter of fact, there is no record of Jerome ever using the term Paganus. So what exactly did the angel accuse Jerome of being, if not a Pagan? A Gentile, perhaps? No. Amazingly, the angel responded to Jerome's initial claim to be a Christian with "You lie. You are a Ciceronian, not a Christian"! ("Mentiris. Ciceronianus es, non Christianus.")

Two centuries before Jerome and his dream, however, Tertullian (c. 160-c. 225, aka: "The Father of Western Theology") had made extensive use of the term Paganus to refer to non-Christians. Scholars tend to agree that Tertullian provides the first written evidence of Christians using Paganus to refer to non-Christians. Scholars also agree that Tertullian was not using Paganus in the sense of "rustic", but in its sense as "civilian" to distinguish those who were not "soldiers of Christ" (miles Christi) from those who were.

According to James J. O'Donnell, in his invaluable paper titled simply Paganus, there is a century (plus) long period of "silence" following Tertullian, during which the term Paganus does not appear in the surviving writings of Christian authors as an epithet for non-Christians. During this time Christians instead employed the terms "nationes, gentes, gentiles, ethnici, occasionally Graecus". After this gap, O'Donnel states that Paganus then returns to the written record by way of the pen of "Marius Victorinus, who converted to Christianity c. 355, died in 361. Victorinus uses the term frequently in scriptural commentary, equating it to Graecus." Around the same time (but slightly later), the term Paganus is also found throughout Emperor Theodosius' anti-Pagan legislation (it's first appearance in Christian Imperial Law was in 370). According to O'Donnel Augustine (354-430) and Orosius (c.375-c.420) were the ones who really solidified Paganus as a widely accepted term used by Christians to refer to non-Chistians.

It is particularly important to take note of Augustine's use of Paganus, especially in his magnum opus: De Civitate Dei contra Paganos. Who are the "Pagans" against whom Augustine was writing? Were they illiterate peasants still clinging to their folk beliefs and customs? Definitely not, for Augustine's anti-Pagan polemic was composed as a self-conscious literary tour de force, which would have little meaning to uneducated rustics, even if it were read aloud to them.

In his magisterial biography of Augustine, the scholar Peter Brown explains that in the early fifth century the remnants of Hellenic-Roman Paganism included highly educated Pagans who constituted "a wide intelligentsia, spreading throughout all the provinces of the West." And far from being just a bunch of eccentric troublemakers and social misfits, this Pagan intelligentsia was comprised of "deeply religious" men and women committed to "the preservation of a whole way of life", despite the fact that their way of life was already officially abolished and consigned to Damnatio Memoriae.

"The great Platonists of their age, Plotinus and Porphyry," Peter Brown tells us, painting a vivid picture of the mental universe of these deeply religious and just as deeply rational Pagan intellectuals of the early fifth century, "could provide them with a profoundly religious view of the world that grew naturally out of an immemorial tradition. The claims of the Christians, by contrast, lacked intellectual foundation. For such a man ... to accept the Incarnation [of Jesus] would be like a modern European denying the evolution of the species; he would have had to abandon not only the most advanced rationally based knowledge available to him, but, by implication, the whole culture permeated by such achievements." [pp. 301-302]

O'Donnel's paper, mentioned above, is highly useful not only because he documents the way in which the usage of the term Paganus evolved among early Christians, but also because of his very nice summary of the work of modern scholars who have ventured opinions on this matter. But O'Donnel's paper was written in 1977, and one of the sources he relies on most heavily is the (still extremely important) 1952 paper by Christine Morhmann (see bibliography at end of post). Fortunately, a much more recent work provides an updated snapshot of the current state of scholarly thinking on the term Paganus: Alan Cameron's The Last Pagans of Rome.

"There can be little doubt that in the absence of an existing term, paganus came to be treated as the Latin equivalent of 'hellene'," writes Cameron (on page 22). Cameron favorably cites Mohrmann (1952), and states that the "impressive number of illustrations given by her" could be even further extended. Mohrmann's gloss for "paganus" is usually rendered in English as "outsider" in the general sense of "anyone not belonging to a particular group," according to Cameron's reading of Mohrmann. Cameron further states that "the most conspicuous feature of paganus is that, in all its meaning, it takes its precise color from an antonym. Originally rural as opposed to urban, then civilians as opposed to military, and finally pagan as opposed to Christian." Despite his insistence that the "rural as opposed to urban" meaning was the "original" one, Cameron himself cites a passage from Vergil (70BC - 19AD) in which pagani are counterposed to montani, so that in this "archaic" usage, the entire population of Rome was comprised of Pagans.

In summary, the actual usage of Paganus makes it very clear who is being denoted: all those who resist the process of Christianization, be they peasant or scholar, Hellene or barbarian. This very much includes those who successfully resist, and even reverse Christianization, as modern Pagans are doing.

It might be tempting to posit Paganism as something like a "culture of resistance". But that would mean mistaking the superficial for the essential. Paganism resists Christianization for the sake of the "preservation of a whole way of life," as Peter Brown put it so nicely. This way of life is at heart religious, because of what it "treasures": the Gods. This way of life is also traditional because it participates in and perpetuates ancient lifeways that grow and evolve organically over time spans measured in centuries and millennia, and that are interwoven throughout every aspect of both society at large and the psyche within. It is only secondarily, although inescapably and inexorably, the case that to defend and preserve ancient religious traditions requires resistance to that which is the sworn and implacable enemy of all Tradition.


Christine Mohrmann

"Encore une fois: paganus," Études sur le latin des chrétiens 3.277-89; orig. pub. in Vigiliae Christianae 6(1952) 109-21.

James J. O'Donnell
Classical Folia 31(1977) 163-69

Peter Brown
Augustine of Hippo (U. Cal. Press, revised edition, 2000)

Fritz Muntean
The Meaning of 'Pagan' (online essay, 2007)

Christopher Francese
Ancient Rome In So Many Words (Hippocrene Books, 2007, see especially pp. 192-193)

Alan Cameron
The Last Pagans of Rome (Oxford, 2010)

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Republican Party Naked At Last: Part Deux

A Pictorial and Historical Outline of a Political Tragedy in Five Six Acts

Act I
1964: The Birth of the Southern Strategy

Act II
1969: The Silent Majority

1979: The Moral Majority

Act IV:
1986: The Rehnquist Court

Act V
2000: The Smirking Chimp

Act VI
2012: Naked At Last

The Republican Party Naked At Last

"Why are they dying? I have written this so many times.

They are dying because the President has opened a
Bible again.
They are dying because gold deposits have been found
among the Shoshoni Indians.

They are dying because money follows intellect!
And intellect is like a fan opening in the wind— "*

*Robert Bly, The Teeth Mother Naked At Last

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Horse Dance (PSY - "Gangnam Style")

It has recently been brought to my attention that there are still some people who have not yet been exposed to "The Horse Dance".

The video that started it all:


PSY brings The Horse Dance to Dodger Stadium!!

Nelly Furtado does The Horse Dance in Manila:

Pony Gangnam Style:

Also, the Gangnam Style entry at "know your meme" is pretty awesome:

Friday, August 10, 2012

"Are we biblically winsome and persuasive to our apologias?"

"There are, as you know, two kinds of popularity: the one, when we seek favor from motives of ambition and the desire of pleasing; the other, when, by fairness and moderation, we gain their esteem so as to make them teachable by us."
[John Calvin, in a letter to William Farel]

"Finally, live out the virtues of a good ambassador. Represent Christ in a winsome and attractive way. You -- God's own representative -- are the key to making a difference for the kingdom. Show the world that Christianity is worth thinking about."
[Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions, by Gregory Koukl and Lee Strobel, Zondervan, 2009]

When the journal Sacred Tribes was launched by John Morehead, Philip Johnson, and Jon Trott back in 1999, Philip Johnson wrote the lead article for issue 1, volume 1, under the title "Apologetics, Mission and New Religious Movements: A Holistic Approach." Johnson went on to expand that article into a book by the same title, published by Sacred Tribes Press in 2010.

Anyone who thinks of John Morehead & Co. as anything other than just another bunch of Christian missionaris with the same goal as all other Christian missionaries (the replacement one way or another of all of humanity's religions with The One True Religion) should read the Introduction to this book by his long-time missiological colleague and close collaborator (scroll down).

Before getting to Johnson's essay itself, I would like to draw the reader's attention to some of its highlights.

In the opening paragraph, Johnson essentially gives the game away. He reveals that in his mental universe there are two ways of looking at adherents of "new religious movements" (a category under which one finds everything from Latter Day Saints and Seventh Day Adventists, to western converts to Buddhism and Hinduism, to Wiccans, Satanists and Scientologists): (1) poor confused souls who are "bedeviled" into following False Doctrines through no particular fault of their own (because, you know, of The Fall), and (2) "heretics and satanic adversaries" who are the willing followers of their Lord in Hell, whom they will join once they leave this earth. Take your pick.

In the second paragraph, Johnson begins to lay out the broad outlines of his case for a shift in the "vocabulary" and "tone" that should be employed by missionaries when "dealing with cults and new religions." In the following paragraphs Johnson contrasts one group of Bible stories which depict "direct and hostile confrontations", such as Matthew 12:30 in which Jesus declares "He who is not with me is against me," with kinder, gentler Bible stories in which Jesus and Paul are portrayed as "winsome and attractive" toward those they seek to convert, such as Paul's appeal to the Hellenes of Athens found in Acts 17:16-34.

It is worth taking a closer look at the little vignette in Acts that is so often presented as an exemplary tale of Christian open-mindedness. In the first place, Paul "was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols." (Hey, Paul, this is, you know, like, Athens. The Parthenon? Ever heard of it?) Then a little later on Paul is making a nuisance of himself obnoxiously haranguing Athenian Pagan passers-by on some street corner, when "a group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to dispute with him." One thing leads to another, and eventually Paul finds himself being invited to present his case for this new foreign God of his before a large gathering of Pagans (both Athenians and out-of-towners). Paul tells them that while they might be very religious after a fashion, they do not understand what it is they worship. In the past, Paul warns them, the One True God of the Christians overlooked this "ignorant" behavior of the Pagans, but now everyone must worship only The One True God of the Christians or face eternal damnation. This is the "winsome and attractive" version!

But now it is time to let Philip Johnson speak for himself:

Apologetics, Mission and New Religious Movements:
A Holistic Approach

Sacred Tribes Press, 2010
Philip Johnson


New religious movements form part of the mosaic that makes religious pluralism quite a challenge for Christian missions in the twenty-first century. Of course mentioning missions and new religions in the same breath might raise a few eyebrows: is the apologist primarily a gate-keeper who fends off false doctrine, or can an apologist also actively seek to make disciples from the ranks of new religions? Our answer to that question will partly depend on where we place the most emphasis: (a) Do we regard adherents [of "new religious movements"] primarily as persons made in God's image bedeviled by the Fall and who have been misdirected? Or (b) Do we regard them primarily as heretics and satanic adversaries who are destined for divine wrath?

Now, some apologists might take exception to this initial gambit of mine and feel this is simply pettifogging about words. It might be felt that this is an artificial dichotomy that deliberately polarizes the issue because an apologist can both fend off false doctrine and engage in evangelism. I certainly do not intend to imply that these twin functions are mutually exclusive. However, what I am seriously inviting readers to reflect on concerns our motives, methods and messages in dealing with cults and new religions. In particular, it is about our choice of vocabulary, the tone in which we write and speak, and our efforts to disciple people who are currently devotees in new religions.

If we are genuinely interested in communicating Jesus' call to discipleship to those who participate in new religions, then we must look at the shape and content of our messages to them. What parts of Scripture are we emulating when presenting the gospel and commending the faith? Do we consciously or unconsciously adopt a stance similar to these passages:

(a) Elijah versus the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18: 21-40)?

(b) John the Baptist versus the Pharisees (Matthew 3: 7-10)?

(c) Jesus versus the Pharisees (Matthew 12: 22-39, Luke 11:42-54)?

(d) Paul versus the Judaizers (2 Cor. 11, Galatians)?

From the "Men On A Mission" Calendar, 2009
In the above examples we have direct and hostile confrontations occurring between a particular religious group inside the nation of Israel and God’s prophet, or with Jesus, or with Paul and a congregation. Are these sorts of encounters intended in Scripture to be used as a guide to apologetics, evangelism and discipleship? That is one of the issues I hope we can reflect on once this discussion is concluded.

By way of contrast, to what extent do we approach devotees in the style of Jesus in his encounter with the Samaritan woman (John 4: 1-42) and Paul’s apologetic speech in Athens (Acts 17:16-34)? Are we following Paul’s mission’s principle to become all things to all people (1 Cor. 9: 20-23) when approaching the non-Christian devotee? Are we biblically winsome and persuasive in our apologias? Do we show courtesy and respect towards devotees or are we scornful, scathing and sarcastic in what we say and write? These too are issues I hope we will reflect on at the conclusion of this discussion.

On another tack, some countercult apologists might argue that apologetics is synonymous with evangelism. It might be argued that as adherents of new religions embrace false doctrine the tried and true method of apologetic refutation, coupled with an appeal to repent, is the only way to evangelize. This is what we have always done. So it might be genuinely felt that we are already engaged in mission and there is no further point to this discussion.

From the "Hot Mormon Moms" Calender, 2012
The temptation to cease reading here should be forestalled. It is almost a cliché to say that we are living in a time of rapid change. Yet it is precisely the ebb and flow of the tides of history that carry us along, and it can be very helpful for us when navigating those currents to take some bearings. By taking bearings I mean that we should from time to time pause in our journey and reflect on the cultural and historical contexts in which we find ourselves. We should also be willing to look at what our apologetic forebears have done and consider their strengths and limitations. By looking at what others have done or are doing, we can put our own labors into critical perspective and test the mettle of what we do.

Now there are things implied in what has just been said. One is that countercult apologetic methods need to be evaluated, and the very suggestion that our apologetic toolkit could stand some upgrading probably sounds shocking. Yet to paraphrase Socrates’ aphorism, “the unexamined apologetic method is not worth using.” If we evangelicals do indeed believe that in everything we say or do, we do it for Jesus Christ (cf. Col. 3:17), then we surely will want to do our utmost in service for him in the field of new religions.

A different way of looking at ourselves in the mirror is through Ralph Neighbour’s cheeky point about the church’s famous last words: "we never tried it that way before." He made those remarks about resistant attitudes to change in the church. For my purposes Neighbour’s remarks provoke a pertinent question for us to consider - how resistant are we to examining our methods and learning about other approaches? Are we so habituated to primarily using negative apologetics as the remedy for cults that we might be too rigid to be challenged by fresh ideas? Has our apologetic toolkit become a sacred cow that we tenaciously refuse to subject it to scrutiny? I am not suggesting here, by the by, that apologetics is misguided or useless at all, particularly since I have taught the subject of apologetics at a Bible college level for several years, am on the board of the recently established School of Apologetics at the Centre for Evangelism and Global Mission in Sydney, Australia and been a practitioner in the field of personal evangelism and apologetics since 1978.

David Wilkinson of St Johns College, University of Durham, in addressing the wider dimensions of apologetics observes:

"Apologetics, like preaching, is an art to be developed rather than a science to be understood. In developing apologetics for our time, we need to rediscover its biblical roots. Often our western theological tradition has narrowed the practice of apologetics making it largely irrelevant to contemporary mission. A broader biblical view allows us to reformulate apologetics as an essential part of Christian ministry and evangelism in the new millennium."

What Wilkinson intimates about reformulating apologetics to suit our cultural circumstances has some bearing on the sub-discipline of countercult apologetic ministry. We need to consider what our cultural circumstances now comprise in view of religious pluralism being a street-life reality in most parts of the world. For some western Christians it probably comes as a great jolt to realize that the privileged societal position of Church dominance has been undermined or in many cases has ceased to be a living reality. One thing we might find helpful to rediscover is how the children of Israel and then the apostolic church functioned in cultural contexts where they were in the minority rubbing shoulders with many competing religious options. As Wilkinson calls for a rediscovery of the biblical roots of apologetics, so too we should learn from our biblical forebears in the ways they lived, ministered and engaged in mission with rival religious movements.

Another implication to my earlier remarks is the distinct possibility that we might not be properly engaged in mission as it is classically understood and practiced. That probably sounds absurd. Yet we must surely wonder why is it then that westerners who participate in cults and new religions are not being discipled by us en masse? Why do some evangelical missiologists look askance at our activities and cringe? Why do some sociologists and phenomenologists dare to observe that we are so caught up in preaching to the choir? Why is it that few cult devotees ever end up in our churches as servants of Christ? Are we construing boundary-maintenance against heresy as being coterminous with evangelism? Maybe we could learn some fresh tricks of the trade from our colleagues in world missions that will become a blessing to the church at large and for ourselves. For the issue at hand is not about jettisoning the analysis of heresy in the light of orthodoxy. Rather the basic question is whether evangelism and discipleship of devotees in new religious movements is taking place on any serious and sustained level.

For some readers this call for reflection about our methods and strategies may seem odd or even provoke some impatience. Most of us as apologists for the faith have happily applied methods and forms of argument that have been formulated by others. We have probably been content to follow those who have pioneered countercult ministry without much need to call our methods into question. However it would do us no harm to consider how and why these methods were formulated, particularly when in recent years various apologists have expressed disquiet about existing models through their essays or in public conventions. When debates about method emerge in a discipline they may arise because there are new circumstances that highlight inadequacies with existing approaches. Although methodological debates can sometimes polarize the participants, they can also be the catalyst for new and productive enterprises.

The purpose of this critical discussion is to evaluate some of our existing methods, and propose some improvements by gleaning insights from cross-cultural missiology, so that we can be more effective in our engagement with today’s world. To achieve that goal this rather long paper is divided into four separate documents. The first involves a description and positive appraisal of the pre-eminent apologetic method used in ministry to new religions, the heresy-rationalist apologia. The second illustrates limitations and weakness with the heresy-rationalist approach. The third carries on with a brief description and analysis of five other models used: end-times prophecy & conspiracy, spiritual warfare, apostate testimonies, cultural apologetics and behavioralist apologetics. The fourth and final installment provides a skeletal outline of the directions we need to take to create a holistic, integrated approach that can have maximum effectiveness in the proclamation of the gospel and the task of discipleship.
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