Book Discussion - “The New Faces of Christianity: Believing the Bible in the Global South” by Philip Jenkins
I’m discussing the book “The New Faces of Christianity: Believing the Bible in the Global South” by Philip Jenkins with the ACFAR blog (see here). I find that book to be very encouraging so far. Here’s one of my comments from this post. We’d welcome your discussion.
Words in quotes are from the excellent chapter summary and commentary here.
“If we see the importance of apologetics in America and the West, then how much more important is it in the rapidly growing South?”
I don’t think the America church sees the importance of apologetics. We seem to be too busy trying to council everyone on their psychological issues, give them practical advice on how to live, playing the type of music the people in our area like, and promising people prosperity on the basis of their faith. At least it seems the Southern Hemisphere church is arguing about the right issues.
I pray we can have a return to solid apologetics and theology in our day for the church worldwide.
“But if Jenkins is correct in this difference, then the most pressing issues in the Global South are not dealing with doubt but with religious pluralism. How would apologetics change in this context?”
It might change in emphasis, but I doubt it will change in content. Here’s what I mean: make a positive case for Christianity is the bread and butter of apologetics. This positive case is equally at home battling doubt as it is battling false religions.
One quick example: an Muslim apologist name Al Haj. I spent allot of time responding to his concerns on his blog: Reminder to All Believers (I’d provide a link, but I can’t find the site anymore after changing computers.) His two main concerns and my approach:
We do not have the original words of Jesus in Aramaic, therefore the Bible is unreliable. The approach was similar to debating an atheist, provide a positive case for the authority of Scripture by discussing eyewitness testimony, manuscript evidence, and the Person and work of Christ.
The Trinity of “God, Jesus and Mary” is irrational and a shirk. The approach was to define the Trinity clearly, defend It’s rationality in that is at least not illogical, and point to the person of Christ. It could have applied to atheists, Mormons, and Jehovah’s Witnesses, to name a few.
Did all of this work? It may have at least caused him to think. He began deleting his posts that I had commented on. He may have been fearful of their content. It may be that he just got board. After all, I am not that good.