Christian Apologetics Free Course 02, Lesson 3
Presupposition and Classification In Apologetics
4-RADICALS (Wrongly Termed, LIBERALS): When reviewing this section, you need to keep in mind that there are two forms of radicals: Christian radicals and the Extreme radicals. Christian radical are actually divided into two forms of radicals, one that should be called liberals that totally and completely reject the orthodox or conservative position of structured religious organizations. These Christians are radicals of one form or another and tend to lean towards the liberalism as seen in modern churches and their acceptances of same sex couples, homosexual priests and bishops, and modern written Bibles that are less restrictive.
The other form of Christian radicals is more frequently considered the extreme religious right that tries to change government and the lifestyles of others to their extremely self-righteous morality. Their form of “Christian” has become a political code word to refer to only those who agree with their political agenda, shutting out politically or theologically liberal Christians. It is amazing the degree to which the radical/religious right has linked the term “Christian” not only to politically conservative doctrines like laissez-faire capitalism, lower-taxes, and gun ownership, but also to patriotism.
The more conservative form of Christian radical is preferable to the Apologist rather than the liberal form but this does not mean that an Apologist should ever advocate having the few extremist dictate to the government or try changing the government to their form of Christianity.
Extreme Radicals come in many forms:
The Lunatic Fringes
Anti-government: Normally you would not think of Christian groups as having hostility towards the government. However, there are those that feel contempt for the government and the extreme religious right that they feel controls the government and the intrusion into their own lives and personal pursuits.
The Lunatic Fringes: These groups are on the extreme edge of any form of Christianity and either follow or observe practices outside the norm of normal Christianity.
Conspiracy Theorists: Strongly influence segments of the religious right who believe in the impending return of Jesus Christ, preceded by a seven year period of chaos, which, in addition to being strongly anti-communist, see the United Nations as the instrument of an international communist conspiracy.
Militia Groups: Contains elements and traits shared by the more mainstream Religious Right, individualist, libertarian, and anti-authoritarian, traits, which are fundamentally in opposition to the Religious Right. The militia movement contains those that claim Christian and Supremacist roots. Some of them hold senior positions within the movement with authority, power and influence. However, these views do not mean they are predominant or ascendant within the militia movement nor does it mean the militia movement is a Neo-Nazi, White Supremacist or Racist movement.
Identity Christianity: Who frequently attack, through vocal means, lesbians and gay men are extreme fringe group, which holds that the White, Anglo-Saxon/Germanic peoples are the true Israel and that Jews are Satanic/demonic pretenders. Identity Christianity’s theology is very similar to Christian Reconstructionism.
Most mainline churches have become theologically radical today. Priests in these churches are often more radical than lay people, and seminary professors tend to be more radical than priests. Radical presuppositions are:
A Rejection Of All Tenets Of Conservative Christianity
All Religions Eventually Lead To SalvationEveryone Will Eventually Attain Heaven
The Bible Is Not The Sole Word Of God
The Bible Contains Plenty Of Errors And Primitive Ideas
The Record Of Creation Is A Myth, While Evolution Is Fact
Virgin Birth, Resurrection Of Christ, And Miracles Are Myths
5-NEO ORTHODOX: Began in the aftermath following World War I, with a rejection of Protestant scholasticism and a denial of the Protestant liberal movement. To distinguish from Orthodox or Conservative Christians the term Neo-Orthodox was adopted. Neo-Orthodox theology is neither new nor orthodox. Carl Barth is the most noted proponent of Neo-Orthodoxy. In the beginning, there was confusion with the movement due to the association of words. Many saw the word Orthodoxy and associated it with the basic ideas of the Protestant Reformation and as a means of proclaiming the truth of the gospel. The prefix Neo caused many to believe that a new philosophy was (or would be) used to attain an accurate view of Scripture, which used in combination with orthodoxy would provide a powerful witness to God’s action in Christ for those of the new century. Soon, however, it became clear that they use word from orthodox theology in a totally opposite and radical sense, rendering them totally radical in theology.
Neo-orthodox writers claim that both traditional and liberal Protestantism have lost the insight and truth of the faith. During the nineteenth century theologians had taken the paradoxes of faith, dissolved their tension, used rational, logical, coherent explanations as a substitute, creating propositions, and thus had destroyed the living dynamic of the faith. Paradoxes of the faith for the neo-orthodox must remain precisely that, and the dialectic method, which seeks to find the truth in the opposites of the paradoxes, leads to a true dynamic faith.
Proponents of Neo Orthodoxy liberally use terms like heaven, hell, sin, salvation, revelation, Christ, and resurrection, but define the terms differently from conservative definitions. For example when a Neo Orthodox writer talks about the Word of God, he is not talking about the actual Biblical record; when he talks of Christ, he is not talking of the Jesus Christ of history! Differing meaning of terms creates deception. Neo Orthodox presuppositions are:
• A Rejection of All Fundamental Tenets of Christianity by their belief that the Word as Scripture was not intended be seen as one. The Scripture contains the Word but is not the Word. The Word is proclaimed and witnessed to, in and through the body of Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit. The Bible you have in your hands is not divine revelation. When it inspires a message in your mind, that message is revelation.
• God’s revelation about Himself is an act of grace to which humankind’s response is to listen. This revelation by God is presented in a threefold sense: Jesus as the word made flesh; Scripture, which points to the word, made flesh; and the sermon, which is the vehicle for the proclamation of the Word, made flesh.
• There is a possibility of Salvation to all without Christ: Due to humankind’s sinful ways, there is a vast chasm between God and humanity. That humankind cannot bridge that chasm and all of mankind’s efforts to follow religious doctrine, moral and ethical thoughts and actions are a waste of time. The only possible way for the chasm to be crossed is by God, and this he has done in Christ. The Neo Orthodox deny it.
• Their view of Scripture, “The Bible is God’s Word so far as God lets it be his Word” (Barth, Church Dogmatics, I / 2, 123), has been seen as a rejection of the infallible sola Scriptura of conservative Protestantism.
• Neo-Orthodoxy relies on human reason and stress the reliability and validity of human reason to critique revelation.
6-CHRISTIAN MYSTICS: Christian mystics seek one or more mystical encounters for spiritual joy and assurance. Christian mystics are found both among Roman Catholics and Protestants.
They are concerned about a spiritual transformation of the human person to achieve full realization of their human potential, which was realized most perfectly in Jesus and is manifested in others through their association with Him. Christian mystics are found among both Roman Catholics and Protestants.
Christian mystics strive to follow a three-way path in their quest of holiness. While the different paths may have different names in the different Christian traditions, they can all be characterized as purgative, illuminative, and unitive which corresponds to what is considered the whole person body, mind, and spirit.
Purgative: forms the foundation for Christian spirituality by way of purification and this is where aspiring Christian mystics start and focuses on:
• Discipline, particularly in terms of the human body
• Prayers at designated times, either alone or with others, and in certain postures, often standing or kneeling.
• Disciplines of fasting and alms giving, which includes spiritual and corporal works of mercy such as feeding the hungry and sheltering the homeless.
Illuminative: has to do with the perceived activities of the Holy Spirit, which enlightens the mind, gives insights into truths not only explicit in Scripture and the rest of the Christian Tradition, but also those implicit in nature. This does not mean in the scientific sense, but more in depth aspects of natural happenings such as experience through the working of God.
Unitive: has to do with the experience of when you unite with God. It is difficult to describe this experience because it varies from person to person. It is always associated with Divine love, the underlying theme being that God is known or experienced at least as much by the heart as by the intellect since.
A final aspect has to do with its communal nature; all members of this lifestyle always lived in communion with the Church, the community of believers. This allows for the practice of having a spiritual director, confessor, or “soul friend” with which to discuss one’s spiritual progress.
Do not confuse Christian Mystics with Christian Spiritism as many do.
Christian Mystic presuppositions are:
Rejection Of “Bible Alone”
Rejection Of Doctrine And Theology
Elevation Of Mystical Experience To The Level Of Revelation
Salvation Through Mystical Experience
Spiritual Joy Through Mystical Experience
Other Lessons In Course 02 Lessons
- Christian Apologetics Free Course 02, Lesson 1
- Christian Apologetics Free Course 02, Lesson 2
- Christian Apologetics Free Course 02, Lesson 3
- Christian Apologetics Free Course 02, Lesson 4
- Christian Apologetics Free Course 02, Lesson 5
- Christian Apologetics Free Course 02, Lesson 6
- Christian Apologetics Free Course 02, Lesson 7