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Doctrine in dialogue format
Ask the Theologian
they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.
"You are entirely welcome Mr Nullifidian."
"The topic of discussion tonight is the meaning of apologetics, and how apologetics is applied to the study of the Bible. First, Doctor Popinjay, would you please give us the definition of the word apologetics and what apologetics means to you?"
"I would be most happy to provide you and your listening audience with the truth of the matter Mr Nullifidian. Apologetics is the use of argument in the defense of a cause or an opinion. That is the definition of the word apologetics. However, in the field of Biblical studies, which is the issue here, apologetics would be better described as a defense of the Bible. In essence Mr Nullifidian, apologetics is the study of the Word of God as a whole and the presentation of that study to the world at large."
"I see. Then I take it Doctor Popinjay that you feel that there is a need to defend the Bible? As I understand it apologetics began in the early stages of the church when Christians were few in number and were highly persecuted. The entire body of what was then called The Way had to prove their worthiness and the validity of the Bible merely to exist as a faction and to survive under the heavy persecution they had to endure. Apologists were needed in such a time of Christian minority. Today I do not see this situation existing in any way except perhaps in lands where Christians are once again few and persecuted. Considering this current situation Doctor Popinjay, what need is there of the study of apologetics?"
"Your appraisal of the history of apologetics is correct Mr Nullifidian. However, you yourself gave the very answer you seek. You stated that in other lands the Christians are being persecuted as they were in the early days of the church. That in itself is reason enough to further the study of apologetics."
"Indeed Doctor Popinjay? You find the need for more study in the area of apologetics? May I ask you sir, just what denomination is it that is being persecuted in those other lands? Is there a group more persecuted than others? I hear on the news, especially the Christian news, of all the persecution given the Christians, yet in my own investigations, I find one group persecuted far more than any other due to their high visibility and their inclination to be highly vocal as to their own beliefs and their inclination to evangelize. What have you to say on this matter?"
"Christianity, Mr Nullifidian, is one very large body. It is made up of many members. Not all those members of the body are healthy or in their correct order. Like the human body, there are parts that become overactive and malfunction. We refer to these parts that go astray deceased or infected. But infected as they may be, they are still part of the body nonetheless."
"Very true Doctor Popinjay. However, in the human body we do not promote the spread of the diseased part, nor do we glory in what the diseased part has done. Yet this seems to me precisely what the church as a whole is doing. Again I ask you Doctor Popinjay, just what group of Christians is it that is being so persecuted in the missionary fields?"
"Who is persecuted Mr Nullifidian is not of importance. Jesus said in Mark 9:38 to the disciples that they should not stop others from doing the works of the disciples just because they don't follow the Lord. Whether by hook or by crook, as is intimated, the Word is spread. Even though the people you mention are not part of the body of Christ, that is their doctrine is far from sound, they are spreading the Word, and that is all that is important."
"I see I am waging an uphill battle in my efforts to have you identify the group who you try to steal the glory from while defaming them and condemning them and their doctrine to eternal damnation. I will therefore move on to the subject at hand. Doctor Popinjay, do you, as an expert in the field of Biblical studies, feel it is necessary to defend the Bible? That is, do you not feel that the Bible is capable of defending itself?"
"Certainly Mr Nullifidian, the Bible is capable of defending itself. The purpose in the study of apologetics is not to defend the Bible as much as it is to explain the Bible. The Bible is a complex assortment of literary exposés that must needs be assembled for presenting to the members of the church, just as it was in the early days of the church. It is the responsibility of those in the know, that is those who have made extensive study of the Bible to assemble and disseminate what we have learned."
"I must say Doctor Popinjay that I find what you have just said to be quite the epitome of arrogance. Am I to understand you feel that God is not able to defend Himself and explain His meaning without the aid of you? Doesn't the Bible tell us that Jesus will send His Holy Spirit to instruct a true believer in the ways of God, and that no man is needed as a go-between?"
"Of course the Bible says that the Christian will be instructed by the Holy Spirit Mr Nullifidian. But it is clear by the fact that there are hundreds of opinions as to what the Bible is saying that something more is needed to make the Word of God clear to the world. And that is why those of us in the field of apologetics is needed."
"I'm afraid I must disagree with you Doctor Popinjay. It seems to me that in the past two thousand years, rather than aid in the understanding of the Word, those of you in the leadership have done nothing but cause division and confusion. It would appear to me that if a Christian were left on his own, without the aid of the clergy, they would be able to hear the Words of the Holy Spirit and they would be of one thought and one mind. I find, Doctor Popinjay, that because of you and your many educated brothers, the church has not become as one but as many, and that apologetics is not a means to add clarity to the Word, but a way to try and explain away the Words in support of your own doctrines."
""I must say Mr Nullifidian, your stance is a ridged one, and hardly befitting one in your position as a commentator. I will add that your attitude toward your guests is distasteful at best. I might further add, Mr Nullifidian, that it is people like you who handicap those of us in the field of Biblical studies and prevent us from furthering the aim of the Church. If I were you Mr Nullifidian, I would give thought to what I have just said."
"Thank you Doctor Popinjay for being my guest on ask the theologian. It has been a pleasure to have you, and your comments and observations are much appreciated. And with that I will say, this is Pythagoras Nullifidian bidding you, Good day."
6Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. 7Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, 8This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 9But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. (Mat 15:)
26These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. 27But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. (1John 2:)
25These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. 26But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (John 14:)
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