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Without Apology


picture of apologetics t-shirt

What do you think of first when you hear the word apology? Most of us probably think of the expression of regret and asking for forgiveness. I've heard or read the word apology several times this week, but in each case it's been the other kind of apology — the formal justification or defense. Strangely enough, both come from the Greek word apologia, meaning a speaking in defense. I'll discuss both of those in this blog post.

I'll tackle the second kind of apology first since it's so fresh on my mind. This past Sunday and Monday our church hosted Ken Ham from Answers In Genesis. I appreciate his strong emphasis on the authority of Scripture. He and the gang at AiG hammer away at the fact that most of the main doctrines in the Bible are laid out in the first eleven chapters of Genesis. It's refreshing to hear that enunciated so strongly since that portion of Scripture is also hammered away at (chiseled away at?) by those who don't believe what's found in those eleven chapters.

Dr. Ham stressed the point that both sides of the debate come at it with preconceived notions, although many evolutionists would deny that they do. He emphasized the importance of knowing what the Bible says, of taking it literally, and of knowing that there are valid ways of explaining how it can all be the truth that it is. I came away from the conference with a renewed burden to read up on things so that I might always be "prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in [me]." 1 Peter 3:15 (ESV) We purchased the New Answers Book 1 and New Answers Book 2 during the conference and are eager to get into them. We believers have a responsibility to be well-informed apologists of Biblical truth — we should never be without apology.

This month is the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of the Species, on November 24, 1859. If we haven't heard it already, we will undoubtedly hear about Darwin and evolution this month. Some years ago evolutionists took a well-recognized symbol of Christians the ichthys fish

picture of ichthys fish

and made a statement about their belief in Darwin's theories:

picture of Darwin fish

I love the symbol creationists have made that shows the ability of Biblical truth to swallow up evolutionary theories:

picture of truth fish

In his introduction of Ken Ham, our pastor said that Dr. Ham has a target painted on himself because of the strong stands he takes. My readers know that my bizarre sense of humor can come up with comedy in the most serious of situations. The mental image of Ken Ham with a target painted on him made me think of a Far Side cartoon — Bummer of a Birthmark, Hal — which, in turn, made me think of the following picture in my files.

picture of bummer of a birthmark

This week in my Survey of French Lit class we are learning about the writings of Blaise Pascal, who was not only the gifted mathematician for whom a computer programming language was named, but also a well-known, extremely articulate seventeenth century Christian apologist. Pascal's main interest in defending Christianity as a system of belief was evangelistic. He wanted the "libertines" of his day to see that the Christian faith was reasonable. There are many Pascal quotations that I love. One of my favorites is "The heart has its reasons which reason does not know." Pensée 277 / 224 (depending on the numbering system)

Many people familiar with Pascal's writings know this quotation:

"Man is but a reed, the most feeble thing in nature, but he is a thinking reed. The entire universe need not arm itself to crush him. A vapor, a drop of water suffices to kill him. But, if the universe were to crush him, man would still be more noble than that which killed him, because he knows that he dies and the advantage which the universe has over him, the universe knows nothing of this.

All our dignity then, consists in thought. By it we must elevate ourselves, and not by space and time which we cannot fill. Let us endeavour then, to think well; this is the principle of morality." Pensée 347 / 391

People love to quote Pascal as having said in his Pensées, "There is a God-shaped vacuum in all of us...." But he did not actually say it in that exact manner. The closest I can find to that "quotation" actually reads as follows:

"What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true state of happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him … though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object, in other words by God himself. He only is our true good, and since we have forsaken Him, it is a strange thing that there is nothing in nature which has not been serviceable in taking His place." Pensée 425 / 300

I find Pascal's actual statement much more clear and eloquent than the misquotation that is usually attributed to him.

picture of divider

Now on to the other kind of apology....

In April 2007, I did a post called Apologies and Scars where I decried the modern state of so-called apologies which are actually more like blame-shifting, without apology. Rather than restating the same things, I recommend that you go back to that post before continuing your reading of this post.

I recently saw a cartoon that reminded me of what I had to say in that post:

picture of false apology card rack

I'll end with a quick joke, marginally on topic, for those of you who have persisted in reading to this point. 😀

A customer at a counter of a lawn ornament shop says, "Give me four of those pinwheels, two of those pink flamingos, two of the sunflowers, and that bent-over grandma in bloomers."

The cashier replies, "That'll be eight dollars for the pinwheels, ten dollars for the flamingos, six dollars for the sunflowers, and an apology to my wife!"

picture of divider

I look forward to your thoughts on this post.

quotation...

"I have made this letter longer than usual, only because I have not had the time to make it shorter." - Blaise Pascal, Lettres Provinciales

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Have you ever made a sorry apology?


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5 Comments on “Without Apology”

  1. #1 Vikki
    on Nov 5th, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    My husband and I visited the Creation Museum last year just after Christmas. We didn’t get to hear Ken Ham speak, but we did hear several others and were incredibly impressed with what they had to say. We do; however, have several of the Answers in Genesis CD’s – a couple of them feature Ken Ham – which are all very good. He definitely has a target pasted to his chest. It’s amazing how much hatred people have against those who teach creation. I guess to not believe in evolution leaves only God and, sadly, many refuse to accept that. So they “have” to believe in evolution, no matter how illogical or weak their case gets.

    They have an amazing ministry there at the Creation Museum and the biblical view of creation and salvation is very clearly presented and defended. Everything they do there is top notch and first class. I highly recommend finding the time and money to visit. You will walk away with so much information. We found the whole experience very uplifting and can’t wait to return!!

  2. #2 Andy
    on Nov 5th, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    In light of Answers in Genesis and the ichthys symbols, I thought you would enjoy this http://bit.ly/2W6P6b

  3. #3 Rob
    on Nov 5th, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    @Vikki – Thanks for the comments about the Creation Museum. We’ve not talked to anyone who did not like it a lot, and we’re eager to go back.

    @Andy – Thanks for the link to the cartoon. It’s all too true.

  4. #4 Michael
    on Nov 6th, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    More and more I find myself interested in apologetics. I’m glad you enjoyed the seminars with Ken Ham. As for the other kind of apology, it may sometimes be appropriate to begin an apology with “Bless your heart”.

  5. #5 John T
    on Nov 9th, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    Just to point out that several of Ken Ham’s messages are downloadable from sermonaudio (including his recent sessions at HP).

    On the subject of apologetics and equipping one’s self, I have long admired the ministry of Ravi Zacharias.