“The Christian apologist is in a position to show any rational man, particularly if he have a well-trained mind, that after all it would appear more reasonable to accept the claims of Christianity as true than to reject them as false.” (Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, Vol.1 pg. 110.)
I had the pleasure and joy of being trained in apologetics in undergrad. Dr. Rosenbladt became much more than another Prof. but a mentor and a friend. What he taught has served me invaluably in the ministry. I still go back to the apologetic books he recommended in class, most especially I read “History and Christianity” by John Warwick Montgomery, once a year, minimum.
Unfortunately, not many in our circles have listened to what these men have to say in regards to apologetics. In the Missouri Synod apologetics has a bad name. Reliance on it is considered tantamount to unbelief. Those who study it are told they don’t trust the Gospel. We have the meaning to the third article of the creed quoted to us, and told you can’t rely on apologetics and be confessional. Funny, how they always seem to not read the first article of the creed, where reason is considered, not the devil’s whore, but a gift from God.
Along with this is a myth that apologetics are un-Lutheran, that the Lutheran Fathers never used apologetics. Somehow the endeavor of apologetics have been handed over to the reformed, and often betrays a shallowness that goes along with that theological position. This further complicates the problem at hand. There are precious few apologetic texts available to the confessional Lutheran, that do not actually betray Confessional Lutheranism.
This myth can be seen, for instance in the forward to “Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon.” This is actually a work of apologetics. But the whole forward is spent apologizing for delving into apologetics, and explaining that apologetics don’t work, shouldn’t be tried, and are at odds with Lutheranism!
Well for those of you who hold that position. Tell it to Pieper! Amazing I used to think Pieper might be to blame for the low view of apologetics in the Missouri Synod, after all he is the LCMS’s theological God father. Yet after reading this, I have had to revisit that position. Now I think this might be nothing but a holdover from the Seminex days that delved into Neo-orthodoxy and Kantian paradigms.