Teaching apologetics in the A Quad (Fall Term) has been a real joy for me. My first quad class at Wheaton Graduate School ended yesterday. A new class, on spiritual formation, begins next Thursday (October 20). My seven students gave me their final papers yesterday, a written project in which they had to develop their own approach to apologetics and defend it.

Nothing brings more joy to a teacher than to know that his students have profited from a class he labored over. Reading the final papers for this class has shown me just how much this class transformed the lives of several of my students. I am a happy man today as I reflect upon this eight week course and what I have experienced afresh by such teaching.

One of my students graduated from a leading secular university (BA) where she became convinced, by trying to evangelize skeptical students, that apologetics was really all about the "skillful oratory and flawless logic" (her own words) of winning a debate. She wrote in her final paper that after our second class she "was either in the wrong class, or I was in the wrong." She had a choice to make. She could drop the class or seek to learn what she could from it and try to understand why she was so bothered by what she had heard from her professor. She chose to stay. She writes, "I am so grateful to God that I stayed. He has taught me more than I can do justice to in these few pages. I will summarize by saying that he has taught me the apologetic of love." Borrowing from Lesslie Newbigin she titled her final paper: The Apologetic of Love: "Foolisness to the Greeks."

The last paragraph of her final paper reads:

"My apologetic approach begins with prayer that the person meets Christ and comes to faith. It relies on Christ’s presence and wisdom and boldly proclaims Christ crucified. It keeps Christ at the center of the argument, and most importantly, it does not stop with the argument. It is lived out daily through loving God and loving my neighbor."

How I wish I could influence thousands of Christians to adopt this apologetic of love. I am encouraged today, as I think back over these recent weeks of my graduate class, that other young Christian leaders will follow the wisdom given to this bright young student and thus radically reshape their approach to evangelism and apologetics. A teacher should pray for nothing less I think.

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Comments

  1. Jamie October 14, 2005 at 6:17 pm

    How great it was to read of your students and how far they came in your apologetics class. The parargraph from the skeptical student was especially a blessing to me who has always struggled with witnessing to unbelievers, and just this week the Lord pushed me out of my comfort zone to witness to an unbeliever. Its about time, Im in my 40’s and have been a believer for many years. Time to get over the fear and proclaim Christ in love!!!

  2. Susan October 16, 2005 at 1:28 pm

    Thank-you for the thought provoking article. I would like to ask where I can obtain more information? Have you put these materials in a book form?

  3. ReformedCatholicism.com October 18, 2005 at 4:56 pm

    John Armstrong on The Apologetics of Love

    We need to remember that we do not defend the faith merely to defend the faith. People’s lives are at stake.
    “My apologetic approach begins with prayer that the person meets Christ and comes to faith. It relies on Christ’s presence and wisdom and b…

  4. Bp Joseph Violet January 14, 2008 at 2:11 am

    I read your page, you got a nice product. Thanks for the information on the Dogmatic Topic of Intercommunion. I studied at an Orthodox-Anglican Monastery in Greece for some time before going to graduate school at Oxford, so I got a special place in my heart for Eastern Monasticism with a little Latin touch, of course! However, now I am a High Anglican Bishop (we celebrate a Tridentine Style Liturgy), who has valid lines from the Orthodox Churches. I am very moved by your page, and I recently got the book a certain Deacon Br. Andre Marie (from the Brazilian-Bishop Costa Old Catholic Lineage directing the St. Benedict Center of NH) mentioned (thanks for the referral) a very Hot! Roman Catholic Theology Book, that is troubling my current position called “Communicatio in Sacris: The Roman Catholic Church against Intercommunion with non-Catholics.”
    http://www.lulu.com/content/1753466
    I am thinking of converting over to the Traditional Latin Roman Catholic Church (maybe help Wizard-Scholars Bishop Jason Spadafore and Bros. Michael and Peter Dimond?) and now I am in negotiations with a Bishop in France (a personal friend of Bishop Richard Williamson of the SSPX, and who I heard got the book and maybe leaving the “Una Cum” SSPX to join the Reverend Anthony Cekada?) who gave this book of Dr. DeTucci “Two thumbs up!” I must confess I am very close to joining Prime Minister Tony Blair in his voyage from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism (who I actually met once at the Canterbury Abbey of St. Augustine in England):
    http://www.oxford.anglican.org/files/blairs_500.jpg
    I personally give Dr. DeTucci TWO THUMBS WAY UP for his Patristic and Dogmatic Scholarship! Indifferentism is a Major Problem, and it has caused the Mass Murder and Holocaust of Abortion today, sadly to say.
    I would love to review any Mainstream Periodical (e.g. Bishop Timothy Henneberry’s Moral Theology Magazine “Our Lady of Sorrows”) that has read through DeTucci’s Book, but I may write my own yet. I love to read first more established Scholars, you seem to be a top notch scholarly periodical online. Any degrees? I studied at Oxford, and thank God, I realized the Main Anglican Succession is invalid. That’s why I had communion with the Eastern Orthodox Church, but I am rethinking my Economy of Sacramental Grace thanks to Doctor DeTucci (who I heard studied at the Lateran in Rome).
    And thank you!
    Sincerely in Christ Our Lord,
    + Most Reverend Bishop Dr. Joseph John Violet of St. Vitus, M.A., D.D., Ph.D.
    London, England
    P.S. Doctor-Master (are you Irish?), I meant to ask you, if you had any Communication with the so-called “Latin Tridentine Church” headed by Bishop Michael Cox in Ireland? I had the pleasure of meeting the famous Hollywood Personality, that is, the priestess-Bishop Sinead O’Connor (better known as the Hollywood Pop Singer from Ireland):
    http://images.ireland.com/newspaper/ireland/0499/thumb/o_connor.jpg
    She celebrates an Intercommunion Service of the Latin Tridentine Mass, and I am not sure if Bishop Clarence Kelly, the Scholar-Bishop of Oyster Bay, New York, has written a review of her lineage? I heard she comes from the controversial lineage of the late Archbishop Ngo Dinh Thuc of Vietnam (the same line that Bishops Daniel Dolan and Donald Sanborn claim their fame to). Any insights?

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