Sing a Better Song Apologetics

by Sep 3, 2015ChurchLife, Culture, Mission3 comments

I thought this was a really great illustration from my friend Jeremy Larson:

When Odysseus schemed to evade the Sirens, whose beautiful song enchanted and ultimately destroyed sailors, he had his crew put wax in their ears and ordered them tie him to the mast. The Sirens’ song drove him mad momentarily, but his crew kept their course, and they made it through. However, manhandling people into a decision is rarely effective, and sometimes the brash confrontational nature of certain kinds of apologetics can push people away more than it draws them near. We can learn a lesson from the bard Orpheus, who, upon finding himself in a similar situation to Odysseus, simply sang a better song.

Read More 

Review: Abigail Favale on the Genesis of Gender

The Genesis of Gender: A Christian Theory by Abigail Rine Favale My rating: 4 of 5 stars Really excellent. Fascinating personal story: So-called “Christian feminism” is, too often, secular feminism with a light Jesus glaze on top, a cherry-picked biblical garnish....

A Few Quotes from The Genesis of Gender by Abigail Favale

The Genesis of Gender: A Christian Theory by Abigail Rine Favale My rating: 4 of 5 stars Well written, provocatively helpful—provocative because she was schooled in evangelicalism (which makes her like me) and in feminist theory (which makes her not like me)—and is...

Answering a Question about Political Philosophy

A friend asked me for my thinking—and my reading recommendations—on Christian political philosophy. I was pretty frank and open. I don't hold myself up as a master of the topic. I welcome input from others here. What should I read? What should my friend read? My...

A Little Help for Your Charitableness from Kevin DeYoung

A Little Help for Your Charitableness from Kevin DeYoung

There are few figures on the national evangelical scene that I like and trust more than Kevin DeYoung. I think he nails the balance between, on the one hand, graciousness and fairness and charity and, on the other (can anything be on the other hand from...

Leave a comment.

  1. Bruce

    Hi Mark,

    I think I see what you and Jeremy are saying here. And I agree that there are many issues that “we” as Christians are brash and confrontational over that perhaps are peripheral and not core tenets to die on.

    But surely we will, by standing firm on core non-negotiables, at times find ourselves accused of being brash and even confrontational. Jesus was on several occaisions. At one point he looked around at the 12 and said “Are you guys still here? Don’t you want to leave too?” Should Jesus have sung a better song here? One not quite so brash and confrontational? He drove everyone away.

    Should Stephen have been less brash? Less confrontational? Why couldn’t he sing a better song? He drove them to stone him.

    Though I think I understand the point made here. I am concerned that the desire to “sing a better song” too often becomes a song no longer true to the Gosple that is confrontational to sin and sinful life choices. The Truth of the gospel directly challenges these and cannot be anything but confrontational.

    Please receive my sincere apology if I am off-track here or have mi-understood your intent.


  2. Mark Ward

    Bruce, I fully agree with you. And a glance over my own apologetics—on this blog and in a forthcoming book from BJU Press—will show that I do. This is a both-and: let’s be true to the gospel and as winsome as possible.

  3. mlward

    A follow-up. As I was listening to this really great conversation, I was reminded that truth, goodness, and beauty are all parts of our apologetic. My post emphasized beauty. Bruce, you came back emphasizing truth. We need to make sure that goodness gets in there: “Let your light so shine before men that they see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”