My “Job Description”
The “Job Description” of this Ministry is Very Broad and Sometimes this Entails Wearing Several Different Hats!
A lady who is one of the staunchest supporters of this ministry had a genuine question. In one particular article I commended the Roman Catholic Church instead of attacking them (which this sincere lady thought I should do). How could that be?
I am a Christian journalist and the truth is that the aims of this ministry, which the Lord has so generously granted to me, are exceedingly broad. It might be helpful to outline them here:
I have always loved Christian Apologetics and I think this is the central part of this ministry. Christian Apologetics is the explanation and (especially) defence of the Christian Faith. I have an outline of why Apologetics is important HERE. Christian Apologetics must use an approach which is a little different to general Christian writing (often aimed at Christians) because the goals are somewhat different; for example, when I discuss Apologetics I am likely to use a word like 'church' in its broadest sense; I am concerned to properly explain and defend the Christian Faith and also – to a degree - “Christianity.” At such times I will not be splitting hairs among different groupings of Christians. For instance, I recently defended the 17th century Roman Catholic Church against an inaccurate and unjust smear, that is, that they persecuted Galileo because he “discovered” that the earth is not at the centre of the universe and they had insisted that it is; this is just a distortion of history - yet one which has regularly been seized upon by the enemies of Christianity. So Apologetics defends Christian theology and also – to a degree – Christianity. There is a kind of unspoken agreement that when engaging in Apologetics the broad Christian groupings/denominations do not attack each other; after all, this discipline is aimed at unbelievers. What a bad example that would be showing to them!
In order to help to plainly indicate that Apologetics is a little different to more mainstream Christian teaching, our three main sites, UK Apologetics, Museltof Countercult and Apologetics and Witness to the Word all have Apologetics in a separate section.
It should be noted that there is also such a thing as 'Presuppositional Apologetics' - this particular branch of Apologetics has offered certain insights which we are not afraid to use, but we reject that certain separatism and exclusivism which can be found in some branches of that school. More on Presuppositional Apologetics HERE.
Robin and Tina Brace, July 2006.
This is the second most important part of this ministry for me. Now when wearing this 'hat' I am much more concerned about what separates and divides different groupings of Christians. Now I define what the Christian Gospel is – and what it is not! Now I am concerned to show what separates reasonable differences of opinion between Christians from what is plainly heretical. Where We May Agree to Differ and Where We Should Defend the Truth is a good place to start this discussion. I often seek the Pauline perspective here. What would Paul regard as heretical? When involved in this area I am obviously - doctrinally - more painstaking.
The approach here is just very different to Christian Apologetics which is concerned with giving a defence of the Christian Faith. In Countercult, for instance, I frequently (and unashamedly) attack the prosperity gospel because it perverts Christian teaching and deceives and confuses newer and more naïve Christians. But Apologetics - which is far broader and must take into account over 1,000 years of Christian history - has no interest whatsoever in the prosperity gospel since it is a new arrival on the scene and has no place whatsoever in Christian doctrine and teaching.
Now, of course, theology can never stand entirely separate – both Apologetics and Countercult involve theology so I am taking the word 'theology' to express more in-depth biblical and doctrinal explanation which does not necessarily involve either Apologetics or Countercult. Both my Museltof Countercult and Apologetics and Witness to the Word sites have separate theology sections (currently UK Apologetics does not make a separation and theology is included within 'Provocative Christian Reading').
When I address theological areas I make a determined effort to avoid unnecessarily confusing theological terms such as “supra-lapsarianism” and other somewhat baffling terms. When we do cover something which Christians really need to understand such as 'regeneration' (being 'born again') a real attempt is made to keep things clear. Recently somebody asked me whether my approach to Apologetics is “pre-suppositional” - again, these are just the sort of terms which make people think that theology is something to be avoided and we should all avoid such terms wherever possible! I passionately want to see ordinary Christians developing just a little more theological knowledge than the present average because they will then be able to better explain their faith and – very importantly – they will then be better equipped to avoid the influence of false teachers who, whilst they may have a pretense of sincerity, are really all about making merchandise out of the gospel. We should all avoid giving the impression that theology is only of concern to university academics who are fluent in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek and who have no empathy or understanding of pastoral considerations whatsoever.
Increasingly, Christian philosophy is also of concern to me. It engages with a certain deeply thoughtful and quite academic type who may also be interested in poetry, philosophy in general, perhaps Shakespeare, maybe ethics and who is a 'heavy reader.' Some of these people do not come to Christ without becoming convicted at a deeply philosophical level; they will never wander into their local church congregation for help or advice. An increasing number of such people are coming to see that evolution is a failed philosophy and they really want to know what life is all about! An increasing number of our articles are either fully Christian philosophy, or they deeply interract with it.
Again, Christian Philosophy looks at the broad picture (a little like Apologetics), but it asks deep questions about the human condition and about society; it asks whether a society which accepts Christ and which adopts Christian ethics is a better society. It is disinterested in differences between the denominations or in specific Christian doctrines, but it is very interested in such matters as the effects of liberalism upon modern society; it often asks whether any of the current political/philosophical creeds can make a better society or lead to a more fulfilled human condition. Some of the very best Christian philosophy is currently coming from Catholic writers but Alvin Plantinga, who supports reformed (Calvinist) theology is also an outstanding and influential current Christian philosopher. Most Christian philosophy is fascinating and intriguing but some (too much I'm afraid) is very deep, academically uncompromising and difficult to read – this is a pity, because it could be and should be accessible to all. But HERE is an example of how good Christian philosophy can be in illuminating us to the dangers of postmodernism in quite a brief and approachable article.
The Different Kinds of Articles I Write/ the Approaches I Take
Mostly my writing is simply 'Christian writing' in quite a loose and approachable theological sense especially in my 'A Question I Was Asked' series. See Here. The whole point here is to keep things clear and approachable while, perhaps, introducing the questioner and subsequent readers to a slightly deeper level of scriptural consideration.
But I write perhaps 15 to 25 articles per year which are much deeper, involving deeper theology and I frequently involve philosophy considerations in these articles as well. An example would be An Evangelical Inclusivist Defends Evangelical Inclusivism. When I write these sort of articles I try to include a bibliography which is normal procedure in the academic world (a bibliography is a list of books which are either consulted at depth or read from cover to cover in preparation for the article. In quoting a bibliography one is stating awareness of the conclusions of such books – but not necessarily agreement). But again I try to keep things clear and do my best to avoid all difficult terms and concepts wherever possible. Also, in this slightly deeper level, I am now writing about 20-25 articles per year which are very definitely Christian Philosophy, plus a similar number which are really Christian Apologetics (most of them attacking evolution).
So I hope that this "job description" helps to make it clear that when I am writing under and within certain approaches and parameters my style may differ but at all times my commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ is, I believe, unswerving.
Robin A. Brace. 2005.
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